LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Eight of the nine batters in the lineup reached base safely at least once as the Villanova (3-2) offense continued to produce, but a quick start by USC (5-1) was too much to overcome as the Wildcats lost the second game of a three-game series, 12-6, at Dedeaux Field on Saturday afternoon. Villanova had eight hits and drew eight walks in the game, while reaching base two other times on hit batters.
Sophomore third baseman John Heilenbach (Western Springs, Ill.) was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a run batted in, while sophomore second baseman Timothy Lilly (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) drove in three runs. Sophomore first baseman Ryan Toohers (Florham Park, N.J.) and junior designated hitter JP Radvany (Lawrenceville, N.J.) each were on base three times with a single and two walks.
The host Trojans plated five runs in the bottom of the first inning thanks in part to a one-out grand slam by Blake Sabol which opened the scoring. After the Wildcats got on the board with a single run in the top of the second inning, USC added three more runs in the bottom half to build what proved to be an insurmountable advantage.
Villanova got going in the second inning when Radvany drew an eight-pitch walk and Lilly was hit by a pitch. They each moved up a base on a wild pitch and Radvany scored on another wild pitch with two outs. The first Wildcats hit of the game didn't come until Heilenbach lined a single to right field with one out in the top of the fourth. Radvany followed with a single and then Lilly drove an 0-1 pitch deep into the gap in left-center field to bring home two runs.
The double by Lilly pulled Villanova to within 8-3, but the Trojans scored four times in the bottom half of the inning to extend the margin to 12-3. USC was eventually held off the scoreboard by Wildcats pitching in their final four turns at the plate. That included stranding the bases loaded in both the seventh and eighth innings.
Heilenbach drew a bases-loaded walk in the top of the fifth inning to force in a run and Villanova scored twice in the ninth inning via the same route. Senior center fielder David Gulati (Collegeville, Pa.) led off the ninth with a walk and was still at first base with two outs when Heilenbach doubled down the left field line to keep the game going. Trojans reliever John Beller then walked the next three batters, first Radvany to load the bases followed by Lilly and junior catcher Doug deMarrais (Bernardsville, N.J.) to bring runs home.
Senior left-handed pitcher Mike Sgaramella (Florham Park, N.J.) started and took the loss, while three relievers combined to go the final six innings. Junior righty Zach Lutner (Sicklerville, N.J.) pitched two scoreless innings in the sixth and seventh and sophomore southpaw Tyler Arella (East Northport, N.Y.) pitched a scoreless bottom of the eighth.
The game was not without its memorable defensive plays, as Gulati made a leaping catch to start the bottom of the fourth inning and junior right fielder Cole Channell (Naperville, Ill.) robbed USC third baseman Chase Bushor of a home run on a sensational play to end the same inning. Watch Channell's home-run robbing catch in right field
This weekend's three-game series concludes on Sunday when senior right-hander Ryan Doty (Rye, N.Y.) opposes Kyle Hurt. First pitch is at 4 p.m. Eastern/1 p.m. Pacific.