For the second night in a row the eighth inning provided the magic for the Wilmington University baseball team as it scored twice to overtake Stonehill, 4-3, to remain in the winner's bracket of the NCAA Division II East Regional Tournament hosted by Franklin Pierce University.
Senior Josh Swirchak singled in the game tying run with one out in the bottom of the eighth, bringing in Frank Samluk who walked to lead off the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Christian Adorno.
Now with the bases loaded and still one out in the inning, Mike Annone lofted one to right which fell between the right fielder and the second baseman, bringing in the go-ahead run in Swirchak.
Tyler Fries came on in the top of the ninth and allowed a leadoff single, but bunkered down to pick up his 12th save of the season. He induced a 5-4-3 double play to erase the base runner and Annone ended the game with a catch up against the fence down the left field line in foul ground, falling to the ground but securing the catch.
Jake Wersinger replaced the Wildcats' (35-12) starter Frank Samluk in the top of the seventh, tossing two solid innings of relief to keep the Wildcats within a run at 3-2. Wersinger earned the win to improve to 5-2 on the year in two innings of work, striking out two while allowing two singles. Samluk went the first six innings, striking out nine while allowing three runs on nine hits in the no decision.
Sam Goines started the scoring in the bottom of the first for the Wildcats, doubling inside the bag at third to score Adorno and Swirchak for the quick 2-0 lead.
Stonehill (34-14-1) scored all three runs in the top of the fourth inning, getting a two-out, two-run triple, and an RBI double to take the lead 3-2.
Skyhawk starter Armand Rugel went 7.1 innings, striking out five while allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits. Swirchak collected the game tying RBI off Stonehill reliever Aubrey Solomon who gave up allowed a unearned run on two hits in not picking up an out. Solomon fell to 2-2 on the year with the loss.
With the win, the Wildcats move on to play the winner of a St. Thomas Aquinas and Stonehill matchup at 10 p.m. on Saturday night. St. Thomas Aquinas and Stonehill play the first game of the day on Saturday at 3 p.m., with the winner moving on to face the Wildcats in the nightcap at 10 p.m.