March 13, 2009
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - Villanova (7-6) scored six runs with two outs in the bottom of the first inning and rolled to an 18-7 victory over Niagara (2-10) on Friday afternoon at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth. The teams were meeting in the opening game of this weekend's Villanova Baseball Bash.
Redshirt freshman David Koczirka (Thornton, Pa.) had a career day by going 3-for-4 with three runs scored and four RBI. He finished just a home run short of the cycle and had the big hit in the six-run first inning, drilling a three-run triple to the gap in left-center field. He also walked, hit an RBI double and singled in the game as the Wildcats put up their highest run total since 2004.
Every Villanova starter scored at least one run and sophomore Dain Hall (Barrington, Ill.) went 2-for-2 with three walks and four runs scored. Senior Joe Cotter (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) was 3-for-5 with three RBI and senior Matt McFolling (Chicago, Ill.) had two hits and also drove in three runs. McFolling and senior Joe Rosati (Havertown, Pa.) both joined Koczirka with triples in the game.
On the mound, junior Brian Streilein (Staten Island, N.Y.) pitched five innings to earn the win in his first home start of the season. Streilein (2-2, 5.85 ERA) had plenty of idle time in between pitching early in the game, as the Wildcats followed their big first inning with three more runs in the second and two tallies each in the third and fourth innings. Streilein scattered six hits and one earned run, while walking two and striking out six.
Villanova showed the relentless nature of its offense in the first inning rally, which nearly could have ended before it began. Redshirt freshman Matt Szczur (Erma, N.J.) bunted for a single to leadoff the inning and Hall and senior Wes Borden (State College, Pa.) drew one-out walks to load the bases. After a strikeout, however, Niagara starter Marcus Spaulding (1-1, 8.56 ERA) was one batter away from escaping the inning unscathed. However, Cotter singled up the middle to plate two runs, senior Kyle Carver (Aldan, Pa.) walked to reload the bases and Koczirka followed with his first career triple.
In the second inning, Hall doubled home a run and McFolling and Carver delivered RBI singles as the Wildcats chased Spaulding after he threw 66 pitches in just two innings. Two other pitchers went three innings apiece for the Purple Eagles and combined to five up nine runs, of which seven were earned. Villanova plated its final five runs in the sixth inning, including a three-run double by Rosati that served as the big hit of the inning.
Streilein escaped trouble in the third inning when Niagara loaded the bases with nobody out and didn't score. He worked around the jam with a strikeout and shallow fly out to right field before ending the inning with another strikeout.
The Purple Eagles finally got on the board in the fourth inning when Brian Deering doubled with two outs to score Wynton Bernard and Matt Lucchesi. The inning was prolonged by a fielding error with two outs and nobody on and both runs were unearned. The lone earned run off of Streilein came off Trevor Rutkowski's solo home run leading off the fifth inning.
Matt Wietlispach went 4-for-4 and was hit by a pitch at the top of the order for Niagara, while Rutkowski had three hits and drove in two runs. The Purple Eagles finished with 14 hits in the game, just three fewer than Villanova, but faced too steep a climb back into the game after the barrage of runs in the early innings.
The Wildcats host Cleveland State on Saturday at 12:15 p.m.