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Five Run Ninth Leads Wilmington Baseball to 9-7 Comeback Victory at St. Thomas (Fla.)

Copyright 2017; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo of Kyle Fries' first double of the night at St. Thomas (Fla.).
Copyright 2017; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo of Kyle Fries' first double of the night at St. Thomas (Fla.).

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - - Down to their last chance, the Wilmington University baseball team scored five runs and earned a 9-7 come-from-behind victory at St. Thomas (Fla.) on Thursday night at Paul Demie Mainieri Field.

Trailing 5-4 entering the ninth inning, the Wildcats (5-4) plated five runs on four hits to take a commanding 9-4 lead with only three outs to get. But the 22nd ranked NAIA team in the country did not quit, as St. Thomas had the tying run on first base as the game ended.

The Bobcats got the scoring started in the bottom of the first, launching a two-run shot to left center. The Wildcats were able to cut the deficit in half in the top of the fourth without registering a hit, as Logan Gilbert hit a deep sacrifice fly to left center to score Kendall Small from third.

St. Thomas regained the lead with two more runs in the bottom of the fourth, but the answered once against in the top of the fifth. Kyle Fries gave the Wildcats their first hit of the night with a double inside the third base bag and down the line. Rocky Ferrier followed suit with a double of his own down the left field line before Julian Kurych scored Ferrier with a single into right.

The Wildcats were able to tie the game in the top of the seventh, as Kurych was the spark with one out and the bases empty. He singled before advancing to third base on a St. Thomas error. Small then pulled one down to first base, hard enough to give the fielder troubled and allow Kurcyh to come home.

But the Bobcats responded once again the bottom of the inning, loading the bases with one out. The home team was able to force a run in on a hit by pitch and take a 5-4 lead. Dan Hyatt came on and picked up a big strikeout before inducing an infield popup to get out of the jam without further damage.

The Wildcats had the top of the order up in the top of the ninth and Ferrier set the train in motion with a lead off single. Kurcyh moved him to second with a sacrifice bunt and Mike Annone brought him in with a two-strike base hit back up the middle. Small followed with a single before Max Carney was intentionally walked to load the bases with only one out.

Logan Gilbert stepped in and chopped one to a drawn in third baseman, but his thrown home was wide of the plate, allowing pinch runner Joey Cautillo to score the go ahead run. Regan Hidalgo stepped in and took his first pitch deep to center for a sacrifice fly for the 7-5 lead. Fries than added another double inside the third base bag and down the left field line and cleared the bases, putting the Wildcats ahead, 9-7.

The Bobcats wouldn't go down so easily though, as they put their first three batters on base, including a run scored. Hyatt got the first out via the strikeout, but then walked the next batter to load the bases. Rudy Gervolino came in and induced a ground ball to second, but the batter beat the double play attempt at first, scoring a run and extending the inning. Kyle Menchaca than came on and threw one pitch, getting a fly ball to shallow right to end the game.

Fries led the offense by going 3-for-4 with two RBI while Ferrier, Kurych, and Annone all collected two hits.

Micky Foytik threw 2.0 strong innings while John Hetterman tossed a perfect sixth inning. Hyatt picked up the win in throwing 2.0 innings of work while Menchaca earned the save with the final out.

The Wildcats return to playing against East Region foes for the final two games of their Florida Trip, starting with American International on Friday at Barry University. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.