KISSIMMEE, Florida - - Following a slow start with a tough schedule to its annual trip to Florida, the Wilmington University softball team ended the week on a six-game winning streak, defeating Merrimack, 11-0 (5 innings), and nationally No. 12 Saint Anselm, 4-1, on Friday at the Osceola Complex.
With the shutout in game one, and not allowing a run until the fourth inning against St. Anselm, the Wildcats' streak of not allowing a run ended at 33 and a third consecutive innings.
Game One vs. Merrimack:
The Wildcats (7-4) started fast against the Warriors, a team that advanced to the NCAA East Regional Tournament last season. A four-run top of the first inning set the stage for the Wildcats in Friday's opener.
Rosa'Lynn Burton started the game with a leadoff single before standing on second with a stolen base. Kiana Broderson-Jones put runners on first and third with a bunt single and the Wildcats took a 1-0 lead as Alyssa Velasquez reached on an error. Now with runners on second and third, Lauren Lopez went the other way and singled down the right field line, scoring both Broderson-Jones and Velasquez for the 3-0 lead. Jazmeen Llamas worked a bases loaded walk as the Wildcats batted around in the first for a 4-0 lead.
Makayla McCarthy did exactly what she needed to do in the bottom of the first, keeping momentum in favor of the Wildcats with a 1-2-3 inning in the circle.
Lauren Lopez remained red hot in the top of the second bringing in Alyssa Velasquez with an RBI double down the left field line for the 5-0 lead. Courtney Dellinger started the third with a leadoff single and Rosa'Lynn Burton chased her all the way home with a triple to the gap in left center for the 6-0 lead after three full innings.
The Wildcats were able to put the eight-run rule into effect in the fifth inning, getting RBI singles from Kiana Broderson-Jones and Alyssa Velasquez. Broderson-Jones stole home and Kiersten Comer and Makayla McCarthy added RBI singles to put WilmU up 11-0.
McCarthy was then able to get out of a two-on, no-out jam in the bottom of the fifth to end the game after five innings.
Burton went 3-for-4 with a triple, two runs, and an RBI while Lauren Lopez led the Wildcats with three RBI by going 2-for-3 with a double. Broderson-Jones also had two hits for the Wildcats.
McCarthy improved to 3-2 on the year with six strikeouts while only allowing a hit and two walks. She also extended her scoreless streak in the circle to 18 consecutive innings.
Game Two vs. #12 St. Anselm:
The Wildcats were again able to start fast against the Hawks (10-6), after Caitlyn Whiteside left a runner on second in the top of the first.
Rosa'Lynn Burton was the catalyst again for the Wildcats, starting the bottom of the first with a single up the middle. Now with two outs, Lauren Lopez stayed red-hot with a single down the left field line, scoring Burton from second for the 1-0 lead.
Whiteside left a runner on in the second and needed to work out of trouble in the third, as the first two Hawks reached. Whiteside was able to get a strikeout, induce a ground ball, and pick up a pop up in the infield to leave the third unscathed.
But the scoreless streak ended in the top of the fourth, as the Hawks hit a one-out solo homer to center, ending the run of 33.1 consecutive innings by the Wildcats and 15.1 innings individually for Whiteside.
After a 1-2-3 top of the fifth for Whiteside, the Wildcats took the lead back in the bottom half.
Olivia Carbone started the frame with a bunt single before Alexis Sann walked to put the first two runners on. An error loaded the bases with one out and Alyssa Velasquez singled to bring in Carbone for the 2-1 lead. Lauren Lopez then doubled to the gap in left center, bringing in two more and up the lead to 4-1.
Whiteside then closed off the Hawks with a 1-2-3 inning in the sixth, and finished off the reigning NCAA DII National Runner-Ups with another 1-2-3 inning in the seventh.
Lauren Lopez finished 2-for-2 with a double and three RBI while Burton, Velasquez, McCarthy, Carbone, and Sann all added a hit. Whiteside improved to 4-2 on the year with the complete game, striking out three while only allowing a run on four hits and one walk.
The Wildcats return north and start play again on Wednesday, March 13 when they host Shippensburg for their 2019 home opener. The first pitch of the doubleheader is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at Asbury Field.