March 2, 2004
HOMESTEAD, FLA. - The Villanova baseball team jumped out to an early four-run lead and held off a late-game rally by the University of Maine to defeat the Black Bears, 4-3, on Tuesday, March 2nd at the Papa John's Homestead Challenge. The Wildcat bullpen was solid once again, shutting down the Maine offense through the final few innings to seal the one-run victory. The `Cats' win was their fourth straight and improved their record to 7-3 overall on the season. The Black Bears fell to 2-2 on the year with Tuesday afternoon's loss.
Villanova scored first for the ninth time in 10 games this season. In the top of the first inning, the Wildcats put two runs on the board off of Maine starter Steve Richard. The `Cats loaded the bases with no outs in the first inning on infield singles by Kris Molloy and Angelo Petracca and a walk by Allan Day. Leftfielder Brian Newbold grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, but Molloy scored on the play to give Villanova a 1-0 lead. The Wildcats added one more run in the inning on a RBI single by first baseman Adrian Schau to take a 2-0 advantage.
In the top of the second inning, the `Cats scored once more to increase their lead to 3-0. Villanova took advantage of a Black Bear error to load the bases, and Day walked to force in a run.
The `Cats capped off their scoring in the top of the fifth inning as shortstop Brian Trotta recorded an RBI single to give Villanova a 4-0 lead.
Wildcat starter Dan Farino shut out Maine through the first five innings of the game, getting out of several jams with double play groundballs.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Black Bears rallied to cut the Villanova lead to 4-2. Maine loaded the bases on a catcher's interference and two singles off of Farino. Junior Nick Allen came on in relief of Farino with the bases loaded and one out. Black Bear outfielder Joe Hough doubled down the right-field line to score two runs and trim the Wildcat lead to 4-2. Allen got out of any further trouble, striking out Aaron Izaryk and getting Mike Ferriggi to ground to short to end the inning.
One inning later, Main added one more run on a line-drive solo home run to right field by Pete Saunders. The Saunder's home run, his first of the season, cut the Villanova advantage to 4-3.
Wildcat left-hander Mike Ciccotelli came out of the bullpen in the eighth inning and pitched a scoreless inning of relief to send the game into the ninth with the `Cats leading 4-3.
In the bottom of the ninth inning with Villanova clinging to a 4-3 advantage, Schau came on with the opportunity close the game out and earn his third save of the season. With two outs, Schau struck out Jason Harvey looking to end the game and give the Wildcats the 4-3 win.
Farino (2-0) got the win on the mound for the `Cats, allowing just two runs (one earned) on six hits in five and one-third innings striking out three and walking one. Ciccotelli held the Bears in check with a scoreless eighth and Schau earned his third save of the year with a 1-2-3 ninth.
Molloy and Petracca each had two hits in the game for Villanova. At the plate for Maine, Hough (2 RBI) and Saunders (1 RBI) accounted for the Black Bear runs.
The Wildcats will wind down play at the Homestead Challenge on Wednesday, March 3rd, playing the Detroit Titans at 10:00 a.m.