Copyright 2016; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. File photo of Brooks Ryan who collected two hits in each game at Caldwell, including his first collegiate home run. Photo by Joseph Craig.
CALDWELL, N.J. - - A Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference doubleheader sweep of Caldwell, 7-6 and 8-3, on Tuesday night at the Kiwanis Oval keeps the Wilmington University baseball team alive for a First Round bye with one series remaining in the regular season.
The bats are starting to heat up for the Wildcats (15-24, 12-6 CACC), as they secured their second and third straight games with double digit hits. The bullpen needed to escape a late scare once again in the opener, while a five-run fourth inning in the nightcap propelled the team to the sweep over Caldwell (9-23, 5-13 CACC).
A quick start in the opener allowed the Wildcats to hang on down the stretch against the Cougars. The Wildcats scored five runs in the first two innings before a lightning delay halted game play for an hour. Following the stoppage, the Cougars responded with single runs in the third and four innings before Brooks Ryan deposited a pitch over the center field wall for a 7-2 lead. The homer was the first of Ryan's collegiate career.
The Cougars answered back with two runs in the fifth, scoring on a failed pick off attempt and an RBI single. With Wildcat starter Jay Kluka still going in the ninth, a throwing error and back-to-back walks loaded the bases with only one out.
Noah Latshaw relieved Kluka, but another walk forced in a run to cut the lead to 7-5. Latshaw induced a fly ball to left field for the second out of the inning, but the ball was deep enough to get the Cougars to within a single run, 7-6. Latshaw buckled down and struck out the next batter, leaving the tying run on second and the game-winner on first base.
Kluka allowed six runs (four earned) on 10 hits while striking out five batters in 8.1 innings to improve to 4-1 on the season. Latshaw picked up the final two outs for his first collegiate save.
Carney led the offense by going 3-for-5 while Ferrier, Adorno, and Ryan all added two hits each. Ryan's two RBIs led the team in the opener.
An unearned run in the second put the Cougars ahead in the nightcap, but senior Chris Lopez controlled the pace from there in his first start of the season. Following the unearned run, Lopez set down the next five batters in route to a streak of getting 10-of-11 batters out into the sixth inning. That allowed the offense to go to work.
A squeeze played tied the game in the third before the bats collected five runs on six hits in the fourth to seize control. Adorno brought in two with an RBI single before Hyatt knocked in Adorno. Long roped an RBI triple and Carney capped the scoring with an RBI infield hit. It was 6-1 when all said and done.
A second unearned run came home for the Cougars in the sixth and then Lopez left a one out walk on first base in the seventh to end his brilliant line. Lopez struck out a pair while only allowing five hits and a walk in seven strong innings to improve to 2-0 on the year.
Long was a homer away from the cycle, hitting 4-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored in the nightcap. Ryan collected two more hits in game two, scoring a run. Carney and Adorno led the way with two RBI each.
The Wildcats head out of conference for a single game at Queens on Wednesday before playing their final two CACC games of the season at Nyack on Friday. The Wildcats are currently tied with Chestnut Hill in second place, but the Griffins hold the head-to-head tiebreaker by sweeping the Wildcats earlier this season. The Griffins play Caldwell in their final CACC games on Saturday.
Wednesday's first pitch at Queens is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.