March 15, 2014
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - In just the second start of his collegiate career freshman Hunter Schryver (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and had 10 strikeouts in a game that Villanova (5-11) eventually won in walk-off style with two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning. Sophomore first baseman Max Beermann (Tampa, Fla.) tripled home the tying run in the bottom of the ninth and scored the winning run in a 5-4 victory over St. Peter's (2-11) in the home opener at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth on Saturday afternoon.
Despite the dramatic ending Schryver was still the day's top story, as he went seven scoreless innings and faced just three batters of the minimum. Schryver walked three and struck out 10 while giving Wildcats fans a reason to think of a much bigger storyline. Peacocks cleanup hitter Nick Henriquez hit a hard groundball back up the middle with one out in the top of the seventh inning to give St. Peter's its first hit of the game and the lone hit against Schryver.
Kyle Grimes struck out to start the seventh inning and at that point Schryver was in a groove which saw him retire nine straight hitters, with five of those outs coming via a strikeout. Jim Smith walked with one away and Henriquez worked to a full count before producing his team's first hit. With a no-hitter no longer in the offing Schryver had to immediately focus his attention on the game situation with the tying run coming up to the plate. Schryver struck out Zach Rawson and Vinny Maietta in succession to escape the inning with no damage done.
Earlier in the game the Wildcats scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning and took an early 3-0 lead. That advantage stood up until St. Peter's manufactured a four-run eighth inning to take a 4-3 lead and put Villanova on its heels for the first time all day. In the bottom of the eighth inning the Wildcats managed just a two-out walk in the midst of three fly outs but with the top of the order due up in the bottom of the ninth inning a comeback seemed almost inevitable.
Sophomore left fielder Adam Goss (Bellaire, Texas) was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the ninth and freshman second baseman Todd Czinege (Overland Park, Kan.) sacrificed him into scoring position. Beermann was up next and he hit a fly ball to right field which got lost in the wind and dropped untouched far from the nearest defensive player. Goss scored easily to tie the game and Beermann raced all the way to third for his second triple of the season.
With the potential winning run 90 feet away senior center fielder Connor Jones (Chandler, Ariz.) was walked intentionally to set up the possibility of a force play. Sophomore third baseman Kevin Jewitt (West Chester, Pa.) was up next and on a 2-1 pitch Peacocks reliever Eric Mozeika (0-2, 18.00 ERA) threw a wild pitch that allowed Beermann to score the winning run.
Jones had the big hit for Villanova in the bottom of the first inning when he crushed a two-run home run over the fence in right-center field. Beermann was hit by a pitch after there were two outs and nobody on in the inning and Jones drilled a 1-1 pitch for his third home run of the season. The rally continued after the home run and the Wildcats manufactured another run. Jewitt walked, freshman designated hitter Brian Trabulsi (Malverne, N.Y.) doubled and sophomore shortstop Eric Lowe (Arlington Heights, Ill.) bunted for an RBI single.
St. Peter's starting pitcher Frank Morris, a transfer from Seton Hall who had faced Villanova before, came back strong after the first inning and pitched through six innings with no further damage. He wound up allowing three earned runs on seven hits, while walking two and striking out four.
In the top of the eighth inning the Peacocks loaded the bases with nobody out against senior reliever Chris Haggarty (Valley Cottage, N.Y.) on a walk, single and hit by pitch. Leadoff hitter Jon Kristoffersen got St. Peter's on the board with a two-run single which made the score 3-2. Senior lefty Matt Meurer (Katy, Texas) came in and allowed consecutive singles to Kyle Grimes and Jim Smith, with the latter hit tying the game at 3-3 with the bases still loaded and still nobody out.
Meurer (1-1, 0.52 ERA) then slammed the door on the Peacocks rally. Henriquez hit a sacrifice fly to center which brought in the go-ahead run but Meurer ended the inning on an infield fly and a groundout to short which featured Lowe making a terrific play at the edge of the outfield grass to throw out Maietta at first to end the inning. Meurer then needed just six pitches to retire the side in order in the top of the ninth.
In their final game of the weekend the Wildcats will take on former BIG EAST rival Connecticut on Sunday afternoon at 1:15 p.m.
NOTES: Jones hit an inside-the-park home run yesterday at La Salle for his second home run of the year ... His home run just four batters into today's home opener was a welcome sign for Villanova, which did not hit a home run at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth until the 13th home game last year ... Beermann has been hit by a pitch a team-high eight times this season ... Villanova leads the all-time series with St. Peter's by a 9-2 margin.