NEW CASTLE, Del. - - The Wilmington University baseball team missed an opportunity to play at the Philadelphia Phillies' Citizens Bank Park by dropping the Bill Giles Invitational First Round game to USciences, 7-4, but came back to earn the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference split with a 3-1 victory in the nightcap at Wilson Field on Wednesday afternoon.
The Wildcats (16-10, 10-4 CACC) left 10 runners on base in the opener but came back behind the strong start from Zach Rumford to pick up the conference split. The Devils (8-18, 5-11 CACC) overcame an early 3-0 hole to score seven runs in two innings for the Bill Giles Invitational victory.
The Wildcats jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the opening, producing three runs on three hits in the bottom of the first. Rocky Ferrier doubled inside the first base bag before Julian Kurych walked to put runners on first and second. Mike Annone put one in the gap to left to score Ferrier. Logan Gilbert and Kendall Small followed with RBI grounds for the quick 3-0 lead.
Starter Nick Grant worked quickly through the Devils in the first two innings but ran into trouble in the third. With two outs and a run already in, a double cleared the bases and brought all three runs in for the 4-3 lead.
The Devils started the top of the fourth with a leadoff triple before back-to-back walks loaded the bases. A ground out brought a run home before another walk reloaded the bases. An infield single brought in another run before a sacrifice fly made it 7-3.
The Wildcats had a chance in the fifth but couldn't only get one run after loading the bases with no outs. Rocky Ferrier lead off the seventh with a single, but he was left at second as the inning ended. The Wildcats again threatened in the eighth but runners on the corners and then had a chance late in the ninth. With two outs and the bases empty, an error left the door open for the Wildcats. Logan Gilbert singled before Kendall Small walked to load the bases. But the Devils picked up the win with a strikeout to end the game.
The Wildcats again jumped out to an early lead in the nightcap going up 3-0 after the first two innings. Again with the bases loaded and only one out, the Wildcats could only scratch one run across as Lance Gilbert worked a two-out walk in the bottom of the first.
Jesse Long started the second inning with a one-out bunt single followed Ferrier reaching via a walk. Now with two outs and runners on second and third, Annone singled into right field to put the Wildcats up 3-0.
Rumford was dealing, aided by a 4-6-3 double play in the third inning to face the minimum. His only blemish was an RBI groundout in the fourth before he went 1-2-3 again in the fifth.
Rumford ran into trouble in the sixth, exiting with runners on first and second with two outs. Noah Latshaw came on and escaped a bases loaded jam by striking out Pat Hiester. Dan Hyatt then entered for the seventh, picking up a strikeout before back-to-back groundouts for his fifth save of the season. Rumford struck out five in earning his first win of the season.
The Wildcats return to CACC action on Friday when they host Chestnut Hill at Wilson Field. First pitch of the doubleheader is scheduled for 12:00 p.m.