March 17, 2013
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - Each team managed just four hits and both starting pitchers went the distance in the contest, which was completed in one hour, 37 minutes. Sophomore starting pitcher Josh Harris (Streamwood, Ill.) retired 15 straight batters at one point during the game and struck out seven while walking none and giving up four singles.
Mike Orefice singled with one out in the top of the seventh inning to snap Harris' streak of 15 straight batters set down. Harris (2-2, 1.33 ERA) got ahead of the next batter, Nick McQuail, 0-2 but his next offering grazed McQuail's jersey for a hit by pitch and gave the Red Foxes runners at first and second with still just one out. Anthony Passerelle followed with a single to the gap in right-center field which drove in Orefice and sent McQuail around to third. Passerelle eventually stole second base but Harris escaped any further trouble with a pop up in the infield and a strikeout to end the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh inning the Wildcats had two outs and nobody on when they nearly manufactured a late rally. Junior right fielder Connor Jones (Chandler, Ariz.) beat out a bunt single to extend the game and sophomore pinch hitter B.J. Bochicchio (Moosic, Pa.) hit a ball over the head of right fielder Jake Berry, but Berry ultimately ran the ball down and made a one-handed catch to end the game.
Marist pitcher Brett Houseal (2-3, 6.07 ERA) walked two and struck out six to earn the win. Villanova was held without a hit until freshman first baseman Max Beermann (Tampa, Fla.) doubled to right field with one out in the fifth inning. That was the only extra-base hit of the game and Beermann was eventually stranded at third to end the inning.
The near-rally in the bottom of the seventh inning mirrored a potential run-scoring opportunity in the bottom of the sixth. There were two outs and nobody on in that inning as well when senior left fielder Steve Schrenk (Brigantine, N.J.) and junior catcher John Cialone (Houston, Texas) each beat out infield singles. Houseal ended the threat with a strikeout to preserve the scoreless duel at that point, and the Red Foxes then got the only run they needed in the top half of the seventh.
Harris has logged four quality starts in as many outings on the season and has walked just three batters while striking out 19 in 27.0 innings pitched. Opponents are hitting a paltry .237 against him.
Villanova won the second game of the doubleheader, 4-3 in 10 innings.