Feb. 25, 2011
DURHAM, N.C. - Junior right-hander Kyle McMyne (Old Forge, Pa.) recovered from a big second inning to pitch effectively through the sixth but Villanova (2-2) dropped a 6-1 decision in the opener of a three-game series versus Duke (5-1) at Jack Coombs Field on Friday afternoon. All six runs for the Blue Devils came in the bottom of the second inning before the Wildcats allowed just four harmless singles the rest of the way.
Villanova at the plate, however, managed just four singles all afternoon against two Duke pitchers that combined to shut down an offense which totaled 40 hits in three games last weekend. Junior shortstop Marlon Calbi (Montclair, N.J.) went 2-for-3 and scored the team's only run in the top of the sixth inning.
McMyne (1-1, 6.55 ERA) got into a jam quickly in the bottom of the second inning with runners at second and third and nobody out. A groundout for the first out of the inning scored one run before a walk and a hit batter loaded the bases with still just one out. Angelo LaBruna hit a groundball to second which failed to yield any outs when a throw to second base was too late to get the runner advancing from first. A second run scored and the play was ruled a fielder's choice on the throw to second.
Leadoff man Marcus Stroman then struck out for the second out of the inning but Chris Marconcini unloaded the bases with a three-run triple prior to scoring himself on a base hit by Will Piwnica-Worms to end the rally with four two-out runs. Nine men came to the plate for the Blue Devils in the inning and only three hits were needed to produce all of the team's runs for the game.
The offense was more than enough support for Chase Bebout (1-0, 0.71 ERA), who did not allow a hit until Calbi reached on an infield single to second base in the top of the sixth inning. Bebout retired 15 of the first 17 batters he faced through five innings but Calbi's hit was followed by another single from junior left fielder Andrew Geenen (Portola Valley, Calif.).
A sacrifice by junior center fielder Jordan Zech (Naples, Fla.) moved both runners into scoring position and junior right fielder Matt Fleishman (East Northport, N.Y.) scored a run with an RBI groundout. Senior second baseman Dain Hall (Barrington, Ill.) eventually flied out with the bases loaded to end the Wildcats most productive offensive inning.
Bebout allowed just the two hits and one run over seven innings while walking two and striking out four.
Following the second inning McMyne rounded back into form and wound up allowing six hits and also striking out six in six innings of work. Through his first two starts of the season he has held opposing hitters to a .220 batting average against him while striking out 13 in 11.0 innings of work. Junior reliever Jerry Battipaglia (Katonah, N.Y.) threw two scoreless innings of relief with a hit, two walks and three strikeouts.
The series continues on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. when two left-handers face each other. Junior Kyle Helisek (Cranberry Township, Pa.) takes the hill for Villanova and will be opposed by Eric Pfisterer of Duke.
NOTES: Geenen is the only Wildcat with at least one hit in all four games this season ... Fleishman and senior third baseman David Koczirka (Thornton, Pa.) had each hit in the first three games of the year ... McMyne surpassed 100 career innings pitched during his start ... He and Battipaglia held the Blue Devils to going 2-for-11 (.182) with runners in scoring position ... Junior catcher Adam Nelson (St. Joseph, Mo.) threw out a pair of would-be base stealers ... He has cut down 14-of-32 (44%) runners trying to steal since the beginning of last season.