March 24, 2004
PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA. - A five-run first inning by the opposition could not keep Villanova from its 14th win of the season, as the Wildcats scored 11 unanswered runs between the second and sixth innings to defeat the Temple Owls, 11-9, on Wednesday afternoon at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth. The `Cats matched their 2003 win total with the victory, as they improved to 14-5 overall on the season.
Temple (6-7) started strong on Wednesday, scoring five runs in the top of the first inning to give Villanova starter Bill Hoffman an early exit and the Owls an early 5-0 advantage. Two hits and a hit batter loaded the bases for Temple with no outs in the first. Leftfielder Al Roach gave the Owls their first lead with a two-run single through the left side. Temple would add three more off of Hoffman to claim a 5-0 lead, before Ted Aust came on in relief for the Wildcats to end the bleeding.
The Wildcat offense fought back in the bottom of the second with three runs of their own, to cut the Owl lead to 5-3. With the bases loaded, two outs, and Villanova trailing 5-1, centerfielder Kris Molloy lined a two-run single through the left side to plate two more Wildcat runs and cut the margin to 5-3.
One inning later, in the bottom of the third, Villanova scored twice more to tie the contest at 5-5. An RBI triple by leftfielder Brian Newbold knocked in the Wildcats' first run of the inning, and first baseman Adrian Schau tied the game with a sacrifice fly to rightfield that scored Newbold.
After getting out of the first inning jam for Villanova, Aust cruised through the next three innings without allowing a hit, as he helped send the game into the bottom of the fourth tied at 5-5.
The Wildcats broke the tie in the bottom of the fourth inning, scoring one run to claim their first lead of the contest at 6-5. Mirsky reached base on an error for the `Cats, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Two batters later, third baseman Angelo Petracca singled to shortstop to knock in Mirsky with the go-ahead run.
A four-run fifth inning helped Villanova break open what was a tight game and take a 10-5 advantage. The big blow in the inning for the Wildcats came by Petracca, who hammered a two-run double to left field to give the `Cats the five-run lead.
Villanova would score for the fifth straight inning in the bottom of the sixth, adding one more run to extend the lead to 11-5.
Wildcat junior right-hander Joe McCoy followed Aust's lead. McCoy came on in relief of Aust to start the fifth inning and helped Villanova maintain control. With a runner on second with one out in the fifth inning, Roach hit a bouncer between third and short. Petracca ranged to his left to field the ball, tagged Mike Weckanman who was racing towards third and threw to first to complete the magnificent inning ending double play.
McCoy shut the door on the Owls for the next two innings, sending the game into the eighth inning with the Wildcats leading 11-5.
In the top of the eighth inning, Temple started to rally, loading the bases with one out. Shortstop Jason Connor hit a sacrifice fly to right to score one run and trim the Villanova lead to 11-6. After a walk by McCoy loaded the bases again with two outs, right-hander Mike Grodecki came on in relief. A bases loaded walk by Grodecki made it an 11-7 ballgame with the bases still loaded. Jason Adamek came on as a pinch hitter for the Owls and lined a two-run single up the middle to slice the Villanova lead to 11-9. Grodecki ended any further hope of a Temple rally, getting shortstop Justin Cooper to fly out to Alan Day in right field to end the inning.
The game was called after the top of the eighth inning due to darkness, with the Wildcats taking the 11-9 victory.
Aust (2-0) earned the win on the mound for Villanova, throwing three and one-third shutout innings. He struck out three, did not allow a hit and walked just one batter in his second strong outing in as many days. Grodecki recorded his second save of the year in the game. Taking the loss for Temple was starter Tim Foulkrod, who surrendered six runs (two earned) on five hits in four innings.
At the plate for the Wildcats, Newbold went three-for-three with three runs scored, a double, triple and one RBI, while Petracca was two-for-four with a double and a game-high three RBI.
Villanova will now begin Big East Conference play, entertaining the University of Connecticut for a three-game series this weekend. The Wildcats will host the Huskies in a Saturday doubleheader beginning at noon at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth, and will wind down the series with a single game on Sunday at noon.