Feb. 18, 2012
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Getting runners on base didn't prove a problem but Villanova (0-2) stranded nine on base and committed three errors in a 13-1 loss to No. 4 Arkansas (2-0) at Baum Stadium on Saturday afternoon. In the second game of a three-game series the Wildcats went down in order just once all game but scored their only run of the contest on a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning.
Villanova had five hits and also drew six walks in the contest but five Razorbacks pitchers limited the Wildcats to going 3-for-21 (.143) with runners on base and 1-for-9 (.111) with runners in scoring position. Junior designated hitter Steve Schrenk (Brigantine, N.J.) walked in each of his first two plate appearances and scored the team's only run in the top of the fourth.
Arkansas cleanup hitter Sam Bates had three hits and drove in five runs to lead the Razorbacks offensive attack, while Matt Reynolds had two hits and two runs scored and John Clay Reeves drove in a pair of runs.
Sophomore starting pitcher Pat Young (The Woodlands, Texas) worked around a pair of two-out runners in the first inning when Dominic Ficociello was thrown out at the plate on a double steal attempt. Young made a pickoff move to second and senior shortstop Marlon Calbi (Montclair, N.J.) made the throw to the plate which cut down Ficociello to end the inning.
Young (0-1) ran into trouble in the second inning, however, after loading the bases with nobody out. Reeves placed a line drive just inside the first base line for a two-run double to right field and Arkansas eventually parlayed the big start to the inning into a six-run frame. Only three of the runs off Young in that inning were earned and he bounced back with a strong third inning in which he fanned the final two batters on swinging third strikes.
In the top of the fourth inning Schrenk drew a leadoff walk and one out later senior left fielder Matt Fleishman (East Northport, N.Y.) and sophomore first baseman Connor Jones (Chandler, Ariz.) delivered consecutive singles to load the bases with one out. Wager then hit a sacrifice fly to left-center on a ball that looked like it would have a chance to drop but Villanova's rally stalled from that point on.
The sacrifice fly by Wager made the score 6-1 but in the bottom of the fourth inning Bo Bigham delivered a run-scoring single and Reynolds walked to chase Young, who wound up allowing six hits, five walks and five earned runs in three-plus innings of work. Senior Jerry Battipaglia (Katonah, N.Y.) relieved him and pitched two effective innings before running into trouble of his own in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Despite the outcome the Wildcats ability to get runners on base was a positive indication for the offense. In the top of the seventh inning freshman Brandon Carr (Danville, Calif.) made his collegiate debut as a pinch hitter and ripped a hard single to center field. That was followed by a pinch-hit single off the bat of senior Andrew Geenen (Portola Valley, Calif.) and when all was said and done Villanova had 10 different batters reach base via a hit or a walk.
Ryne Stanek (1-0) went the first four innings for the Razorbacks and allowed an earned run on two hits while walking three and striking out four. Four relievers followed him and gave up three hits and three walks while striking out seven spanning the final five innings of the contest.
The finale of this weekend's series takes place on Sunday afternoon beginning at 2:05 p.m. Eastern time. Sophomore right-hander Max Almonte (Long Beach, N.Y.) gets the start for the Wildcats tomorrow.