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Five Run Fifth Inning Propels No. 19 Wilmington Baseball Past Pace, 5-3, in Home Opener

Base: #19 Wilmington 5 - Pace 3

Thursday, March 20, 2014 - New Castle, DE

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Freshman Jesse Long gave the Wildcats their first hit, an RBI double in the fifth to start the five run inning on Thursday. Copyright 2014; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo by Althea Davidson.



Reliever Jay Kluka tossed three scoreless innings on Thursday, striking out six Pace batters. Copyright 2014; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo by Althea Davidson.



Senior Sam Goines hit a two-run double in the fifth inning to give the Wildcats the lead over Pace on Thursday. Copyright 2014; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo by Althea Davidson.

A five run fifth inning was all the No. 19 Wilmington University baseball team needed as it came back to defeat Pace, 5-3, in nonconference action in the Wildcats home opener on Thursday at Wilson Field in Jim Sherman Sr. Stadium.

Hitless through the first four innings, the Wildcats (10-2-1) broke out with five runs on three hits in the fifth, getting all the scoring it would need to hold off Pace (3-5). The Setters held a 2-0 lead after single runs in the third and fourth innings, hitting two solo homers in the effort.

The Setters grabbed a 1-0 lead in the third inning as Wildcat starter Rob Gore allowed a one out solo homer to right on a 1-2 pitch to Jon Kovel. Pace added a second run with a two out rally in the fourth, as Ian Wukitsch singled home a run with a hit into center.

Gore controlled the Setters in his other three innings of play, allowing only four hits and two runs in five innings of work. He helped keep the Wildcats in the game before the home team’s bats came alive.

The Wildcats received their first hit with one out in the fifth, as Jesse Long doubled over the head of the drawn in center fielder, scoring Joe Marciano from first base and cutting the deficit to 2-1. Christian Adorno walked and Frank Samluk singled through the left side to load the bases still with one out.

Sam Goines gave the Wildcats’ their third hit of the inning with a long double to left center, chasing Long and Adorno home for the 3-2 lead. Josh Hampton hit a screamer to right, but right at the outfielder who was able to catch it but unable to throw out the runner tagging from third for the 4-2 lead.

Now with runners on first and third, a double steal and a throw into centerfield allowed Wilmington’s final run to come across, as the Wildcats went into the sixth inning with a 5-2 lead.

Reliever Jay Kluka shut down the setters for the next three innings, as he only allowed a two out single in the sixth in his outing. He picked up six strikeouts in his three innings of work without allowing a single walk, bringing the game into the ninth inning.

Senior Nick Marics came on in the final inning to lock down the win, but the Setters didn’t go down without a fight. With one out, James Pjura cut into the deficit with the Setters’ second solo shot of the game, taking Marics deep to right. Pace picked up two more singles in the inning before Marics bared down and got the final two outs to leave the tying run stranded at first base.

Gore earned his first win of the season after going five innings while Marics picked him his third save of the season. Pace’s starte Jonathan Chudy falls to 0-2 on the year after giving up all five runs in the fifth before being pulled with two outs in the inning. Chudy struck out five but allowed four walks, a hit batter and three hits in the loss.

Samluk, Goines, Brody Tennant, and Long all collected one hit apiece in the win, with Goines leading the way with two runs batted in.

Wilmington has now won five games in row, even after taking 11 days off since its last game in Florida. The Wildcats look to keep the momentum of the early season as they open their Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference schedule on Saturday against Philadelphia in a doubleheader. The first game is scheduled for a 12 p.m. first pitch at Wilson Field.