FORT MYERS, Florida – The Wilmington College baseball team did something it hasn't done this decade on Monday – score more than 20 runs – as the Fightin' Quakers thrashed Lakeland College 29-5. Wilmington fell to Skidmore College 15-6 in the second game of the day.
Game one did not start well for Wilmington as the first two Muskies reached base via hits, and a groundout to starting pitcher Joey Hollback forced the junior to exit the game. Alec Robinette entered the game and induced a flyout to center field and Josh Chua fired a missile to catcher Kasey Bottorff to nail the runner attempting to tag up from third base.
"Momentum is everything," Head Baseball Coach Dan Cleaver said. "They [Lakeland] had a couple runners on and we were into out bullpen. Josh [Chua] threw an absolute rocket on one bounce to home plate to tag their guy out. It changed the whole momentum of the game."
Wilmington used the momentum of the defensive play to spark its offense as the Quakers sent 14 runners to the plate in the first inning. Chua, Shale Hale and Luke Kleindl all hit RBI-doubles in the frame as well as Gage Bley hitting a sacrifice fly and Nick Silvis drawing a walk with the bases loaded. In total, Wilmington scored 10 runs on four hits and two Lakeland errors.
The Muskies were retired in order in the top of the second and the Quakers added two more runs in the bottom of the inning by drawing two walks with the bases loaded. Leading 12-0, Wilmington added another seven runs in the bottom of the third courtesy of RBI hits from Daniel Hayes and Hale.
Lakeland would score four runs in the fourth and one in the fifth, but Wilmington batted around the order for the third time in the game in the bottom of the fifth. The Quakers tallied eight hits and scored nine runs to pad an already-large lead. Neither team scored in the sixth or seventh inning.
Robinette picked up the victory allowing one earned run with two strikeouts in three-plus innings pitched. Jacob Courtney also pitched effectively, striking out three batters and allowing no runs in 3.1 innings.
Lakeland used eight pitchers over six innings. Starter Jordan Johnson took the loss allowed seven runs (two earned) while recording two outs.
Wilmington tallied 18 hits offensively and a staggering 24 RBIs. Every starter recoded a hit including a 4-for-6 game from Chua and a 3-for-5 game from Hyatt. Silvis, Kleindl and Bottorff also had multi-hit games.
"We started swinging the bats at pitches on the corners," Cleaver said of his team's offensive effort against Lakeland. "We have been looking for too many pitches that are just perfect. Good college pitchers will hit the corners."
Drew Richard, Lakeland's lead-off hitter, finished 3-for-3 with two RBIs.
In game two, the Thoroughbreds scored a run in the first and three in the fourth. The Quakers scored a run in both the third and fourth innings without a base hit, but left the bases loaded the first four innings. Skidmore, leading 6-2 after four complete innings, put together four hits and scored five runs including fueled by a three-run home run.
Wilmington battled back with three runs on three hits in the bottom half of the fifth using RBI hits from Chua and Hyatt. After a scoreless sixth inning from both teams, Joey Allinder's inside-the-park home run in the seventh kept the Quakers within striking distance (11-6).
The Thoroughbreds plated four more runs in the ninth to seal the victory.
Wilmington finished with nine hits as a team led by Silvis who went 3-for-5 in the lead-off spot. Kyle Short added two hits. Hyatt finished 1-for-4 with two RBIs. The Quakers left a total of 20 runners on base.
Wilmington (3-5) hosts St. Michael's College for a two-game series tomorrow (Tuesday).