March 14, 2009
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - Senior Joe Cotter (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) hit a two-run home run and five different players hit doubles for Villanova (8-6) on Saturday afternoon as the Wildcats won their sixth straight game with a 12-5 victory over Cleveland State (3-8) at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth in this weekend's Villanova Baseball Bash.
Villanova pulled away from a 3-all tie with three runs in both the fourth and fifth innings, then put the game out of reach with three more tallies in the bottom of the eighth. Cotter finished 2-for-2 with two runs scored, three RBI and two walks. His first home run of the year in the bottom of the second tied the game 3-3 after the Vikings had scored two of their own in the top half of the inning.
In the fourth inning, the Wildcats almost let an opportunity get away from them after loading the bases with one out. After a strikeout for the second out, a two-strike passed ball let in the first run of the inning. Freshman shortstop Tyler Sciacca (Staten Island, N.Y.) then delivered a two-run single for his first two collegiate runs batted in and Villanova was off and running once again.
Sophomore Dain Hall (Barrington, Ill.) hit a blooper that fell into center field for a double with one out in the fifth and the Wildcats followed with three straight run-scoring hits to stretch the lead to 9-3. Senior Wes Borden (State College, Pa.) doubled down the right field line and classmates Matt McFolling (Chicago, Ill.) and Cotter followed with RBI singles.
McFolling had two hits and three runs scored while raising his average to .343 on the year and four players had multi-hit games. Redshirt freshman Matt Szczur (Erma, N.J.) scored twice and finished 2-for-4, including a leadoff double which led to a first-inning run and an RBI-single in the bottom of the eighth. He extended his hitting streak to 12 games while playing in just his 13th collegiate game.
Cleveland State scored a single run in the top of the first inning and plated two the next inning, but each time Villanova answered to tie the game. Sophomore starter Chris Pack (Darien, Ill.) went six innings to win for the third straight start, allowing eight hits and four earned runs with just one walk and three strikeouts. Pack (3-1, 2.49 ERA) retired 11 of 13 batters at one stretch from the second inning until the sixth and even erased one of the two runners he did allow when he picked Jon Foco off of first for the second out in the fourth inning.
Wildcat sophomore Mike Francisco (Malvern, Pa.) pitched three scoreless innings with just a hit and a walk allowed to close out the game and earn his first save. He retired the final four batters of the game in order in his sixth straight appearance (out of seven total) without allowing an earned run.
Brian Long (0-3, 10.35) started and went 4 1/3 innings for the Vikings, allowing eight hits and nine runs (eight earned) with three walks and two strikeouts. Nate Blankemeyer and Jimmy Cowhy allowed the three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Offensively, Foco had three hits and drove in two runs for Cleveland State. His two-out, two-run double to the gap in right-center field in the sixth inning temporarily trimmed the Villanova margin to 9-5 before the Wildcats put the three late insurance runs on the board.
Villanova wraps up its weekend tournament on Sunday with a 12:15 p.m. game against St. Peter's.
NOTES: Redshirt freshman David Koczirka (Thornton, Pa.) went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored and is now 5-for-8 with four runs and four RBI over the last two games.