March 10, 2012
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - Sophomore starting pitcher Pat Young (The Woodlands, Texas) pitched six innings without allowing an earned run and Villanova (9-5) won for the ninth time in 11 games, 7-2 over Iona (2-10) at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth on Saturday afternoon. The victory was the 1,800th in the 147-year history of the Wildcats program.
Villanova put runs on the board in four consecutive innings from the fourth through the seventh, taking the lead for good with two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and padding the margin with three more in the seventh. Production from the bottom of the lineup made the difference for the Wildcats, who got eight hits, four runs scored and three runs batted in from the sixth through the ninth spots in the batting order.
For the second straight day Villanova gave up the lead in the top of an inning only to come back and answer decisively in the bottom half of the same inning. A pair of unearned runs scored by the Gaels in the top of the sixth tied the score at 2-2 and finished the day of work for Young (3-1, 3.52 ERA), who then benefited from two runs that the Wildcats scored in the bottom of the sixth to restore their lead.
The rally in the sixth inning featured four consecutive singles to start the frame, beginning with a base hit through the left side from sophomore catcher John Cialone (Houston, Texas) in the sixth spot in the lineup. Senior center fielder Jordan Zech (Naples, Fla.) bunted for a single to put runners at first and second with nobody out and bring up senior first baseman Adam Nelson (St. Joseph, Mo.) in another sacrificing situation.
Nelson bunted the first pitch he saw foul but two pitches later took advantage of the defense still looking for a sacrifice and singled through a big hall on the right side to plate senior pinch runner Andrew Geenen (Portola Valley, Calif.) with what turned out to be the game-winning run. Junior left fielder Paul Rambaud (Chicago, Ill.) was up next and laid down a safety squeeze bunt single which scored Zech and made the score 4-2.
In the bottom of the seventh inning junior catcher Brandon Clark (Spring, Texas) singled home a run and both he and junior second baseman Tyler Sciacca (Staten Island, N.Y.) scored two batters later when the ball was thrown away after a single by Nelson.
Young retired 13 straight batters from the second inning until there was one out in the sixth and had all five of his strikeouts during that span. After he retired Bobby Vitulano on a groundout to start the sixth inning leadoff man Jimmy Guiliano reached on an error which would eventually lead to a pair of unearned runs scoring on a single by Joe Torres and a sacrifice fly by Matt Hratko which tied the score at 2-2. Young got Sean Menickella to fly out to end the inning and stop the Gaels rally before they could take a lead.
With the lead back in hand three relievers combined to hold Iona hitless over the final three innings of the game. Junior right-hander Kevin MacLachlan (Matawan, N.J.) registered the first two outs of the seventh inning and sophomore lefty Matt Meurer (Katy, Texas) worked 1 1/3 innings ahead of senior Julian Diaz (Trenton, N.J.), who worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning for the second straight day.
The game was scoreless going to the bottom of the fourth inning but senior shortstop Marlon Calbi (Montclair, N.J.) and sophomore right fielder Connor Jones (Chandler, Ariz.) hit sacrifice flies in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively, to spot Villanova a 2-0 lead.
Nelson went 3-for-4 with an RBI in his second start of the season at first base, while Cialone was 2-for-2 and Sciacca and senior left fielder Matt Fleishman (East Northport, N.Y.) also had two hits apiece. Fleishman was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and all five of his hits in the last two games have been for extra bases. He doubled and tripled in today's game and has now hit 11 triples in his Wildcats career.
Iona starting pitcher Colin Lyall (0-2, 7.43 ERA) went five-plus innings and was charged with four runs on nine hits while walking three and striking out four. He exited with Cialone and Zech on base and nobody out in the bottom of the sixth inning just before the single by Nelson gave Villanova the lead for good.
Tomorrow afternoon the Wildcats host Central Connecticut State at 1:15 p.m. in the final game of this weekend's Villanova Classic. Junior right-hander Stephen Ostapeck (Sacramento, Calif.) makes the start for Villanova in Sunday's game.
NOTES: Villanova has an all-time record of 1,800-1,288-29 (.582) and is playing its 147th season of varsity baseball dating back to 1866 ... The program is the third-oldest in the country at the collegiate level ... Head coach Joe Godri has been associated with the program for 379 of the victories, including 110 during his time as an assistant coach (1991-93, 2000) and 269 in his 11 years as the head coach ... Earlier this season he moved up to second place on the program's all-time wins list ... Fleishman is tied for second place in school history with 11 career triples, matching the total of James Dolbier (2005-08) ... Fleishman has 13 triples in his collegiate career, including two as a freshman at Western New England College (2009) ... Villanova avenged a 13-3 loss to Iona in this tournament last season ... Young is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA over 20.0 innings pitched in his last three starts ... Over the last 11 games (9-2) the Wildcats are batting .334 as a team with a 2.64 team ERA.