The Shippensburg University baseball team could not capitalize early and could not score enough late to overcome a first inning deficit as it fell to Wilmington College 6–4 at Fairchild Field on Wednesday.
WC took the early lead in its half of the first as the first two batters reached and advanced on an errant pickoff attempt by Raiders’ catcher Tyler Shover. WC third baseman Josh Hampton grounded out, bringing home center fielder Jordan Johnson from third. The next two batters singled and doubled to bring home another run and put runners back on second and third.
It appeared SU’s lefty Kyle McClintock might get out of the inning with minimal damage after getting WC’s designated hitter Sam Giones to pop up for the second out, but an error by first baseman Dan Wimer allowed an unearned run to score. The Wildcats took advantage of the error when second baseman Frank Samluk tripled to deep left-center field and brought home two more unearned runs.
SU fought back in the bottom of the first when singles by Michael Douglas and Shover set up a sacrifice fly by left fielder Pat Kregeloh, but SU could only manage to score one run.
The Raiders loaded the bases in the bottom of the third on consecutive singles by third baseman Cal Hogan, Shover, and Kregeloh. However, Wildcats’ lefty Ray Gambone settled down to retire the next three batters to erase SU’s best chance to close the early gap.
The Wildcats scored again in the top of the eighth, but the Raider bats finally came alive in the bottom half of the inning. Second baseman Jimmy Spanos got the one- out rally started with a single up the middle. Shortstop Mike Marcinko followed with a single of his own to send Spanos to third. Douglas got an RBI with a perfect bunt single up the third-base line. The bunt resulted in Gambone getting yanked from the game.
Instead of trying to capitalize on a suspect bullpen, SU runners attempted a double steal and ran into the final out of the inning as Marcinko was caught trying to steal third.
Down 6–2 going into the ninth, SU bats heated up for another attempt at late-inning heroics. Hogan singled on the first pitch he saw from reliever Tyler Fries and advanced to second on an error by Brandon Payne. After Shover walked, Simon Beloff singled to center to load the bases.
Right fielder Cody Kulp provided the clutch hit the Raiders had been looking for all game with a two RBI single up the middle. The Raiders’ comeback attempt came up short even after relief pitcher Nick Marcis came in to record the final two outs for the Wildcats.
SU returns to action with a doubleheader against Clarion University on Saturday, April 27 at Fairchild Field.