MIAMI SHORES, Fla. - - A five-run seventh inning sank the Wilmington University baseball team as American International came back to steal the 7-5 victory on Friday afternoon at Feinbloom Field on the campus of Barry University.
The Wildcats (5-5) held an early lead and then had chances late, but a string of unlucky plays ended the team's comeback bid as the Yellow Jackets (3-0) hung on for the victory.
The bats got started early for the Wildcats, as they quickly jumped in front of AIC, 2-0 in the bottom of the first inning. Rocky Ferrier and Julian Kurych started the frame with back-to-back singles before Mike Annone brought in the game's first run with an RBI single through he right side. Kendall Small than lifted one to deep left center field for a sacrifice fly, bringing in Kurych for the 2-0 lead.
It looked as though the Wildcats were going to strike again in the second, but they left a pair on base to end the inning. It took a while for the bats to get going again.
The only hiccup Wildcat starter Chuck Delagol had in his five innings of work came in the top of the fourth inning, as the Yellow Jackets broke up the shutout and the perfect game with a solo homer to left. Delagol went five innings with seven strikeouts, only allowing two hits while walking one batter.
The Yellow Jackets got to reliever Zach Rumford in the top of the seventh, starting the inning with a single, double, and a triple to take the lead, 3-2. John Hetterman came on and looked as though he was going to get out of the inning with only the two runs, but a tough play on a well hit ball towards the wall in right wasn't caught and kept the inning alive. A run came in on the play and AIC would tack on two more runs in the inning to lead, 6-2.
The Wildcats cut into the deficit in the bottom half of the inning, getting an RBI double from Annone before Small hit another sacrifice fly to center to bring the score to 6-4.
Rudy Gervolino had a shutdown inning in the eighth to allow the bats back to the plate, and they nearly cut into the deficit once again. The Wildcats had two on with two outs, but AIC got out of the jam unscathed on a groundball. AIC would also tack on a run in the top of the ninth, running a first and third double steal play to get the runner home from third for the 7-4 lead.
The Wildcats gave it a shot in the bottom of the ninth, getting singled from Kurych and Annone to start the frame. Small then doubled off a new reliever, chasing Kurych home but Annone was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first. Max Carney then looped one towards shallow left field, but the shortstop came up with a leaping grab and tossed it to second for the game-ending double play.
Ferrier, Annone, and Nick Macey all had three hits for the Wildcats while Kurych finished 20for-4 with three runs scored. Small went 1-for-3 with three RBI.
The Wildcats wrap up their Florida Trip on Saturday when they play Adelphi on the campus of St. Thomas University. First pitch is slated for 1:00 p.m.