Big Sixth Innings Allows No. 18 Wilmington Baseball to Sweep Doubleheader from IUP, 7-4 and 3-0
Base: #18 Wilmington 7 - IUP 4; #18 Wilmington 3 - IUP 0
Saturday, March 1, 2014 - Bel Air, Md.
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Senior Joe Marciano hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning of the night cap against IUP, helping the Wildcats to the sweep. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved.
Senior Josh Hampton batted 3-for-5 with five RBI and two runs scored in the doubleheader against IUP on Saturday. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved
A sixth inning shot off the bat of senior Joe Marciano went deep into the cold night, clearing the fence in right center capping a doubleheader sweep for the Wilmington University baseball team over Indiana (Pa.), 7-4 and 3-0, on Saturday night at the Harford Baseball Field on the campus of Harford Community College.
The sixth inning proved large for the No. 18 Wildcats (5-0 overall) in each contest, as senior Josh Hampton singled home a pair with the bases loaded and the team scored three sixth inning runs in the first game, before Marciano’s homer in the night cap. IUP (3-3 overall) never led in either game on Saturday, but pulled to within one in the eighth inning of the opener.
Wilmington came out firing in the opener, wasting no time to put two runs on the board in the bottom of the first. Newcomer Josh Swirchak doubled home Frank Samluk before swiping third base. Now standing on third, Hampton’s fly ball was deep enough to score Swirchak for the quick 2-0 lead.
The Crimson Hawks responded with a two run top of the second, knotting the game for what would be the next four innings. Hampton broke the tie with his single inside the third base bag and into left field, scoring a pair. Matt Lopes walked to reload the bases before Marciano reached on a fielder’s choice to bring in another run.
Indiana made it close once again with a pair of runs in the eighth inning, capitalizing on a leadoff walk and a pair of doubles. But the rally was quickly snapped by reliever Tyler Fries, as he came in and struck out both batters he faces, leaving the tying run on third base.
A Hampton double in the bottom of the eighth scored Swirchak before Marciano hit another sacrifice fly for a pair of insurance runs before senior Nick Marics picked up his first save of the 2014 season with a scoreless ninth frame.
Newcomer Jay Kluka picked up the win, his first as a Wildcat, in two innings of relief, coming in to start the sixth inning after starter Ray Gambone tossed the first five. Kluka struck out four in his two innings, only allowing one walk.
Again the Wildcats got on the board early in the nightcap, scoring a run in the bottom of the first of game two. Freshman Christian Adorno led off the inning with a single before Jon Castro walked. Swirchak moved both runners up 90 feet with a sacrifice bunt, allowing Hampton to hit a sacrifice fly to left for the quick 1-0 lead.
The game remained 1-0 for the next four full innings, as starter Samluk set the Hawks down for four innings before giving way to the bullpen. Samluk struck out five batters and allowed two hits and four walks to earn his first win of the season. Rob Gore tossed a scoreless fifth inning while Peter Monahan added a scoreless sixth inning.
The Wildcats added a pair of insurance runs off the bat of Marciano, as he hit his second home run of the season after Hampton led off the inning with a single but stood on second with two outs in the inning.
Fries returned for his second appearance of the day, and left a runner at second as he recorded two more strikeouts for his second save of the season.
Hampton went 3-for-5 for the doubleheader, collecting five RBIs and scoring two more. Marciano finished with four RBIs in the two games. Samluk, Jon Castro, Swirchak, and Hampton collected two hits each in the first game.
The Wildcats have the opportunity to escape the North East and the cold weather for their next seven games when they take their annual trip to southern Florida. The team’s first game in the Sunshine State is scheduled for March 4 against Southern New Hampshire at the Santaluces Sports Complex in Lantana, Fla. Tuesday’s game will be the first time the two teams have met since the Wildcats knocked the Penmen out of the NCAA Division II East Regional Tournament last season in the semifinal round.