Wildcats Edged by Boston College 10-9
March 7, 2007
PALM BEACH, Fla. - Playing on getaway day against a former BIG EAST rival, Villanova (6-5) rallied twice to tie the game before ultimately being defeated 10-9 by Boston College (2-6) on Wednesday at the Santaluces Sports Complex. The Wildcats finished their annual trip to Florida with a 3-2 record, including a pair of wins over Mount St. Mary's and a victory over Maine.
Villanova faced a bit of its own medicine at the outset, as the Eagles scored four times in the bottom of the first inning for an early 4-0 lead. The Wildcats had not allowed a first inning run through 10 games this season and were outscoring the opposition 20-1 in the first two innings of their first four games on the Florida trip.
Eric Campbell hit a two-run double to start the first-inning rally for Boston College, while Tony Sanchez and Michael Belfiore each had run-scoring hits. Villanova starter Ryan Wendler (Conshohocken, Pa.) navigated through the next four innings allowing just one additional run, with that coming on a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning.
The Wildcats got a run back in the top of the second inning when Dan Terpak (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) led off with a double and eventually scored on a hit up the middle by Ryan Arcadia (Upper Saddle River, N.J.). Terpak had advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Joe Rosati (Havertown, Pa.), while Joe Cotter (Pottstown, Pa.) kept the inning going with a full-count walk one pitch ahead of Arcadia's hit.
Wendler allowed six hits and five earned runs in five innings, walking four and striking out four in his first start of the season. He allowed just two hits, one walk and no runs with three strikeouts over his last four innings of work. Villanova got its chance to get back in the game after that second inning, but stranded five runners on base through the first four innings and drew no closer than three runs despite limiting the Eagles over the next four innings.
The Wildcats did finally cut into the deficit in the top of the sixth inning. Terpak homered after there were two outs and nobody on to put a two-run rally in motion. Rosati singled and Tim Poydenis (Vero Beach, Fla.) followed with an RBI double off the fence in left-center field.
Boston College starter Nate Jeanes got off to a strong start, a critical factor in limiting a jumpstart Wildcat offense that is averaging more than 10 hits per game over the last eight contests. He struck out the side in the first inning around two-out singles by Derek Shunk (Yardley, Pa.) and Jim Gillin (Broomall, Pa.).
Jeanes was finally chased in the seventh inning in the midst of another rally by Villanova with two outs and nobody on. Shunk doubled down the left field line for his second hit of the game. With James Dolbier (Lebanon, N.J.) on deck and the possibility of a lefty-lefty matchup looming, Gillin stroked a 2-and-0 pitch through the left side to score Shunk, chasing Jeanes and pulling the Wildcats to within 5-4.
The Eagles still got their matchup, as southpaw Michael Belfiore moved over to the mound from first base. After getting ahead in the count 0-and-2, however, Belfiore was greeted with a stand-up triple to left-center by Dolbier, scoring Gillin and tying the game. Terpak followed with his third extra-base hit of the game, a double to the same spot in left-center that gave Villanova its first lead of the game at 6-5. Rosati singled home Terpak to make the score 7-5 and cap what turned into a six-run rally in the sixth and seventh innings.
Boston College had their own answer in the bottom half of the inning, when Sanchez hit an RBI double and Peter Frates singled home the tying and go-ahead runs to put the Eagles ahead 8-7. Jared McGuire added an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth to provide Boston College with an insurance run.
The Wildcats still had a rally left in them, however, as James Dolbier (Lebanon, N.J.) singled with one out in the ninth to get Villanova going. With two outs, Rosati doubled home Dolbier and Poydenis tripled home Rosati with the tying run before Boston College reliever Terry Doyle escaped the inning on a ground ball.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, the Eagles had the final answer, as Frates reached with one out on a third-strike wild pitch. He stole second and, after an intentional walk, pinch-hitter John Spatola singled down the right field line to win the game for Boston College.
After five games in the Sunshine State, the Wildcats now return home to host the Villanova Baseball Classic this weekend. Villanova will host Iona on Friday at 2:30 p.m. and on Sunday at Noon. The Wildcats also play Cornell on Saturday at Noon.
NOTES: Shunk's single in the first inning extended his hitting streak to eight games ... Poydenis had a diving stop up the middle in the bottom of the sixth inning to rob Boston College of a hit ... The play came in the midst of a 1-2-3 inning pitched by freshman Brian Streilein (Staten Island, N.Y.) in his first inning of work on the day.