Feb. 19, 2010
NORFOLK, Va. - Staff ace Brian Streilein (Staten Island, N.Y.) struck out a career-high 12 batters over 6 2/3 scoreless innings and Villanova (1-0) opened the season in dominant fashion with a 13-2 victory at Norfolk State (0-1) in the start of a three-game series Friday afternoon at Marty L. Miller Field. Streilein was backed by a 17-hit attack in which 10 different players had at least one hit for the Wildcats.
Streilein (1-0, 0.00 ERA) supplied the biggest storyline of the day with one of the best starts of his career. He fanned five of the first 10 batters he faced and later struck out five straight batters in the fifth and sixth innings. Streilein threw better than 60 percent of his pitches for strikes and nine of his 12 strikeouts came on swinging third strikes. Meanwhile, he stayed out of trouble by forcing the Spartans to go 0-for-7 with runners on base.
Villanova broke open the scoring with a single run in the top of the third inning and steadily increased the lead after that, plating two runs each in the fourth and fifth innings before a six-run frame in the top of the seventh. Matt Szczur (Erma, N.J.) set the tone at the top of the lineup with four hits and four RBI to go along with two runs scored and a stolen base. Designated hitter Adam Nelson (St. Joseph, Mo.) also had four hits, including three doubles, while scoring three times and driving in three as well.
Szczur singled, took second on a walk and stole third with one out in the third inning to eventually set up the first run of the game on a bases-loaded walk later in the inning. In the fourth inning, Szczur doubled to left-center field with two out and two on to forge a 3-0 lead, while Nelson singled home a run in the top of the fifth to make the score 5-0.
The pair of runs in both the fourth and fifth innings chased Norfolk State starter Jason Barker (0-1, 9.00) after he allowed five earned runs on eight hits in five innings of work, including four walks and four strikeouts. The Wildcats later got to Ryan Davis and Raymond Morton when they sent 11 men to the plate during the big seventh inning rally.
Nelson's second double of the game plated sophomores Kevin Wager (Chester, Va.) and Tyler Sciacca (Staten Island, N.Y.) to get the ball rolling in the seventh inning, while Szczur, Justin Bencsko (Pompton Plains, N.J.) and Dain Hall (Barrington, Ill.) each delivered run-scoring singles. The final run came home on a sacrifice fly by pinch hitter Scott Buckwalter (York, Pa.).
The only two runs of the game for the Spartans came against reliever Jerry Battipaglia (Katonah, N.Y.) in the bottom of the eighth. Battipaglia entered for Streilein with two on and two out in the bottom of the seventh inning and registered all four of his outs on strikeouts in 1 1/3 innings of work. He allowed a two-run double to Chris Joyce after a pair of singles earlier in the eighth inning, but worked out of trouble by getting called third strikes on two of the next three batters to end the inning.
Sciacca finished the day 2-for-3 with three runs scored and two walks, while Wager had a hit and two runs scored for the Wildcats. Despite it being the season opener, the offensive display looked like a trademark Villanova game. The team drew eight walks, stole six bases without being caught and mixed in four doubles, one sacrifice fly and a hit batter to compile its 13 runs.
Stephen Ostapeck (Sacramento, Calif.) worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning to close out the victory.
The second game of the series is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday, with left-hander Kyle Helisek (Cranberry Township, Pa.) taking the hill for the Wildcats.
NOTES: Streilein tallied 14 swings and misses on the 41 pitches swung at by Norfolk State batters ... His previous career high for strikeouts was nine against Temple in 2007 and Western Michigan in 2008 ... The last pitcher on the Wildcats to record a double-digit strikeout game was Bill Hoffman (10 strikeouts) against Seton Hall on March 31, 2007 ... The 12 strikeouts for Streilein matched the most since Brian Slocum punched out 12 against Duquesne on March 12, 2002 ... The 13 runs for Villanova marked the first time the team had 10+ runs in a season opener under head coach Joe Godri, who is beginning his ninth season as head coach of the team ... Today's game was the 3,000th in program history for the Wildcats, who are the third-oldest college baseball team in the country ... The 2010 season is the 145th of Villanova baseball ... All but three of the Wildcats 17 hits came from players in their freshman or sophomore years of athletic eligibility.