Pitching and Defense Shine But Wildcats Shut Out in Opener, 2-0, at Charleston Southern
Feb. 15, 2014
Despite stepping on an actual field for the very first time the Villanova (0-1) defense made itself right at home and turned three double plays while making several other strong plays despite a 2-0 loss to Charleston Southern (1-0) in the season opener at CSU Ballpark on Saturday afternoon. The game was also the first of a doubleheader and the host Buccaneers captured the nightcap in similarly narrow fashion, 2-1.
The only scoring in the game came on single runs in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings. Charleston Southern had eight hits in the game but hit into the three double plays - all in the first five innings - and also had two other base runners erased on assists from the outfield. A two-out single in the fifth inning gave the Bucs a 1-0 lead and a one-out double in the sixth served as an insurance run.
Junior starting pitcher Josh Harris (Streamwood, Ill.) effectively pitched to contact against a lineup that was aggressive early in the count. Harris (0-1, 3.38 ERA) allowed eight hits and two earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. He departed with a runner at first and one out in the sixth inning and junior Matt Lengel (Devon, Pa.) registered two outs while stranding the runner in scoring position at second base. Senior Matt Meurer (Katy, Texas) retired all six batters he faced in two scoreless innings.
Harris allowed two hits and a walk through the first three innings but also faced the minimum number of batters during that span. Chase Shelton singled to left field with two outs and nobody on in the first but was cut down at second base trying to stretch his hit into a double on a strong throw by sophomore left fielder Adam Goss (Bellaire, Texas). In the second and third innings a walk to Zack Hagaman and a single by Kevin Hickey were followed by 6-4-3 and 4-6-3 double plays, respectively.
Charleston Southern leadoff hitter Bobby Ison singled to start the home half of the sixth and Alex Tomasovich followed with a double to right field. He too tried to extend his hit one more base, but was thrown out at third on a relay that went from redshirt freshman right fielder Mike Mecca (Ridgefield, N.J.) to freshman second baseman Todd Czinege (Overland, Park.) to sophomore third baseman Kevin Jewitt (West Chester, Pa.).
Jewitt had two of the Wildcats four hits and senior center fielder Connor Jones (Chandler, Ari.) reached base twice with a hit and a walk. Villanova had only four hits in the game but did draw four walks and get hit by a pitch once. The best scoring chance for the Wildcats came in the fourth inning. Jewitt lined a single to right field to start the inning and was still there with two outs when Jones reached on a dropped fly ball in right field. The runners were at the corners with two away and Czinege drove a fly ball over the head of the center fielder, who was able to go back on the ball and make the catch 10 feet in front of the outfield warning track.
NOTES: Villanova did not have three doubles in any of its games last season ... The doubleheader marked the official start of the 149th year of Wildcats baseball ... Harris also started the season finale of the 2013 season ... The last team the Wildcats played a doubleheader for their first two games of the season was in 2004 at Norfolk State, when Villanova swept a twin-bill by scores of 6-3 and 1-0.