March 10, 2006
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - After trailing by four runs early on, the Wildcats first lead was the only one they needed on Friday afternoon, as Villanova (7-5) defeated Cornell (1-4) 7-5 in its home opener at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth. The teams played the opening game of the Villanova Baseball Classic, which will also feature games against Central Connecticut State on Saturday and the Big Red again on Sunday.
Senior Jeremy Hunt (Tampa, Fla.) hit a three-run game-tying home run in the fifth inning and sophomore Derek Shunk (Yardley, Pa.) singled in the seventh to score the go-ahead run. The Wildcats initially trailed 4-0 after Cornell got two runs in the first and fourth innings, but after that allowed just a lone run in the ninth before registering the fifth win in the team's last six games.
Hunt also drew a walk in addition to his second homer of the season, and sophomore Ryan Arcadia (Upper Saddle River, N.J.) was 3-for-5 with two runs scored and one driven in. Senior Craig Mirsky (Holland, Pa.) scored three times and finished 2-for-4 with a walk. Shunk also had two hits and Villanova finished with 11 on the day, marking the fifth time this season and fourth time in the last six games the Wildcats had a double-digit hit total.
Arcadia and Mirsky had consecutive singles in both the fifth and seventh innings to jumpstart the rallies in each of those frames. With the score tied 4-4 in the bottom of the seventh, Shunk singled to right field on a hit-and-run play, allowing Arcadia to score and five Villanova a 5-4 advantage, its first lead of the game.
Junior starting pitcher Mike Loree (Gillette, N.J.) earned his first win of the season with his third straight start of at least seven innings. Loree (1-2, 3.33 ERA) allowed seven hits and four runs in his outing, while striking out one and walking one. Senior Ted Aust (Phoenix, Ariz.) worked the final two innings and picked up his third save of the season.
Domenic Di Ricco doubled home two runs in the top of the first inning and Michael Weiss delivered a two-run triple in the fourth inning to give the Big Red a 4-0 lead. Cornell dug in with two outs, scoring all four runs in those situations. However, Loree set down the side in order three times on the afternoon and induced nine groundball outs.
The Wildcats finally got on the board in the fourth inning when sophomore James Dolbier (Lebanon, N.J.) was awarded first base on a catcher's interference call with the count full. Classmate Gus Guida (Martinsville, N.J.) eventually reached on a bases-loaded walk that forced home a run. Arcadia added an insurance run with an RBI-single in the eighth.
First pitch between Villanova and Central Connecticut State will be at Noon on Saturday.
NOTES: The Wildcats have drawn four bases-loaded walks this season ... Loree has pitched seven innings in each of his last three starts and has gone a total of 27.0 innings in his four starts ... Shunk's two hits extended his team-best hitting streak to six games ... Strong winds that gusted as high as 45 mph during the game affected several plays on balls in the air ... Otherwise, the game was one of the warmest home-openers ever for Villanova ... Temperature at first pitch was 72 degrees and remained in the upper 60's throughout the afternoon.