Solid Pitching Effort Leads Wildcats Past Lehigh 5-1
March 24, 2009
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - Freshman southpaw Kyle Helisek (Cranberry Township, Pa.) yielded just one run in 6 2/3 strong innings and Villanova (11-9) head coach Joe Godri earned his 200th career victory in a 5-1 win over Lehigh (4-19-1) on Tuesday afternoon at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth. The Wildcats remain undefeated at home this season (6-0) with the win, which snapped a three-game losing streak.
In his fourth start of the year, Helisek (2-1, 4.97 ERA) struck out a season-high seven batters while walking two and allowing six hits. Villanova led 3-0 before Helisek allowed a run-scoring double to Kevin Mihalik in the top of the fourth inning. It was the only extra-base hit of the game for the Mountain Hawks, and the Wildcats averted further trouble as Lehigh went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position in the game.
Freshman Kyle McMyne (Old Forge, Pa.) relieved Helisek with two outs and two on in the seventh inning and struck out Geoff Campbell to retire the side. He struck out the first three batters he faced and eventually retired the final seven batters of the game in order with five strikeouts to earn his first career save.
It was a trademark offensive day for Villanova, which added insurance to a 3-1 lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Wildcats mixed eight hits with seven walks and eight stolen bases to put more than enough runs on the board to support the pitching effort. Seniors Joe Rosati (Havertown, Pa.) and Matt McFolling (Chicago, Ill.) delivered run-scoring singles in the bottom of the first inning and sophomore Dain Hall (Barrington, Ill.) scored on an errant pickoff throw in the third inning to make the score 3-0.
Villanova had at least one batter reach base in all eight innings but managed just one hit from the second through the seventh innings. In the bottom of the eighth, senior Wes Borden (State College, Pa.) led off with a single to right field and scored one batter later when redshirt freshman David Koczirka (Thornton, Pa.) doubled down the left field line. Freshman Tyler Sciacca (Staten Island, N.Y.) followed with a single and redshirt freshman Matt Szczur (Erma, N.J.) drove in Koczirka with a hit before a line drive double play ended the inning.
Szczur walked in each of his first three plate appearances, stole two bases and finished 1-2 with a run and an RBI. The eight hits for the Wildcats came from seven different players, and McFolling was 2-for-4 with an RBI to raise his average to .397, tying him for the team lead with Szczur.
Jordan Warncke (0-5) pitched six innings and took the loss for the Mountain Hawks, allowing three runs (one earned) on three hits with seven walks and four strikeouts. One of the runs in the first inning was unearned, as was the run scored by the Wildcats in the bottom of the third. Lehigh committed three throwing errors in the game, with two coming on failed pickoff attempts and another on a stolen base attempt.
Offensively, the Mountain Hawks were led by Andy Russell, who was 2-for-4 with a run scored and two stolen bases. Four different players struck out twice for Lehigh, as the duo of Helisek and McMyne registered 12 strikeouts in the game.
Villanova visits Penn on Wednesday at 3 p.m.
NOTES: McFolling's single in the first inning extended his current hitting streak to 12 games ... Szczur has reached base safely in 18 consecutive games and has had a hit in 17 of the 18 games.