March 2, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - After waiting out two straight starts which were cancelled due to rain senior starting pitcher Stephen Ostapeck (Sacramento, Calif.) made his season debut and looked sharp through 4 2/3 innings despite an eventual 7-0 loss for Villanova (1-5) to No. 6 Florida State (9-0) at Dick Howser Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Ostapeck (0-1, 5.79 ERA) was in command early in the game and went head-to-head with Seminoles starting pitcher Scott Sitz (2-0, 0.00) in a game that remained scoreless until there were two outs in the bottom of the third inning. Sitz and two relievers combined on a four-hit shutout as Florida State won the second game of this weekend's three-game set.
Senior center fielder Paul Rambaud (Chicago, Ill.) led off the first and sixth innings with singles for the Wildcats, including a well-executed bunt to start the top of the sixth. He also had two stolen bases in the game, while junior catcher John Cialone (Houston, Texas) and junior right fielder Connor Jones (Chandler, Ariz.) had the other two Villanova hits.
All of the scoring in the game took place in three innings. A pair of two-out runs in both the third and fifth innings helped the Seminoles take a 4-0 lead, while three runs in the bottom half of the seventh inning stretched the final margin. Florida State left fielder Marcus Davis hit a pair of run-scoring doubles and finished the game 3-for-4 with three runs scored. He was the only player with more than one run scored or run batted in.
Ostapeck wound up being charged with four runs on five hits 4 2/3 innings but one of those runs was unearned and another scored after he left the game. In the meantime Ostapeck stayed out of big trouble by limiting the number of base runners against him. After yielding leadoff hits in each of the first two innings he retired the next three batters to keep the Seminoles off the board.
In the bottom of the third inning John Sansone led off with a single and there was later a runner at second with two outs when Davis doubled home the first run of the game. A fielding error on the next play allowed Davis to score and put Florida State in front 2-0 before a fly ball ended the inning. Ostapeck issued a one-out walk in the fourth inning but then avoided a jam by inducing an inning-ending 6-6-3 double play.
Sansone drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the fifth inning and stayed at first until scoring on Davis' second two-out RBI double. Davis hit the ball into the gap in right-center field and Sansone narrowly beat a throw to the plate. Ostapeck was lifted after a hit batter and a walk loaded the bases, and Davis was forced home on another walk by senior reliever Matt Longfield (Miami, Fla.) before a groundout ended the inning with the bases left full.
Sophomore reliever JB Kole (Basking Ridge, N.J.) went the final three innings for the Wildcats and allowed three earned runs on four hits while walking two and striking out one. He only ran into trouble in the seventh inning, when the first three batters of the inning reached base safely and eventually came around to score. Kole otherwise stayed out of any trouble in the sixth and eighth innings to pitch scoreless frames.
Villanova had all it could handle during its own times at the plate from Sitz, who struck out nine and allowed just three hits in six scoreless innings. Relievers Bryant Holtmann and Gage Smith combined to pitch the final three innings to close out the game.
The final game of this weekend's series is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Sunday, when sophomore left-hander Josh Harris (Streamwood, Ill.) pitches for the Wildcats against Seminoles right-hander Peter Miller.