March 2, 2003
WILMINGTON, N.C. - On Sunday, March 2, at Brooks Field in Wilmington, N.C., the Villanova baseball team found itself in a pitcher's dual with UNC Wilmington but came up on the short end of a 2-0 final score. Wildcats James Baxter, Mike Ciccotelli and Dan Farino combined to strikeout eight and allowed only two runs on five hits, but Seahawk hurler Jake Mullis outdualed the three `Cats with a three-hit, eight-strikeout complete game shutout. Villanova fell to 1-6 with Sunday's loss, while UNCW improved to 11-5 on the season.
In the bottom of the second inning, the Seahawks took advantage of a Wildcat miscue to open the game's scoring. First baseman Matt Wright doubled to lead off the inning, but was gunned out at third base one batter later by shortstop Brian Trotta on a fielder's choice to shortstop. Second baseman Russ Simmerman, who reached on the fielder's choice, advanced to second on a groundout in the next at-bat and to third on a balk by Villanova starter James Baxter. Simmerman came around to score on a wild pitch by Baxter to give UNCW a 1-0 advantage.
The Seahawks added to their lead in the sixth inning against Ciccotelli, who came on it relief of Baxter one inning earlier. Designated hitter Ronald Hill doubled to left to start the inning, and would advance to third on a groundout by right fielder Jamie Hemingway. With Hill on third with one out, Wright tripled into the gap in right-centerfield to score the runner and extend the UNCW lead to 2-0. Ciccotelli ended the threat , stranding Wright at third base by getting Simmerman to ground back to the mound and pinch hitter Chip Grawey to fly to right field to end the inning.
Mullis allowed only four Villanova baserunners in the game, coming on three Wildcat hits and a Seahawk error. Villanova's best threat came in the top of the seventh inning. Designated hitter Adrian Schau stood at third base with two outs, but Mullis got first baseman Ryan Crammer to ground back to the mound to end the inning.
In the ninth inning, Mullis got the `Cats out in order striking out two of the final three batters to seal the 2-0 UNCW victory. It was the first complete game shutout of the season for Mullis, who struck out eight and did not walk a batter.
Baxter took the loss for Villanova to fall to 0-1. He allowed only one run on three hits in four innings, striking out four and walking two. Ciccotelli came into the game in the fifth and threw three solid innings of relief, striking out three. Farino pitched a scoreless eighth inning striking out one Seahawk batter to help the Wildcat bullpen hold UNCW scoreless in three of its four innings.
Villanova will get back into action on Tuesday, March 4, traveling to Raleigh, N.C., to take on NC State at 6:00 p.m.