Coordinator of Sports Info, Athletics
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An unearned run in the bottom of the 11th inning ruined the Wilmington University baseball team’s 2013 season opener on Friday afternoon as St. Thomas Aquinas pulled out a 2-1 extra inning victory at Diamond Nation.
Despite outhitting the Spartans, 7-4, the Wildcats (0-1 overall) left seven runners on base and committed two errors, allowing St. Thomas Aquinas (1-0 overall) to sneak away with the season opening win.
Junior starting pitcher Jamie Treml went seven innings while only allowing one hit, striking out five batters before turning it over to the bullpen. Even leaving the game with a 1-0 lead after seven complete, the Wildcats’ ace came away with the no decision.
Wilmington got on the board in the top of the seventh, kick started by sophomore catcher Matt Lopes’ one out double. Now with runners at first and third following a Jonathan Rodriguez walk and a wild pitch, senior Brandon Payne knocked in the games’ first run with an RBI single.
Junior Tim Racek came on for the eighth inning and got two of the first three batters out, sandwiched around a pinch hit single. With two outs and the runner on second, the Spartans’ Kenny Kirshner tied the game with an RBI double. Racek escaped without further damage, getting a comebacker to the mound for the third out.
Frank Samluk started the eighth with a leadoff single, but after being sacrificed to second base, the Wildcats were unable to get Samluk home, stranding the sophomore at third base.
Junior Nick Marics relieved Racek for the bottom of the ninth where he promptly sat the Spartans down in order, getting the final batter swinging at the plate for the inning ending strikeout. Marics also put the Spartans down in order in the 10th inning, as the Wildcats were also unable to get the bats going in the top of the 10th or the top of the 11th innings.
Redshirt freshman Armando Estrada trotted into the mound, making his Wildcat debut for the bottom of the 11th. With one out and a runner at first, Estrada’s pickoff attempt got away from Samluk at first, allowing the runner to move to second with only one out. After inducing a ground ball to second for the second out, the Spartan’s Frank Salerno took the first pitch he saw and singled in the game winning run.
Seven different batters registered hits in the first game of the year, all started by Jordan Johnson’s leadoff single to start off the game. Newcomers Jon Castro and Josh Hampton also collected a hit a piece, while Samluk, Lopes, Payne, and Brendan Fallers rounded out the teams’ hits.
The Wildcats will have two more opportunities to take down the Spartans in the season opening series, as the teams return to Diamond Nation on Sunday for a doubleheader starting at noon. The first game will be a nine-inning contest, followed by a shortened seven-inning game.
Published: Friday, February 22, 2013 - Flemington, N.J.