AUBURNDALE, Fla. - - A three-run second inning was too much to overcome for the Wilmington University baseball team, as it closed its Spring Break trip to Florida with a 4-2 loss to Minnesota State Mankato on Saturday at the Lake Myrtle Sports Complex.
The Wildcats (3-9) closed the gap to 3-2 in the top of the seventh, but the Mavericks (4-3) added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. The Wildcats left the tying run on first base in the top of the ninth inning.
Rudy Gervolino threw the first five innings, striking out six innings while allowing three runs on seven hits and three walks.
The Wildcats had a chance in the top of the first inning, loading the bases with two outs. But Maverick starter Jimmy Larson picked up a strikeout to get out of the jam unscathed.
MSU Mankato started the bottom of the second with a single and walk, putting runners on second and third with a sacrifice bunt. The Mavericks then put two on the board with a two-run single, and tacked on a third run three batters later with an RBI groundout.
The Wildcats cut into the deficit in the top of the sixth, loading the bases with only one out. But a strikeout gave the Wildcats two outs, and they could only get one run in the inning with as Jack McDonald was hit by pitch.
The Wildcats were able to cut into the deficit once again in the seventh, getting two runners on with only one out. Eddie Nevins then singled int left field, scoring Brock Nowell to make it 3-2. But a fly ball and a ground out ended the threat, leaving the tying run on second.
The Mavericks were able to add an insurance run in the eighth inning off reliver Matt Warrington, getting a leadoff single, a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI double.
Wilmington tried for one last comeback, getting a Dan Hyatt two-out single to start a rally. Eddie Nevins put runners on first and second with another single, but Lyle Nordby struck out Derek Donastorg for the final out of the game, earning the three-inning save.
The Wildcats return north and begin play again on Wednesday afternoon when they head to Shippensburg. First pitch is set for 3:00 p.m.