March 7, 2014
MERION STATION, Pa. - Junior starting pitcher Josh Harris (Streamwood, Ill.) picked up his first win of the season, freshman designated hitter Brian Trabulsi (Malverne, N.Y.) drove in three runs and sophomore first baseman Max Beermann (Tampa, Fla.) crushed a long home run as Villanova (3-9) defeated Saint Joseph's (3-4) at Smithson Field on Friday afternoon.
Beermann hit his first home run of the season far over the right-center field fence to tie the score at 1-1 in the top of the fourth and Trabulsi lined a two-run single to left field later in the inning to give the Wildcats a 3-1 lead. Villanova led the rest of the way and used a five-run seventh inning to put the game out of reach.
The left-handed duo of Harris (1-3, 3.74 ERA) and senior reliever Matt Meurer (Katy, Texas) combined on a seven-hitter, with Meurer going four innings out of the pen to pick up his second save of the year. Harris walked four and struck out two while giving up just two hits and two runs (one unearned) to the Hawks in five-plus innings. He departed after a leadoff single by Collin Forgey in the sixth and Meurer later allowed Forgey to score on a sacrifice fly before escaping the inning with two runners stranded.
Saint Joseph's took a 1-0 lead with an unearned run in the bottom of the second inning. Harris issued consecutive walks to start the inning but struck out Kevin Kratochwill on a called third strike for the first out. Taylor Boyd followed by bouncing into a fielder's choice to the third baseman, with an out being record at second. The relay throw to first base was got away and a run scored on the play.
Freshman right fielder Donovan May (Newark, Del.) followed the Beermann home run in the fourth inning with a one-out single to right. Sophomore catcher Emmanuel Morris (Willowbrook, Ill.) and sophomore left fielder Adam Goss (Bellaire, Texas) each walked with two outs and Trabulsi greeted reliever Matt Haskins with a hard-hit, two-run single to left. Trabulsi quickly fell behind 0-2 before working the count full and waiting for a pitch he could drive.
Nine pitchers for the Hawks combined to issue 12 walks and hit two batters in the game. Seven of the free passes came in the two innings in which the Wildcats scored all their runs. Senior center fielder Connor Jones (Chandler, Ariz.) walked to lead off the seventh inning with Villanova clinging to a 3-2 lead and freshman second baseman Todd Czinege (Overland Park, Kan.) sacrificed him to second.
Beermann and May were each hit by a pitch to load the bases and Jones was forced in on a balk to make the score 4-2. With two outs in the inning Morris hit a slow grounder to third and beat the throw to first for an RBI single. The throw got away from first base and the error allowed May to follow Beermann home and push the lead to 6-2. Goss walked to reload the bases and both Trabulsi and sophomore third baseman Kevin Jewitt (West Chester, Pa.) followed with RBI singles to pile on to the lead.
Goss was on base four times in the game with a single and three walks and Trabulsi finished 2-for-4 with three RBI. Beermann, May and Morris combined for three hits and six runs scored from the lower part of the batting order.
Joe Manion (1-2, 9.00 ERA) was the third Saint Joseph's pitcher and allowed three hits, three earned runs and two walks in 1 2/3 innings. He surrendered the home run to Beermann and was also charged with the runs that scored on Trabulsi's two-run single in the fourth inning.
Villanova returns to action tomorrow at 2:45 p.m. when it takes on Temple at Smithson Field.
NOTES: Friday's contest was the first of three that the Wildcats will play this weekend on the Saint Joseph's campus ... Villanova is playing a modified version of its Villanova Baseball Classic due to the weather and related field conditions ... The Wildcats are 83-30-4 (.726) all-time versus the Hawks ... The teams have met at least once every season since 1954 ... In Saturday's contest against the Owls, the Wildcats will be the home team and will occupy the first base dugout ... Villanova used just 11 players in the win over Saint Joseph's ... Harris and Meurer were the only two pitchers used and the Wildcats did not make an offensive substation in the game ... Beermann led the team with six home runs last season.