The Wilmington University softball team split a pair of games in its season debut on Thursday, falling to Cedarville, 10-2, before defeating Southern New Hampshire, 6-5, in eight innings at Hancock Park.
The Wildcats (1-1) started their annual Florida trip off right as senior Kelsey Doherty homered to lead off the top of the first inning to give the Wildcats a quick 1-0 lead. Two more homers in the nightcap against Southern New Hampshire allowed the Wildcats to split the opening day, beating Southern New Hampshire, 6-5, in extra innings on a walk-off bases loaded single.
Cedarville got to Wilmington starter Brooke Lachette in the bottom of the fourth, as a throwing error brought the tying run. The Yellow Jackets responded in the bottom of the fifth with five runs on four hits, opening the lead to 6-1 after five full.
The game ended in the bottom of the sixth as Cedarville added four more runs, getting a two-run double from Carlyn Hanzel.
Doherty, Cambria Ziemba, Colby Wyatt, Shannon Brantley, and Monique Rojas each collected one hit for the Wildcats in the season opener.
In a matchup between a pair of teams that were in the NCAA Division II East Region Tournament a season ago, the Wildcats got revenge on Southern New Hampshire, defeating the Penmen, 6-5, in extra innings in the nightcap.
The Wildcats revenged a 1-0 loss to the Penmen in the Regional last year, ending the Wildcats' historical season.
The Penmen struck first in the contest, using a pair of two-out double to take a 1-0 lead off starter Chelsea Botsch. Wyatt quickly tied the game in the bottom half, plating Doherty with an RBI single.
After the Penmen reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the second with a homer, the Wildcats' Miranda Pedersen tied launched a solo shot in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game, 2-2.
Again trailing following a SNHU run in the top of the sixth, the Wildcats used the long ball once more as Pedersen smashed her second homer of the game in the bottom of the sixth, this time a two-run shot to give the Wildcats a 5-3 lead after six full innings.
But Botsch was unable to close out the Penmen in regulation, as SNHU tied the game in the top half of the seventh to force extra innings. After pitching a scoreless top of the eighth, Botsch gave the Wildcats one last chance to win the game.
Doherty doubled to put runners on second and third with no outs before Wyatt singled through the right side with the bases loaded, bringing in the game-winning run.
The Wildcats are back in action on Friday in Clermont, as they play Assumption at 9 a.m. before squaring off against Lewis at 11 a.m. at Hancock Park.