WINTER HAVEN, Fla. - - The Wilmington University baseball team scored three runs in the top of the eighth inning of game two to salvage a doubleheader split against Gannon on Friday afternoon at the home of Polk State College's Bing Tyus Yard. The Wildcats dropped the opener, 4-2, but came back to win the nightcap, 5-2.
The Wildcats (3-8) held the Knight (3-8) to scoring in only two innings all day, but it was a four-run fifth in the opener to take the lead for good and a two-run bottom of the sixth in the nightcap to tie the game.
Both starters pitched well for the Wildcats, as Dan Hyatt went all seven innings and picked up 10 strikeouts with no walks, allowing seven hits and four runs (three earned). Kyle Maxwell went six innings and did not allow a hit until the fifth inning, striking out eight while allowing two runs on three hits and two walks.
The Wildcats threatened all game, but couldn't come up with the big hit when they needed it most, leaving 10 runners on base. They had lead off runners on in the first and second innings, but couldn't score and left two runners on in each of the second, fourth, and fifth innings.
After the Knights scored four runs in the top of the fifth on four hits and an error, the Wildcats' Nic Hertzfeld started a rally with a one-out double to right center. Eddie Nevins knocked him in with a single, and Quintin Ivy followed with another single to put two runners on, but the Knights once again escaped further damage.
Down to their last chance, Nic Hertzfeld and Dan Hyatt walked to start the bottom of the seventh, but the Wildcats could only score one run in the frame, as Matt Warrington lined out to the shortstop to end the game.
Nic Hertzfeld went 2-for-3 with two runs scored while Nevins and Ivy picked up an RBI each.
The Wildcats got on the board first in game two, as Eddie Nevins start the second with a double to left field. After Brooks Ryan moved him up to third, Derek Donastorg lined a single back up the middle to give the Cats a 1-0 lead.
Kyle Maxwell was cruising through the first four innings, getting a double play to end the second, leaving a hit-by-pitch on base in the third, and picking off a walk in the fourth.
The offense gave him a 2-0 lead in the top of the fifth, as freshman Jack McDonald picked up his first collegiate base knock with a double to left center to start the inning. Brett Nowell then laid down a bunt and the throw to first sailed into right field, allowing McDonald to trot home.
Maxwell was in a jam in the fifth with two runners on and two outs, but picked up a strikeout to end the frame and keep the 2-0 lead. But he couldn't get out of the sixth with the same result, as the Knights started the inning with a single and double. Two sacrifice flies later, the game was tied 2-2.
After a scoreless seventh, the Wildcats would regain the lead in the eighth. Quintin Ivy started the extra inning with a leadoff single before Eddie Nevins moved him up with a sacrifice bunt. Brooks Ryan then went the other way with a single, scoring Ivy for the lead. Two batters later, Dan Hyatt hit a sacrifice fly for another run while Jack McDonald tacked on a third with an RBI single as well.
Alex Hinton came on and had two outs with a runner on first. That runner would only get to second, as he struck out the final batter for his first collegiate save.
The Wildcats face Minnesota State Mankato Saturday in their final game of their Spring Break Trip to Florida. They square off against the Mavericks with a 5:30 p.m. first pitch at the Lake Myrtle Sports Complex in Auburndale.