March 15, 2013
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - A program that takes so much pride for a tradition of great pitching saw one of the top single game performances in school history on Friday afternoon, as junior starting pitcher Pat Young (The Woodlands, Texas) struck out a career high 18 batters over seven scoreless innings in an 8-2 win over Chicago State at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth. Young's performance represents the most strikeouts by any Division I pitcher in the country over the past two seasons.
With a full arsenal of pitches, all of which Young (1-1, 3.54 ERA) threw for strikes, the Cougars batters were nearly helpless. Young faced 26 batters and only six of them put the ball in play against him. He allowed three singles, hit two batters and registered three outs on balls hit to shortstop in the fourth inning.
For the rest of the day it was strikeouts which were the likely outcome of most plate appearances. Young struck out the side an incredible six times, including the first three innings in a row and again in three straight innings from the fourth through the seventh. Chicago State batters swung and missed at Young's pitches 23 times.
"It was just one of those days where everything was working," Young said. "We went right after the hitters and I was able to hammer them with a lot of fastballs, get into counts where I could use my slider and I was just able to rack up the strikeouts."
Young came out of the game after seven innings but it was more of the same strikeout story, as freshman Max Beermann (Tampa, Fla.) closed out the game by striking out the side in the ninth inning. Two unearned runs scored on an error with two outs in the ninth to account for the only Cougars runs of the game, but one batter later Beermann struck out Julian Russell to finish off the victory.
The combined efforts of Young and Beermann were staggering: no earned runs allowed, no walks and six hits to go along with 21 strikeouts. Both the team total of 21 and Young's individual total of 18 were the highest recorded in decades in the Wildcats program.
Young had plenty of run support to work with after Villanova scored seven runs in the first three innings to build an insurmountable lead. Junior catcher John Cialone (Houston, Texas) hit a run-scoring double in the bottom of the first inning to start the scoring and was one of four Wildcats that had a multi-hit game. Villanova had eight hits and matched a season high by drawing seven walks.
Freshman shortstop Eric Lowe (Arlington Heights, Ill.) had two hits and three runs batted in to extend his hitting streak to six games, sophomore first baseman Brandon Carr (Danville, Calif.) went 2-for-3 with three runs scored and freshman third baseman Kevin Jewitt (West Chester, Pa.) had two hits and two runs batted in.
In the bottom of the second inning Carr got on base to lead off the inning and Jewitt followed with an RBI double. One out later Lowe singled to right field and Jewitt came in to score and extend the Wildcats lead to a 3-0 margin.
Villanova scored four times in the bottom of the third inning thanks to five walks issued by two Chicago State pitchers. Starting pitcher Andrew Wellwerts (0-5, 4.91 ERA) walked three of the first four batters in the inning, with the third of those bases on balls forcing in senior left fielder Steve Schrenk (Brigantine, N.J.) from third base. Jewitt hit an RBI single for the only hit of the inning and relief pitcher James Tucker walked in two more runs. The inning could even have been worse but with the bases loaded and one out a line drive by freshman second baseman Adam Goss (Bellaire, Texas) was caught by the first baseman and turned into an easy unassisted double play which ended the inning.
By the time the Wildcats came to the plate in the bottom of the third inning Young already had nine strikeouts. He surpassed his previous career high of 11 strikeouts - which was only set in his last start - by the end of the fifth inning and the numbers just continued to pile up after that.
Russell and Eric O'Brien each had two hits for Chicago State, who came within one out of being shut out. With runners at second and third and two outs in the top of the ninth inning Daniel Mazurkiewicz reached on an error which allowed both runners to score. After the error Joelh Calixto singled to extend the game but Russell took a called third strike to end the game.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Wildcats, who are hosting the Big Five Baseball Bash this weekend.
"This was a big win and hopefully it will lead to a big turnaround for us," Young said. "We needed a win and getting that win gives us a whole new attitude when we take the field. I know we are going to get great pitching performances the rest of the weekend from [sophomore left-handed pitcher] Josh Harris (Streamwood, Ill.) and [senior right-hander] Stephen Ostapeck (Sacramento, Calif.) and that will carry us to continue being successful."
Villanova takes on Marist at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday afternoon in the second game of this weekend's home tournament.
NOTES: In his last two starts Young has pitched 14 innings and struck out 29 batters while allowing just six hits, three walks and one earned run (0.64 ERA) ... He struck out 11 batters over seven innings against Iona in his last start ... Prior to today's game no Wildcats pitcher had struck out more than 12 batters in the last 11 years ... The only thing Young didn't do against Chicago State was approach the Villanova school record for strikeouts in a game ... That distinction belongs to Bob Krapiewnicki, who had 23 strikeouts against Drexel on May 5, 1958 ... The NCAA individual and team record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game is 26, set by Buddy Schultz of Miami (Ohio) against Wright State on April 3, 1971.