Gambone

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Led by Ray Gambone's eight scoreless innings, Wilmington (Del.) raced to a fast start en route to an 8-1 win against St. Thomas Aquinas in an elimination game of the NCAA Division II East Region Tournament.

The top-seeded Wildcats (41-13) avoided elimination by scoring three runs in the top of the first, before adding a single run in the second and a pair of runs in each of the fourth and seventh innings. Gambone struck out five while allowing only two hits versus St. Thomas Aquinas (39-14) in its first East Region tournament appearance.

The Wildcats got to Spartan starter Robert Naughton quickly, putting their first two runners on base. Jordan Johnson reached on an error, followed by a bunt single by Jon Castro. Now on first and third with one out, Matt Lopes delivered an RBI single to left to score Johnson for the game’s first run.

With runners on second and third, Jonathan Rodriguez singled to center field for another RBI before Sam Goines rounded out the first inning scoring with a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Lopes for the 3-0 lead.

Coming out to the mound for the first time with the 3-0 lead, Gambone gave up a leadoff single to left, but then did not allow another hit until the middle of the fourth inning. After a walk with one out in the fifth inning, Gambone set the next 11 Spartan batters down in order to get the Wildcats through the first eighth innings.

Joe Marciano started the fourth inning off with a single to the right side. He advanced to third on a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt by Johnson. Castro hit a sacrifice fly to center for the inning's first run before Lopes again singled to left for another RBI and a 6-0 lead.

Lopes led off the seventh with a single to center before the Wildcats put an additional runner on with a single off the glove of the third baseman by Rodriguez. After two outs were recorded in the inning, Frank Samluk stepped in and singled to left to score a run before Rodriguez came home to score on a strikeout wild pitch by Marciano, extending the inning.

With the 8-0 lead, Gambone responded with 1-2-3 innings in the seventh and eighth, exiting the game after 108 pitches. He handed the ball over to Jarrett Shaffer who finished off the win in pitching the ninth inning.

Lopes went a perfect 4-for-4 with a walk, knocking in two runners while scoring two runs. Rodriguez finished with two hits and Samluk went 2-for-3 with a sacrifice bunt. Both Rodriguez and Samluk collected one RBI and scored one run on the afternoon. Four other Wildcats finished with a base hit, rounding out the 12 total on the day.