Feb. 28, 2014
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - In its first of five games in the Sunshine State over the next week Villanova (2-5) came up one run short in a tight pitchers' duel against Nebraska-Omaha (2-4) at North Charlotte Regional Park on Friday afternoon. Two runs crossed the plate for the Mavericks in the top of the second inning and they stood up for a 2-1 victory.
Freshman right fielder Donovan May (Newark, Del.) singled twice and scored the lone Wildcats run in the bottom of the fifth inning but Villanova left the bases loaded in that frame and was unable to find an equalizer the rest of the way. Sophomore shortstop Eric Lowe (Arlington Heights, Ill.) had the only other hit for the Wildcats, who were outhit by an 8-3 margin.
May and Lowe opened the home half of the fifth inning with consecutive singles against Omaha starting pitcher Zach Williamsen, who struck out seven while allowing three hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings. An error committed in right field on the single by Lowe allowed he and May to wind up at second and third with still nobody out in the inning. Sophomore designated hitter Adam Goss (Bellaire, Texas) hit a sacrifice fly to score May and Lowe later advanced to third on a wild pitch.
Redshirt freshman left fielder Mike Mecca (Ridgefield, N.J.) and sophomore third baseman Kevin Jewitt (West Chester, Pa.) each worked the count fill before walking against Williamsen, who departed with the bases loaded and still just one out. Reliever Dylan Casey (1-0, 1.59 ERA) entered and registered two strikeouts to escape the inning with the Mavericks one-run lead still intact.
Villanova sophomore starting pitcher Josh Harris (Streamwood, Ill.) allowed seven hits and two earned runs in 5 1/3 innings, while walking two and striking out three. He gave up consecutive RBI singles to Cole Gruber and Alex Schultz in the top of the second inning but stayed out of trouble from there on. Three relievers for the Wildcats combined to allow just a hit and a walk over 3 2/3 scoreless innings to hold Omaha the rest of the way.
In the top of the second inning Tyler Splichal and Justin Threlkeld singled and Danny Suiter laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third with one out. Harris (0-3, 3.45 ERA) struck out Mark Handberg for the second out before Gruber and Schultz followed with run-scoring singles.
Freshman left-hander Hunter Schryver (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) entered the game with runners at first and second with one out in the top of the sixth inning and induced a double play to get out of the inning. He also pitched a perfect seventh inning and was followed by junior Matt Lengel (Devon, Pa.) and senior Matt Meurer (Katy, Texas), who each tossed a scoreless inning.
Villanova next takes on Boston College at Noon on Saturday, with junior righty Max Almonte (Long Beach, N.Y.) scheduled to make the start.