Feb. 19, 2005
SAVANNAH, Ga. - Pinch hitter Craig Mirsky (Holland, Pa.) entered the game in the bottom of the fifth inning with the Wildcats clinging to a 3-2 lead, and greeted a new Hokies reliever by lining a two-run double into the right-center field gap, and Villanova (1-1) went on to a 5-3 victory over Virginia Tech (0-1) on Saturday night at Grayson Field. The teams were playing in the second day of games at the Savannah State Tournament.
The Wildcats built a 3-0 lead in the first two innings, but saw the advantage closed to 3-2 when the Hokies scored single runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Junior centerfielder Kris Molloy (Hillsborough, N.J.) walked to lead off the bottom of the fifth and classmate Jeremy Hunt (Tampa, Fla.) was hit by a pitch two outs later. With runners at first and second, Virginia Tech brought in a left-handed pitcher for a situational matchup, and Villanova countered with the right-handed hitting Mirsky. The junior outfielder battled out of a 1-2 hole to force a full count, and then doubled on the seventh pitch of the at-bat.
Strong pitching carried Villanova for the second consecutive game, and sophomore starter Mike Loree (Gillette, N.J.) recorded the victory with five strong innings of work. He allowed two earned runs on five hits, while striking out five and walking two. Lefty Jim Baxter (Point Pleasant, N.J.) returned to the mound after missing last season with an injury, and pitched three strong innings of relief. That set things up for senior closer Mike Grodecki (Northbrook, Ill.), who retired the side in order in the ninth to pick up the save.
After seeing just two runners reach base in Friday's loss to Savannah State, the Wildcats struck early on Saturday night. Molloy beat out an infield hit to start the Villanova first, and then stole second base. A two-out double by Hunt gave the Wildcats an early 1-0 lead, and the margin was extended to 3-0 when junior catcher Jim Gillin (Broomall, Pa.) hit an 0-1 fastball far over the fence in left-center field for a two-run homerun.
Hunt wound up going 2-for-3 on the evening, while Molloy scored two runs and had two stolen bases. He also played outstanding defense in centerfield, making a team-high nine putouts. Two of those outs came on line drives into the alleys that Molloy ran long distances to make diving catches.
The Hokies scored their first run on an infield hit in the fourth inning, and added another on a hit that dropped in to left-center in the fifth. Their final run scored on an infield hit in the top of the sixth. Virginia Tech outhit the Wildcats 9-6, but stranded 10 runners on base, had two others caught stealing, and hit into a fly ball double play. Villanova pitchers have demonstrated their ability to work out of jams in their first two outings, as the Wildcats first two opponents have combined to leave 21 runners on base.
The victory was Villanova's second ever against Virginia Tech, which entered the game with an 18-1 edge in the all-time series. The Hokies, who left the Big East conference following the 2004 season, were playing their first regular season game as a member of the ACC.
Villanova plays its final game in the Savannah State Tournament on Sunday afternoon when it faces Navy at noon.