March 3, 2012
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - Junior second baseman Tyler Sciacca (Staten Island, N.Y.) needed only five innings to hit for the cycle and Villanova (4-3) opened a six-game stay in Florida with a 20-3 win over Chicago State (0-5) in the Snowbird Classic at North Charlotte Regional Park on Friday afternoon. Sciacca drove in five runs and 12 different batters had at least one hit for the Wildcats, who have exploded for 37 runs on 40 hits in their last two games.
Villanova ran out to a 14-0 lead in the first three innings behind four runs in both the first and second innings followed by a six-run outburst in the third. Sciacca had the big hit in the first inning with a three-run home run and eventually completed his cycle with a run-scoring single in the bottom of the second inning, an RBI triple in the third and finally a double in the fifth inning. He later drew a walk and was not retired in any of his five plate appearances before finishing the day 4-for-4 with two runs scored and the career-high five driven in.
An astounding eight different players scored two or more runs for the Wildcats, with senior shortstop Marlon Calbi (Montclair, N.J.) and senior third baseman Kevin Wager (Holden, Mo.) combining for three hits and six runs scored in the top two spots in the lineup. Senior left fielder Matt Fleishman (East Northport, N.Y.) went 2-for-2 with two runs scored and three RBI, senior center fielder Jordan Zech (Naples, Fla.) had three hits with two runs scored and an RBI and junior right fielder Paul Rambaud (Chicago, Ill.) hit his first collegiate home run.
With the outcome of the game never in doubt Villanova ran out five different pitchers and kept senior starter Kyle Helisek (Cranberry Township, Pa.) on a pitch count so that he can start again during the current road trip. Helisek (1-1, 6.14 ERA) allowed just one hit and struck out four over three scoreless innings in his second start of the season. Sophomore lefty Matthew Meurer (Katy, Texas) struck out four over two innings of relief and behind him the trio of senior Julian Diaz (Trenton, N.J.) and juniors Matt Longfield (Miami, Fla.) and Kevin MacLachlan (Matawan, N.J.) combined to pitch four hitless innings with a total of four strikeouts. The five pitchers used by the Wildcats combined to allow just three hits while registering a season-high 12 strikeouts.
Villanova got started offensively right out of the gates when Calbi doubled to lead off the bottom of the first inning and Wager followed with a single that moved him up to third. Fleishman hit a sacrifice fly to score Calbi with the game's first run and, following a one-out walk to sophomore right fielder Connor Jones (Chandler, Ariz.), Sciacca drove the first pitch he saw over the fence in left-center field for his second career home run.
Fleishman and Sciacca each had run-scoring hits in the second inning and Jones delivered a two-run single as part of the six-run third inning, in the process extending his hitting streak to eight games. When all was said and done the top five spots in the Wildcats lineup combined to go 13-for-21 (.619) with 16 runs scored and 15 RBI in the game.
Cougars first baseman Jeremy Ratajczyk hit a two-run home run in the top of the fourth inning to get Chicago State on the board, while Mattingly Romanin and Albert Carpen each had a hit and a run scored in the contest. Starting pitcher Andrew Wellwerts (0-1, 14.40 ERA) allowed nine hits and 10 runs (eight earned) in 2 1/3 innings to take the loss.
Villanova returns to the field to play Northwestern at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. The contest will be played at South County Regional Park and sophomore Pat Young (The Woodlands, Texas) will be on the mound for the Wildcats, who are the visiting team in Saturday's game. Northwestern, also nicknamed the Wildcats, lost by a final score of 4-1 to Western Michigan on Friday afternoon.
NOTES: Sciacca is the first Villanova batter to hit for the cycle since Matt Szczur did so in a 17-10 win at Temple on April 27, 2010 ... No other Wildcats have accomplished the feat in the 11-year head coaching tenure of Joe Godri ... Friday's win was the 35th of Godri's career to come in the state of Florida.