March 17, 2013
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - Freshman designated hitter Luke Emling (Nottingham, Pa.) had three hits in his first collegiate start and Villanova (5-12) scored with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning for a 4-3 win over Marist (6-8) in the second game of a doubleheader at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth on Sunday afternoon. Earlier in the day the Red Foxes won the opening game of the day, 1-0, in seven innings.
Temperatures hovered in the 30's for the entire afternoon but each team was able to do more offensively in the second game of the twin bill than in the frigid opener. Emling went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and senior center fielder Paul Rambaud (Chicago, Ill.) had two hits and also scored a run. Neither team plated more than one run in any single inning but the Wildcats did just enough to win their first one-run game of the season.
Freshman first baseman Max Beermann (Tampa, Fla.) singled up the middle with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning and junior right fielder Connor Jones (Chandler, Ariz.) walked with two outs to move him into scoring position. Both teams made moves at that point with the game on the line and the maneuvering by Villanova paid off.
Beermann was lifted for freshman pinch runner Derrick May, Jr. (Newark, Del.), who alertly went from second to third on a wild pitch by reliever Kevin McCarthy, who entered the game just one pitch earlier. Emling then hit a 1-1 pitch to shallow right field and the ball landed on the ground in between two Red Foxes fielders, allowing May to scamper home with the winning run. The victory is the first walk-off win of the season for the Wildcats, who now have 22 such wins at their home park.
Villanova overcame deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 to twice tie the score in the second and fourth innings, respectively. The tables were turned after the Wildcats took their first lead at 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning, only to have Marist tie the game at 3-3 on a ground ball that took a bad hop off the third base bag with two outs in the top of the seventh.
For the fourth straight game this week Villanova received strong pitching, as senior starting pitcher Stephen Ostapeck (Sacramento, Calif.) and two relievers combined for the win. Junior left-hander Matt Meurer (Katy, Texas) entered the game with two outs and two runners on in the top of the eighth inning, stranded both runners and then pitched scoreless frames in the ninth and 10th innings to earn his first victory of the season.
Ostapeck went the first 6 1/3 innings and allowed just five singles to the 25 batters he faced, while walking one and striking out three. There were few hard-hit balls against him and he exited the game with a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning.
Junior reliever Chris Haggarty (Valley Stream, N.Y.) replaced Ostapeck with a runner at second and one out in the top of the seventh inning. A groundout moved the runner over to third base with two away and pinch hitter Joey Aiola hit a groundball which looked to be heading foul until it dribbled off the third base bag and away from any defenders, allowing Zachary Passerelle to score the tying run.
Haggarty induced another groundball to end the inning and retired the first two batters in the top of the eighth before a walk and a single started another potential Red Foxes rally. Meurer (1-4, 4.75 ERA) came in and got Passerelle to foul out on a pop up behind the plate on his very first pitch. He wound up allowing just a hit and a walk in 2 1/3 scoreless innings.
Chris Napolitano (0-1, 4.85 ERA) took the loss for the Red Foxes after pitching 2 1/3 innings and allowing two hits and an earned run.
Villanova returns to action on Tuesday afternoon to host La Salle at 3:15 p.m.
NOTES: The Wildcats hosted the Big Five Baseball Bash this weekend, along with fellow local teams La Salle, Saint Joseph's and Temple ... Villanova and Marist each went 2-1 for the weekend ... Last season the Wildcats had three walk-off wins at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth ... Since a 15-10 loss at Saint Joseph's on Tuesday afternoon Villanova has compiled a 1.03 team ERA in its last four games, with four earned runs and 49 strikeouts in 35.0 innings pitched.