No. 17 Wilmington Baseball Suffers First Loss of Season, 7-2, to Southern New Hampshire
Base: Southern New Hampshire 7 - #17 Wilmington 2
Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - Lantana, Fla.
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Senior Josh Hampton went 2-for-3 with a double, knocking in both RBIs against Southern New Hampshire on Tuesday in Florida. File photo by Mark Tetreault. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved.
Junior Jon Castro batted 2-for-4 with a stolen base and a run scored against Southern New Hampshire on Tuesday in Florida. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. File photo by Tim Shaffer.
The No. 17 ranked Wilmington University baseball team suffered its first loss of the season in a tough regional matchup against Southern New Hampshire, 7-2, to kick start the team’s annual Florida Trip played at the Santaluces Sports Complex on Tuesday afternoon.
In the latest National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Division II East Region Poll, the Wildcats (5-1) were ranked No. 2 while the Penmen (6-3) followed directly behind at No. 3, and just outside the National Top 25 but received votes. The Wildcats moved up one spot to No. 17 in the national poll released prior to the start of Tuesday’s competition.
The Penmen jumped out to a fast start in their second game of the day, taking a 2-1 lead after the first inning on the strength of a two-out home run, and a 4-1 lead after two complete innings.
The SNHU lead grew to 5-1 after a single run in the fourth before the Penmen added single runs in the sixth and again in the eighth to keep the Wildcats at an arm’s reach.
Wilmington took an early lead after their first at-bat of the ball game, aided by a two-out double by senior Josh Hampton. Jon Castro hit a one-out single and stole second to start the rally before Hampton doubled him home for the quick, 1-0, lead.
Another two out rally produced the Wildcats’ second run, coming in the top of the fifth inning. Junior Josh Swirchak walked with two the bases empty and two outs before advancing to second on a balk by Penmen starter Mike Robert. Hampton continued his hot start to the season with another base hit, this time a single to score Swirchak and bring the Wildcats to within three at 5-2.
But Robert shut down the Wildcats for the rest of the contest, allowing only two base runners for the duration of the game. He picked up his second win of the season, striking out 10 batters while walking five and allowing six hits.
Wildcat starter Jay Kluka went 3.1 innings, allowing five runs, four earned, on seven hits. He struck out a pair while walking one batter. Tim Racek came on for two-thirds of an inning before Ryan Douglas came on in the fifth. Douglas tossed two innings, allowing an unearned run, before handing the ball off to Peter Monahan who finished out the remaining two innings.
The Wildcats were out hit, 14-6, in the contest, while also committing four errors along the way.
Wilmington will look to get back to its winning way on Wednesday night, as they head to Miami Gardens to take on one of the premier NAIA programs in the country in St. Thomas (Fla.). First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. and can be followed live via St. Thomas’ athletic department.