March 9, 2013
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - Junior starting pitcher Pat Young (The Woodlands, Texas) allowed just three hits over seven innings and had a career-high 11 strikeouts in a 5-2 win for Villanova (2-8) over Iona (2-9) in the first game of a doubleheader at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth on Saturday. The start of this weekend's Villanova Baseball Classic was also the home opener for the Wildcats, who scored four times in the bottom of the eighth inning to win their second game of the season.
Freshman pinch hitter Adam Goss (Bellaire, Texas) tied the game with an RBI double in the bottom of the eighth inning and scored the eventual winning run on a passed ball later in the inning. His run put Villanova ahead 3-2 in a tight affair and senior left fielder Steve Schrenk (Brigantine, N.J.) added some welcome insurance with a two-run single to close the scoring.
Young and Gaels starting pitcher Eddie Macaluso each allowed one earned run in seven innings of a good pitchers' duel and junior reliever Chris Haggarty (Valley Stream, N.Y.) allowed just an unearned run in two innings of relief to earn his first career victory. Haggarty (1-0, 1.04 ERA) struck out three batters and combined with Young to give the Wildcats a season high 14 strikeouts on the mound.
Six different players chipped in towards the seven-hit total for Villanova, which took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning only to have Iona get that tally back in the top of the fourth and even the score at one run apiece.
The game remained in a 1-1 deadlock until the Gaels scored in the top of the eighth inning but Haggarty struck out Iona right fielder Joe Smith to end the inning and strand two runners in scoring position. Young and Haggarty limited the Gaels to going 1-for-7 with runners on base and Iona had just four at-bats the entire game with a runner in scoring position.
Young missed bats all day long and nine of the 11 strikeouts he recorded came on swinging third strikes. He ran into potential trouble in the sixth inning after a two-out single by Jimmy Guiliano followed by a pair of walks loaded the bases in a 1-1 game. Young struck out Smith with the bases loaded to end the inning and then pitched a 1-2-3 seventh with two more strikeouts for good measure.
In the top of the eighth inning Gaels leadoff hitter Joe Torres greeted Haggarty with a single and he eventually made it all the way around the bases thanks to a stolen base, a passed ball and a sacrifice fly to short left field. His run gave Iona a short-lived 2-1 lead and that advantage wound up being the Gaels only lead of the day.
Senior center fielder Paul Rambaud (Chicago, Ill.) led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a single to right-center field, stole second with one out and scored when Goss dropped a double which fell behind the defense in left-center field. Senior shortstop Tyler Sciacca (Staten Island, N.Y.) moved Goss to third base with a groundout and sophomore right fielder Connor Jones (Chandler, Ariz.) was intentionally walked before a passed ball allowed Goss to score the go-ahead run.
Sophomore pinch hitter Brandon Carr (Danville, Calif.) reached on an error to extend the inning and Schrenk followed with a single up the middle which scored two more runs against Iona reliever Conan Leon (0-1, 1.59 ERA).
Earlier in the game the Wildcats manufactured a run in the bottom of the third inning to take a 1-0 lead. Freshman third baseman Kevin Jewitt (West Chester, Pa.) led off with a single, Rambaud was hit by a pitch and freshman second baseman Eric Lowe (Arlington Heights, Ill.) sacrificed the runners into scoring position. Sophomore designated hitter B.J. Bochicchio (Moosic, Pa.) followed with a run-scoring single to drive in Jewitt with the game's first run.
In the top of the fourth inning Matt Kriss drew a walk with two outs and nobody on for Iona and stole second ahead of an RBI single by Matt Hratko, who was on base four times in the game and finished 2-for-2 with the RBI as well as two walks.
Villanova went on to win the second game of the doubleheader by a 3-1 score. The weekend tournament concludes on Sunday afternoon when the Wildcats host Central Connecticut at 1:15 p.m.
NOTES: The previous career high strikeout total for Young was nine, which came against Norfolk State on February 24, 2012 ... Young reached 100 career strikeouts when he fanned Smith to end the fourth inning ... He now has 106 strikeouts in 147 1/3 career innings, spanning 32 appearances (24 starts) ... The 11 strikeouts for Young are the most by a Villanova pitcher since Kyle McMyne also had 11 in a game against Pittsburgh on April 18, 2010 ... Rambaud had two stolen bases for the second time this season and the fourth time in his career ... Macaluso pitched against the Wildcats for the second time in his career and previously threw a complete game against Villanova in a 13-3 victory as a freshman two years ago ... Since the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth opened in 2003 the Wildcats are 10-1 in home openers.