March 4, 2011
WILMINGTON, N.C. - Junior right-hander Kyle McMyne (Old Forge, Pa.) had 10 strikeouts over seven strong innings and senior closer Mike Francisco (Newtown Square, Pa.) induced a game-ending double play with the potential tying run at third base as Villanova (4-5) put together perhaps its best effort of the young season in a 4-3 victory at UNC-Wilmington (4-5) at Brooks Field on Friday afternoon.
The game was close the entire way and the Wildcats manufactured two runs in the top of the seventh inning to take their first and only lead of the game at 4-2. After that, Villanova did enough to preserve the lead and Francisco saved his second one-run game of the year.
McMyne (2-1, 4.50 ERA) allowed just five hits and one unearned run through seven innings, while walking three and notching his second career double-digit strikeout game. Francisco registered the final five outs, allowing an inherited runner to score but then settling down to secure the game's outcome.
Jake Koenig walked to lead off the ninth inning but was still at first with one out after a failed sacrifice bunt attempt. Cameron Cockman singled to move pinch runner Dakota Piver with still just one away but Francisco then got ahead of Alex Hill 1-and-2 before a groundball to shortstop started the game-ending double play.
Twice in the early innings the Wildcats overcame a one-run deficit to tie the game against UNC-Wilmington starter Tyler McSwain (0-2, 2.84 ERA). With the score tied 2-2 in the seventh inning, freshman first baseman Connor Jones (Phoenix, Ariz.) drew a leadoff walk and junior catcher Adam Nelson (St. Joseph, Mo.) sacrificed him to second.
One out later, senior second baseman Dain Hall (Barrington, Ill.) singled in pinch runner Kevin Wager (Fairfax, Va.) with the go-ahead run and moved into scoring position himself on a throwing error from the outfield. Junior center fielder Jordan Zech (Naples, Fla.) followed with another single to bring in Hall and account for the decisive margin in the contest.
Hall and Zech had two hits apiece and Villanova mainly got the rest of its offense from the bat of sophomore left fielder Steve Schrenk (Brigantine, N.J.), who tied the game at 1-1 with a solo homer in the top of the fourth inning and then did the same with a sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth.
Junior right fielder Matt Fleishman (East Northport, N.Y.) led off the sixth inning with a double to left field, took third on a fly out by senior third baseman David Koczirka (Thornton, Pa.) and then came in on Schrenk's sacrifice fly to right.
Cockman led the Seahawks offensively with a 3-for-5 day, including a home run leading off the bottom of the first inning which was the only earned run off of McMyne all day. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Koenig led off with a single and eventually scored an unearned run on a wild pitch as the Wildcats escaped a bases-loaded, none-out jam with minimal damage.
The hit by Koenig leading off the fifth was followed by a bunt single from Michael Bass, while everyone was safe on a bunt attempt by Cockman when a throw for a force-out was dropped at third base. That left the bases full with nobody out but McMyne worked hard to prevent a big inning from developing. He struck out Hill for the first out, then after the wild pitch induced consecutive groundouts to end the inning.
Villanova has one game remaining on its seven-game Spring Break trip to North Carolina and it will face Holy Cross on Saturday at Noon at Brooks Field, with junior lefty Kyle Helisek (Cranberry Township, Pa.) on the hill.
NOTES: Despite going just 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position in the game, the Wildcats advanced runners on 10-of-18 opportunities to give themselves a chance to score runs with a station-to-station offense ... UNC-Wilmington, meanwhile, was only 5-of-19 in advancing runners and went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position ... Francisco notched his 13th career save to take sole possession of fifth place in school history, one behind Brian Manning (1998-00) in fourth place with 14 stops ... Francisco also made his 61st career appearance to tie Nick Allen (2002-05) for seventh place in the Villanova record book, two behind Gus Guida (2005-08) for sixth place.