Wildcats Earn Split with Pace, 2-4 and 5-4, in 2014 Softball Season Opener
Soft: Pace 4 - Wilmington 2; Wilmington 5 - Pace 4
Sunday, March 2, 2014 - Newark, Del.
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Sophomore Jen Fischbach pitched the final 4.2 innings of game two, striking out three batters while not allowing a run to earn the win on Saturday against Pace.Copyright 2014; Wilmington University. All rights reserved.
Junior Kelsey Doherty went 3-for-3 with a walk in game two, hitting a triple and scoring a run on Saturday against Pace. Copyright 2014; Wilmington University. All rights reserved.
Sophomore Miranda Pedersen connects on her solo home run in the third inning of game one on Saturday against Pace. Copyright 2014; Wilmington University. All rights reserved.
The Wilmington University softball team scored twice in the fourth inning to come back and take game two of a doubleheader against Pace, splitting the season opening series on Saturday and earning first year head coach Mike Shehorn his first collegiate victory.
The games were played on the turf at the WU Athletics Complex instead of the regular home field of the Wildcats on Asbury Field in New Castle. But the different surroundings didn’t stop Wilmington (1-1 overall) and Pace (1-1) who were both looking to get out and play against an opposing team for the first time in 2014.
Pace took the first game of the doubleheader, 4-2, before the Wildcats bounced back and took the nightcap, 5-4.
The true season opener was deadlocked at 1-1 after the third inning on the strength of solo homeruns from each side. Pace’s Nikole Larm started the scoring with a solo shot down the left field line in the top of the second, barely crossing the fence in fair territory. Wilmington’s Miranda Pedersen responded with a long shot to the gap in left center, tying the game in the bottom of the third.
The score remained 1-1 on the strength of starting pitcher Chelsea Botsch until the top of the sixth inning. Pace’s leadoff hitter Shelby Yung took two bases on a sacrifice bunt, standing on third with one out. An RBI single gave the Setters the lead before a bases loaded walk brought a second run in the inning.
Trailing 4-1, the Wildcats put a rally together in the seventh inning, loading the bases with only one out. With the tying run at the plate, Meghan Logullo’s fielder’s choice brought one run across but left the home team with two outs and only runners at first and second. Pace escaped the jam to win game one, 4-2.
Junior Kelsey Doherty lifted the Wildcats in the nightcap, collecting three of the team’s four hits and reaching base all four times in the 5-4 win. Sophomore Jen Fischbach tallied the other hit while picking up the win in relief in the circle, tossing the final 4.2 innings and only allowing one hit.
The Wildcats got on the board early in the game, as Doherty led off the bottom half with a triple to right center. With runners on second and third, Doherty raced home on a wild pitch for the game’s first run before Logullo gave the Wildcats a 2-0 lead by scoring on a suicide squeeze by Pedersen.
Pace responded with a pair of runs in each the second and third innings, before Fischbach closed the deficit to 4-3 with a double to the gap in left, scoring Pedersen in the bottom of the third.
Wilmington added on in their next at-bat, as the Wildcats quickly loaded the bases without recording an out. Logullo executed another perfect squeeze play, reaching first on an error and scoring Cambria Ziemba. Pedersen gave the Wildcats the lead, 5-4, with sacrifice fly to left, scoring Shannon McMahon from third.
Fischbach took over from inside the circle, only allowing one walk and two runners to reach base in the sixth inning. The jam was quickly averted, however, as Pedersen turned a 6-3 double play on a base hit back up the middle to take the wind out of Pace’s sails. Fischbach slammed the door on the team’s first victory with a perfect seventh inning, giving the Wildcats the split.
Doherty finished game two 3-for-3 with a triple and a run scored while Pedersen tallied a team high three RBI on the afternoon.
The Wildcats doubleheader against Bloomsburg scheduled for Tuesday has been postponed and now won’t play again until they reach the Sunshine State for their annual Florida trip. The team opens their weeklong trip with a common opponent, playing conference rival Dominican on Friday in a nonconference game. The team will follow with a second game on Friday against Wheeling Jesuit. The games will be played in Clermont, Fla.