March 11, 2009
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - Three different pitchers combined to allow just four hits while racking up 11 strikeouts and Villanova (6-6) got back to the .500 mark for the first time this season with a 5-1 win over University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (1-9) on Wednesday afternoon at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth.
The Wildcats scored single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings and then plated two in the bottom of the eighth after allowing the Devils to score first on a two-out double in the top of the third inning. USP did not have a hit after a leadoff single in the fifth and the team's last nine batters were set down in order.
Sophomore Mike Francisco (Malvern, Pa.) started the game with a pitch count and worked two scoreless innings, in which all six of the outs he recorded came on strikeouts. Francisco fanned the first five batters he faced before allowing a two-out single followed by a four-pitch walk in the top of the second inning. He ended the frame with his sixth strikeout, of which five were swinging.
Following Francisco, freshmen Kyle McMyne (Cranberry Township, Pa.) worked three innings and allowed three hits and an earned run, with no walks and two strikeouts. Matt Murtha singled to lead off the top of the third inning, was sacrificed to second base and eventually scored on Pete McCauley's double. He recorded his first collegiate win and classmate Kyle Helisek (Old Forge, Pa.) earned his first save when he entered at the beginning of the sixth inning and pitched four hitless innings with two walks and three strikeouts to close out the contest.
Sophomores David Koczirka (Thornton, Pa.) and Dain Hall (Barrington, Ill.) delivered sacrifice flies in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively, as Villanova first tied the game and then took the lead against Devil starting pitcher Gary Thompson. Thompson didn't allow a hit until senior Joe Cotter (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) singled through the left side with one out in the fourth. From there, he took second on a wild pitch and reached third on an infield hit by senior Matt McFolling (Chicago, Ill.).
McFolling hit his second home run of the season down the right field line with one out in the sixth inning and provided further insurance with a run-scoring double in the bottom of the eighth. Pinch runner Joe Rosati (Havertown, Pa.) scored the second run of the eighth inning when he scored from second on an infield hit by freshman Adam Nelson (St. Joseph, Mo.). Rosati advanced to third as the ball was hit in the hole and scored on the throw to first base.
Villanova continued to show patience at the plate and drew six more walks, bringing the team's total for the season to 63 in 12 games. Junior Justin Bencsko (Pompton Plains, N.J.) walked three times and had two stolen bases. McFolling finished the day 3-for-4 and was the only Wildcat hitter with a multi-hit game.
Redshirt freshman Matt Szczur (Erma, N.J.) bunted for a single in the fifth inning to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. He eventually stole third later in the inning to be in position to score on Hall's sacrifice fly.
The Wildcats will host the Villanova Baseball Bash this weekend along with La Salle, Saint Joseph's and Temple. The visiting teams taking part in the tournament are Cleveland State, Manhattan, Niagara and St. Peter's. Each of those squads will play one of the Big Five schools each day from Friday through Sunday. Villanova will host Niagara on Friday at 3:15 p.m. in its first game of the tournament.