FORT MYERS, Florida – The Wilmington College baseball team led the United States Coast Guard Academy (Coast Guard) 14-9 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning, but the Bears rallied to score six runs on three hits to defeat the Fightin' Quakers 15-14 in come-from-behind fashion on Wednesday afternoon.
Despite the loss, Wilmington finished its spring break trip with a 5-2 record.
A Jake Hyatt home run, his second of the season, in the first inning gave Wilmington a 2-0 advantage early, but the Bears battled back with three runs on five hits in the bottom of the first go ahead by a run.
Trailing 3-2, the Quakers' offense batted around the order and exploded for six runs on four hits in the second inning. Joe Legin, Josh Chua and Gage Bley all had singles that drove in runs as well as Chua and Legin executing a double steal for yet another run. After a routine bottom of the second for starter, Jarett Trautman, Wilmington took a 10-2 lead by scoring using a Chua sacrifice fly and two Coast Guard errors.
The Bears answered right back, however, with another huge inning, scoring five runs on six hits in the bottom of the third. After three complete innings and nearly 90 minutes, the Quakers clung to a 10-8 lead.
Neither team would score for two innings until Daniel launched his first career home run, a grand slam, over the left field fence in the top of the sixth inning. Coast Guard got one of those runs back in the bottom half of the frame but trailed 14-9 after seven complete.
There the score would stay until the bottom of the ninth inning. The lead-off runner reached for the Bears, but Jacob Courtney induced a 4-6-3 double play getting the Quakers one out away from a win. Unfortunately for Wilmington, Coast Guard used a single and an error to score two runs, and after a walk, a bases-clearing triple from Jon Pressley tied the game. The Bears won via a walk-off single from Alex Murdoch on the next at bat.
Matt Rutz took the loss for Wilmington, allowing the final two hits. Matt Oney was the Quakers' most impressive pitcher on the afternoon, pitching 5.1 innings in relief while allowing just one earned run.
Wilmington was outhit 20-10 in the game and was led by Legin who finished 4-for-6 with an RBI. Six other Quakers had one hit each.
Pressley had five hits in six plate appearances and five RBIs to lead the Coast Guard offense.
Wilmington (5-6) travels to Bluffton University for a doubleheader on Saturday.