Late Game Heroics Lift Villanova Baseball to Sixth Straight Victory
March 5, 2004
PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA. - Senior first baseman Adrian Schau singled in Brian Newbold with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning to break a 3-3 tie and lift the Villanova baseball team to a 4-3 victory over Army in game one of the Villanova Baseball Classic on Friday, at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth. Junior right-hander Mike Grodecki sealed the game in the ninth inning by striking out David Plotts to end the contest and give the Wildcats a win in their 2004 home opener. It was the sixth straight win for the `Cats, who improved to 9-3 overall on the season. The Black Knights fell to 4-3-0 overall on the year with Friday afternoon's loss.
The Wildcats scored first on Friday, marking the 10th time in 12 games this season that they have done so. Villanova put one run on the board in the bottom of the second inning off to Army starter Justin Kashner to take an early 1-0 advantage. Second baseman Mark Cardillo hit into an RBI fielder's choice with the bases loaded to knock in Schau with the first run of the game.
The Black Knights fought back with a run of their own in the top of the third inning to tie the contest at 1-1. Leftfielder Milan Dinga hit a sacrifice fly with one out in the third to plate shortstop Kyle Scogin, who was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning.
The `Cats would not sit still for long. Villanova reclaimed the lead, 3-1, putting two more runs on the board in the bottom of the third inning. Third baseman Angelo Petracca and rightfielder Alan Day singled to lead off the frame and each advanced a base on a passed ball by Army catcher Schuyler Williamson. The Wildcats pulled ahead, 2-1, on an RBI groundout by designated hitter Danny Poydenis. Later in the inning, Villanova added another run on a sacrifice fly by Newbold to make it a 3-1 game.
Wildcat starter Nick Allen sailed through the first six innings, allowing just two hits and holding the Black Knights scoreless. After retiring the first two batters in the seventh, Allan ran into trouble. He allowed two consecutive two out hits and hit a batter to load the bases. Grodecki came on in relief of Allen and surrendered a game-tying two run single to Dinga on a 3-2 count, as Arm knotted the score at 3-3.
With the game still tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning, the `Cats offense went to work. Newbold earned a two-out walk for the Wildcats' first baserunner of the inning. He then stole second putting a runner in scoring position for the Wildcats and giving Schau the chance to put Villanova ahead. Schau took advantage, lining a 2-2 pitch into right field to score Newbold with the go-ahead run giving the `Cats a 4-3 lead.
The Black Knights had the tying run at second base with two outs in the top of the ninth inning, when pinch hitter David Plotts stepped up to the plate to face Grodecki. Grodecki caught Plotts looking on a 2-2 curveball, stranding the would-be tying run and giving Villanova the 4-3 victory.
Grodecki (1-1) got the win on the mound for the Wildcats pitching two and one-third scoreless innings and allowed just two hits while striking out three. Allen got a no decision despite pitching well once again for the `Cats. He gave up three runs on four hits in six and two-third innings, striking out two and walking one.
Logan took the loss for Army, surrendering one run on two hits in one and two-thirds innings of relief. His record falls to 0-1 on the year with the loss.
Offensively for Villanova, Schau went two-for-four with a run scored and the game-winning RBI. Catcher Jim Gillin and Day also had two hits apiece for the `Cats.
At the plate for the Black Knights, Dinga was one-for-three with three RBI.
The Wildcats will get back into action on Saturday, March 6th, hosting Cornell in game two of the Villanova Baseball Classic at noon at the Ballpark at Plymouth. The game can be heard live via internet audiocast on www.villanova.com.