AUBURNDALE, Fla. - - The bats were slow to come around for the Wilmington University baseball team on Monday, as the Wildcats dropped a pair of games at the Lake Myrtle Sports Complex, first to Gannon, 13-0, and then to Tiffin, 2-1, in the nightcap.
Kyle Maxwell threw all eight innings in the nightcap, striking out five while not allowing a walk, but the bats only collected seven hits combined in the two games, scoring just once.
Game One vs. Gannon:
Big innings again troubled the Wildcats (1-6) in the opener, as they gave up a five run third inning and a three run third inning as Gannon (1-6) took a 9-0 lead.
The Knights took advantage of a failed pick-off in the top of the first, as a one-out single eventually scored. The error on the pick-off attempt moved the runner up to second and then he stole third to be standing at third with one out. Gannon got on the board with an RBI single into center.
Starter Rudy Gervolino had two outs with a runner on first in the third, but a single, and a hit-by-pitch quickly put the Wildcats in harm. Gannon then cleared the bases with a doubled, and backed that up with two more doubles, and all of a sudden it was a 6-0 game.
Two more failed pick-off attempts resulted in errors in the top of the fourth, with a run coming home on the second. A sacrifice fly and an infield single put the game at 9-0 in the top of the fourth.
Alex Hinton threw three innings of scoreless relief for the Wildcats.
Game Two vs. Tiffin:
The Wildcats scored first int eh nightcap, but the Dragons answered right back with two runs in the home half of the third, and that was all the scoring that happened for the game.
The Dragons threatened first in the bottom of the first, but Kyle Maxwell left runners on second and third with only one out. Brooks Ryan started the top of the second with a leadoff single, and the Wildcats had first and third with two outs. But Derek Donastorg's hard line drive was right at the second basemen, as Tiffin got out of their jam.
Steve Cornog started the top of the third with a leadoff single back up the middle, and was standing on third after two wild pitches. Nick Hertzfeld then grounded one to second, bringing in Cornog for the 1-0 lead.
Maxwell ran into trouble in the bottom half though, as a one out single and a hit batter put two on. Then a wild pitch went to the backstop, and wasn't located right away, allowing the runner from second to come all the way home to tie the game. Then the Dragons took the 2-1 lead with a sacrifice fly.
Eddie Nevins singled to start the sixth, but he was left stranded at second as the inning ended. Derek Donastorg was hit by a pitch in the seventh, stole second and third, but was left there as the third out was recorded. Down to their last chance, Dan Hyatt singled into left with two outs in the ninth. Trying to get into scoring position, pinch runner CJ Wilkerson was gunned down at second on the stolen base attempt, ending the contest.
It was the first game that the Wildcats did not commit an error, but the two Tiffin pitchers picked up 14 strikeouts in the game, including nine from Noah Kandel in four innings of relief for the save.
The Wildcats need to build on the momentum of the second game as they are right back to game action on Tuesday morning. They will face St. Anselm on Tuesday at the Lake Myrtle Complex with a 9:30 a.m. first pitch.