Feb. 28, 2010
CLEARWATER, Fla. - In its final game of the BIG EAST-Big Ten Challenge, Villanova (5-1) suffered its first loss of the season, 11-2, to Iowa (3-2) on Sunday afternoon at Jack Russell Stadium. The big blows in the contest came during a five-run frame for the Hawkeyes in the top of the fourth inning. The Wildcats won two of their three games in this weekend's tournament.
Villanova trailed 2-1 after three innings before Iowa broke the score open with its big fourth inning. Trevor Willis scored on a wild pitch ahead of run-scoring singles by Kurt Lee and Kurtis Muller. One batter after Muller's single forged a 5-1 lead for the Hawkeyes, Ryan Durant hit a two-run home run that just curled around the foul pole down the left field line.
Once Iowa had the lead, all the breaks seemed to go their way. In addition to Durant's home run, Sean Flanagan hit a solo shot in the seventh inning that caromed off the top of the right-center field fence and over the wall. Three runs in the seventh for the Hawkeyes put the game out of reach for the Wildcats, who still had 14 hitters reach base safely despite only scoring two runs.
Dain Hall (Barrington, Ill.) and David Koczirka (Thornton, Pa.) had two hits apiece for Villanova, which totaled 10 hits, three walks and one hit batter. Down 2-0 in the bottom of the third inning, the Wildcats led off with a single from Matt Szczur (Erma, N.J.), who took second on a sacrifice bunt by Justin Bencsko (Pompton Plains, N.J.) and third on a groundout by Hall. A balk called against Iowa starter Zach Robertson (2-0, 6.43 ERA) allowed Szczur to score the first run of the game for Villanova.
The Wildcats added another run in the bottom of the sixth inning when Koczirka led off with a double, Adam Nelson (St. Joseph, Mo.) singled and Tyler Sciacca (Staten Island, N.Y.) delivered a sacrifice fly.
Starting pitcher Kyle McMyne (Old Forge, Pa.) took the loss for Villanova, going 3 2/3 innings and allowing seven runs, of which six were earned. McMyne (1-1, 6.43 ERA) allowed 10 hits and a walk while striking out three. Left-handed reliever Christian Culicerto (Charlotte, N.C.) eventually worked two scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth to close out the game.
Durant was 4-for-5 with a run scored and three RBI for the Hawkeyes, while Muller finished with three hits, two runs scored and two driven in. Robertson worked 5 1/3 innings and surrendered six hits, two earned runs and three walks with four strikeouts.
Villanova will face Duquesne at 11 a.m. on Monday in the first of five games the Wildcats will play this week at Chain of Lakes Stadium in Winter Haven.