FORT MYERS, Florida - The Wilmington College softball team opened its 2018 season and spring trip by splitting a pair of games on Sunday afternoon. The Fightin' Quakers shutout Nazareth College 5-0 and fell to Kenyon College 5-1.
In game one, neither team scored in the first three innings. Wilmington's offense awoke in the bottom of the fourth as Alecia Kemp hit a single and was bunted over to second by Kaylee Barber. KenDahl Bowles the delivered the Quakers' first RBI-hit of the season, a single to second base.
The Golden Flyers got a runner in scoring position in the fifth but failed to deliver a hit to tie the game. After being retired in order in the top of the sixth, Wilmington broke the game open with a four-hit, four-run sixth inning fueled by RBIs from Savannah Hooper and Megan Crager.
Grace Shell finished the complete-game victory by retiring the opposition in order in the top of the seventh.
"Grace [Shell] made an outstanding freshman debut," Head Softball Coach Beth Floyd said. "She only gave up three hits and got a lot of ground ball outs. She did a nice job for us in the ciricle."
Shell struck out four batters and allowed just three hits in seven innings to earn the win. Madison Zies took the loss for Nazareth.
Offensively, Wilmington finished with 11 hits including multi-hit contests from Crager, Kemp, Jillia Cook and Saywer Hooper. Crager had a double and two RBIs while Savannah Hooper tallied a hit and swiped a stolen base.
In game two, the Quakers and a runner in scoring position in the second, third and fourth innings, but none of those runners were able to cross home plate. The Ladies, who were all retired the first time through the order, put together a single, stolen base and RBI-single all with two outs breaking a scoreless tie the top of the fifth inning.
Wilmington did not score in the fifth, but Micalah Hensley opened the bottom of the sixth with a single. Coach Floyd went to her deep bench, inserting Chandler Fields to pinch hit the following at bat. The senior delivered a successful sacrifice bunt, getting Hensley into scoring position at second base. A flyout advanced the runner to third base with one out, and the Wilmington bench was asked to step up once again as Je'Taysia Johns stepped into the batter's box. She promptly ripped an RBI-single to right field to tie the game.
Kenyon answered with four runs in the top of the seventh to seal the victory. Despite the loss, Floyd was pleased with her team's resiliency to battle back and tie the game.
Wilmington outhit Kenyon 8-7 including two hits from both Cook and Hensley. The Ladies were led by the top two of their order who both finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
Beth Persicano took the loss despite fanning five batters in a complete game.
Wilmington (1-1) returns to the diamond for games against SUNY Brockport and Swarthmore College at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. respectively.