PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - Senior starting pitcher Ryan Doty (Rye, N.Y.) was sharp from start to finish in a seven-inning outing but Villanova (3-5) lost a pitchers’ duel to Northeastern (7-3) by a 1-0 score at North Charlotte Regional Park on Sunday afternoon. The lone run of the game scored in the bottom of the fifth inning when the Huskies got consecutive two-out hits to manufacture a run.
Doty (1-2, 3.00 ERA) scattered five hits and just the one run in his seven innings of work, while walking three and striking out four. He escaped jams in the bottom of the first and second innings to keep the game scoreless early on, then settled into a groove where he retired six straight and 10 of 12 before Northeastern broke through after there were two outs and nobody on in the fifth. Doty finished strong after the Huskies scored their run and retired six of the final eight batters he faced.
The bottom of the fifth inning began with Doty getting two outs on two pitches, first on a groundball to third and then on a high chopper to first which sophomore Ryan Toohers (Florham Park, N.J.) made a nice play on. Nolan Lang was up next and worked the count full before lining a single that dropped into shallow right field. Scott Holzwasser followed and drove a ball to the gap in left-center for an RBI triple which scored Lang from first.
Northeastern threatened but failed to score in the bottom of the first inning after Charlie McConnell led off with a double to center and moved to third with one out on a groundout to short. Doty walked Holzwasser but worked out of trouble by getting cleanup hitter Jake Farrell to pop up on the infield and then retiring Max Burt on a groundout to second.
In the second inning, a fielding error and a misjudged fly ball on a single to right field gave the Huskies runners at first and second with one out. Ninth place hitter Mason Koppens bunted down the third base line and nearly beat out an infield hit before settling for a sacrifice bunt which put runners at second and third with two away. McConnell then grounded out back to Doty to end the inning.
Freshman designated hitter Josh Kim (Holland, Pa.) reached base three times in his first career start, going 1-for-2 with a double and two walks. He doubled down the left field line with two outs in the top of the fourth, then drew one-out walks in the seventh and ninth innings as the Wildcats tried to mount a rally. In the seventh, he walked against Northeastern starter Sean Mellen (3-0, 1.42) and freshman shortstop Pat O’Neill (Eagleville, Pa.) singled through the right side to move Kim into scoring position. Mellen struck out the next two batters to finish off the inning before turning the game over to the Huskies bullpen.
Senior center fielder David Gulati (Collegeville, Pa.) reached on an error leading off the eighth inning and Kim drew the walk in the ninth, but Villanova wound up with just four hits on the day against three Northeastern pitchers. Senior catcher Brandon Campos (Middletown, N.Y.) and sophomore third baseman John Heilenbach (Western Springs, Ill.) also had hits in the game.
Doty exited after seven innings and junior reliever Zach Lutner (Sicklerville, N.J.) retired the first two batters in the bottom of the eighth. After a single and a walk set the table for the Huskies to potentially add to their tenuous lead, junior Jason Applegate (Columbus, N.J.) came in and stranded both runners with a groundout to second to end the threat.
Monday is a day off for the Wildcats before they return to North Charlotte Regional Park on Tuesday afternoon for a 12 p.m. game against Western Michigan.