NEW CASTLE, Del. - - Thirteenth ranked West Chester took advantage of the Wilmington University baseball team's miscues, scoring late to pull away for a 9-5 victory on Tuesday afternoon at Wilson Field.
Despite two home runs from sophomore first baseman Kendall Small (Dover, Del./Dover), the Wildcats (27-18) committed three errors and allowed the Golden Rams (31-7) to tie the game twice in the early going with unearned runs. The visitors then scored multiple runs in the fifth, seventh, and eighth innings to pull away late.
Small started the scoring with a solo homer to right on the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the second, blasting his third homer of the season for the 1-0 lead. But the Golden Rams were able to tie the game in the top of the third on a dropped fly ball with two outs in the inning.
Frank Nigro hit a one-out double in the bottom of the third, but looked to be caught off the bag on pick-off attempt on the next pitch. But the throw from the catcher sailed into the outfield, and Nigro hustled around third and slid home ahead of the throw for the 2-1 lead. But the lead didn't last long once again, as the Golden Rams took advantage of another error in the outfield that allowed the batter to take third after a double. A two-out single would score the unearned run, 2-2.
The Golden Rams took the lead for good in the top of the fifth, putting the first four batters of the inning aboard. An RBI single brought in the go-ahead run with runners on first and second before a bases loaded hit-by-pitch made it 4-2.
Julian Kurych cut into the deficit with a sacrifice fly in the sixth, but the Golden Rams pulled away with three more runs in the top of the seventh. Three straight hits loaded the bases before a fielder's choice, a balk, and a two-out double down the left field line put the visitors ahead, 7-3. A two-run homer in the top of the eighth from Joe Sheeran pushed the West Chester lead out to 9-3.
Small wasn't done at the plate for the Wildcats however, as he again took the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the eighth and deposited it over the fence in right center for a two-run blast.
The two-homer game was the first for the Wildcats since teammate Mike Annone homered twice at Bloomfield on April 12, 2014. It is only the fifth two-homer game for the Wildcats since the 2010 season. Matt Umba and Mike Godwin each had a two-homer game in 2010 before Joe Harbach and Adam Soley each had a two-homer game in 2012.
Dan Hyatt went 3-for-5 with a double at the plate and pitched a scoreless ninth inning with two strikeouts. Small went 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored.
The 2017 regular season comes to a close on Wednesday for the Wildcats, as they welcome Felician to Wilson Field for a nonconference doubleheader. The first pitch is slated for 1:00 p.m.