Feb. 21, 2010
NORFOLK, Va. - For the third straight game a starting pitcher did not allow an earned run and Villanova (3-0) completed a three-game sweep of Norfolk State (0-3) on Sunday afternoon with a 10-1 win at Marty L. Miller Field. Kyle McMyne (Old Forge, Pa.) pitched five scoreless innings, Chris Johnson (Shrewsbury, N.J.) had three hits and the Wildcats are 3-0 to begin a season for the first time since 2004.
Along the way to outscoring the Spartans by a 30-6 margin in this weekend's series, Villanova saw its three starting pitchers combine to work 16 2/3 innings without allowing a single earned run. McMyne (1-0, 0.00 ERA) took his turn on Sunday, scattering just four hits and one walk while striking out four and throwing 36 of his 58 pitches for strikes.
On the offensive side, the Wildcats were held to five hits over the first seven innings of the game. That didn't stop them from building a 5-0 lead to that point in the game, however. Villanova scored twice in the top of the third inning and plated three more runs in the fourth against starting pitcher Jordan Egan (0-1, 4.91 ERA), who was a victim of two errors and a passed ball committed by the defense.
Marlon Calbi (Montclair, N.J.) walked and stole second with one out in the third inning and moved up to third on a single by Matt Szczur (Erma, N.J.). With those two runners at the corners the Wildcats combined a successful double steal with a throwing error to have Calbi score and Szczur reach third. Justin Bencsko (Pompton Plains, N.J.) followed with the first of his two sacrifice flies on the day for the second run of the inning.
Villanova batted around in the top of the fourth inning as it broke the game open. After a walk and a single to open the inning, Johnson produced a run-scoring single for the first run of the frame. With the bases loaded and nobody out one batter later, Matt Fleishman (Commack, N.Y.) was safe at home on an error for the second run, while Bencsko was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and two down to force in the third run.
Bencsko was officially 0-for-2 on the day but drove in three runs with his two sacrifice flies and the bases-loaded hit by pitch. Johnson scored two runs to round out his 3-for-4 day and Szczur finished 1-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored.
All of the offense this weekend looked like trademark Wildcat baseball. The team had four more stolen bases on Sunday and finished the weekend 14-for-14 on the base paths. Villanova drew six walks in the series finale as well and was issued 21 free passes in the series.
Julian Diaz (Trenton, N.J.) pitched two scoreless innings while the game was still in reach at 5-0 and Kevin MacLachlan (Matawan, N.J.) made his collegiate debut by pitching the eighth and ninth innings. He allowed a run on one hit but walked none and struck out three while needing just 13 pitches to get through the two frames.
The Wildcats put the game well out of reach with a five-run outburst in the eighth inning. Johnson doubled to lead off the inning and Tyler Sciacca (Staten Island, N.Y.) bunted for a hit. Adam Nelson (St. Joseph, Mo.) followed with a run-scoring double and Villanova added four more runs on a sacrifice fly by Bencsko, a two-run single by Dain Hall (Barrington, Ill.) and an RBI single by Daniel Parham (Broken Arrow, Okla.).
Six of the Wildcats 11 hits came in the final two innings against the Spartans bullpen. Reliever Ryan Davis had held Villanova in check with 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief but then tired in the eighth inning as he began his fourth inning of work. Davis was charged with three hits, three walks and four earned runs in 3 2/3 innings, with three of the runs against him scoring after he left the game.
Shane Hoggard had a run-scoring groundout in the bottom of the eighth inning to bring home the only run of the day for Norfolk State.
Coming up next weekend, the Wildcats will participate for the first time in the BIG EAST-Big Ten Challenge, which will be held from Friday-Sunday in Florida. All three games will be played in the Tampa area and the first contest for Villanova will be against Purdue on Friday at 1 p.m. The contest will be played at the Naimoli Complex in Tampa.
NOTES: The Wildcats also swept the Spartans in a three-game series to start the 2004 season ... The teams have played five series against each other since the 2004 season, with Villanova holding a 13-2 edge in these meetings ... The Wildcats batted .357 as a team with a .462 on-base percentage in the series ... Villanova pitchers walked just seven batters in the three games while striking out 32 ... Bencsko and Wager each had three stolen bases during the weekend.