March 6, 2013
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - In the final game of its Spring Break trip Villanova (1-8) was defeated 7-2 by Northeastern (7-4) at North Charlotte Regional Park on Wednesday afternoon. Most of the scoring for both team's took place in the second inning, when the Huskies scored six times to take a lead that would stand up for the rest of the game.
Michael Foster hit a grand slam with two outs in the top of the second inning after Northeastern had already scored twice in the frame. The big inning put the Wildcats into a 6-0 hole but Villanova got two runs back in the bottom half of the frame to quickly get back to within 6-2. From that point on the only other run in the game was a single tally by the Huskies in the top of the fifth inning.
Junior right fielder Connor Jones (Chandler, Ariz.) went 2-for-4 to lead Villanova offensively, including his fifth double of the season. Senior catcher Brandon Clark (Spring, Texas) and senior shortstop Tyler Sciacca (Staten Island, N.Y.) also reached base twice for the Wildcats, who had six hits and drew four walks in the game.
All of the damage for Northeastern in the top of the second inning came against junior Matt Meurer (Katy, Texas), who moved from the bullpen to make his first start in a Villanova uniform. Meurer (0-2) allowed five hits and six runs (five earned) in four innings, while relievers Jeff Courter (Maple Glen, Pa.) and Matt Longfield (Miami, Fla.) combined to allow just one run on two hits from the fifth inning on.
Meurer retired the side in order in the first inning but Brad Bucroff singled to open the top half of the second and Connor Lyons drew a walk. A double by Rob Fonseca plated the first two runs of the inning and the Huskies later had the bases loaded with one out. Meurer induced Northeastern leadoff hitter Aaron Barbosa into hitting a groundball to first base which enabled a force-out at the plate for the second out of the inning. Foster was up next and he hit the first pitch he saw for a grand slam which gave the Huskies some breathing room.
In the bottom half of the inning Clark walked with one out and senior left fielder Steve Schrenk (Brigantine, N.J.) singled to move him into scoring position. A wild pitch moved the runners up to second and third and an RBI groundout by freshman first baseman Max Beermann (Tampa, Fla.) got Villanova on the scoreboard. Freshman second baseman Eric Lowe (Arlington Heights, Ill.) followed Beermann and bunted for a single to account for the second Wildcats run.
Foster was a linchpin for the Northeastern offense in the fifth inning, when he led off with a single and stole second base before eventually scoring with two outs when Lyons singled up the middle. That inning was the only blemish on Courter's line for the day, as he allowed one run on two hits while walking one and striking out one in four innings.
In the top of the ninth inning Longfield relieved Courter and pitched a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts. He leads the team with six appearances this season and has faced 15 batters without allowing a hit. Longfield has struck out four and not allowed an earned run in 3 1/3 innings.
The five-game trip to Florida provided Villanova with a respite from the constant weather watching that took place during the first two weekends of the season. The forecast will be in play for the Wildcats again this weekend, as the team is scheduled to open its home schedule on Friday afternoon against Iona at 2:15 p.m.