March 21, 2010
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - David Koczirka (Thornton, Pa.) hit a solo home run leading off the bottom of the seventh inning and Matt Szczur (Erma, N.J.) did the same in the bottom of the eighth to help lead Villanova (14-3) to a 9-3 victory over Youngstown State (8-7) on Sunday afternoon at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth. The Wildcats were playing in the final game of the Big Five Baseball Bash the team is hosting this weekend.
Before today's game Villanova had hit well, hit often and hit late in games. Today the Wildcats hit for power as well, as the home runs by Koczirka and Szczur were only the second and third long balls hit all season by Villanova hitters. The Wildcats scored all nine of their runs in the game between the fifth and eighth innings to get back in the win column after having their six-game winning streak ended yesterday.
In the fifth, sixth and eighth innings, the top three hitters in the order combined to reach base in all nine of their plate appearances. Szczur finished the day 4-for-5 with two runs and three RBI, while Justin Bencsko (Pompton Plains, N.J.) was hit by a pitch three times and scored twice. Dain Hall (Barrington, Ill.) had two hits and three RBI with a two-run triple and a run-scoring single.
After Villanova allowed two unearned runs in the first inning, it eventually put together more than enough offense to support Kyle McMyne (Old Forge, Pa.), who settled in quickly after the first two hitters to pitch strongly into the eighth inning. An error and a single started off the game in the top of the first inning but McMyne (4-1, 3.55 ERA) then proceeded to retire 20 of the next 23 batters he faced. He surrendered a two-out run-scoring single to Anthony Porter in the first inning, then retired the side on a double play groundball off the bat of Zac McFarland and went on to permit just two batters to reach base safely until the eighth inning.
A two-out rally in the bottom of the fifth inning erased the 2-0 deficit and put the Wildcats ahead to stay in the game. Adam Nelson (St. Joseph, Mo.) walked with one out, advanced to second on a wild pitch and was able to score on a single by Szczur. The inning continued when Bencsko was hit by a pitch - for the first time out of three in the game - and Hall one-hopped a triple off the fence in straightaway center field.
In the sixth inning, Matt Fleishman (Commack, N.Y.) singled with one out, took second on a wild pitch and stole third. He came around to score on Szczur's third hit of the day, while a wild pitch with the bases loaded scored Chris Johnson (Shrewsbury, N.J.) later in the frame. Fleishman went 3-for-5 with a run scored and a run batted in for the game, with the RBI coming on a double down the left field line in the bottom of the eighth.
Jeremy Banks had two of just five hits for the Penguins, who mustered little offense against McMyne and two relievers. In the top of the eighth inning, Youngstown State had two runners in scoring position with one out in a 6-2 game and drew one run closer on a sacrifice fly. McMyne was lifted at that point and Kevin Crimmel (Harrisburg, Pa.) needed only two pitches to close out the eighth inning. Mike Francisco (Newtown Square, Pa.) worked a scoreless ninth inning. McMyne wound up allowing five hits in 7 2/3 innings, with just one of the three runs against him being earned. He walked one and struck out four in his team-high fifth start of the season.
Starting pitcher Alex Oles (0-2, 4.85 ERA) took the loss for the Penguins, going five innings and allowing three earned runs on just three hits while issuing two walks and striking out five. Four different relievers for Youngstown State combined to surrender seven hits and six runs (five earned) over three innings of work.
Villanova wrapped up the last of five straight days with a game this afternoon and will now have two well-deserved days of rest. The Wildcats return to action at home on Wednesday afternoon with a 3:15 p.m. contest against Big Five rival Penn.
NOTES: Tyler Sciacca (Staten Island, N.Y.) had the only home run of the season for the Wildcats before today's game ... Both Koczirka and Szczur hit no-doubt-about-it long balls far over the fence in left field ... Szczur had his sixth straight multi-hit game and his fourth straight game with at least three hits ... In his last six games, he is batting .643 (18-28).