March 24, 2012
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - In the first game of a doubleheader at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth an early deficit put Villanova (13-11, 0-2 BIG EAST) in a hole from the outset and the Wildcats lost to St. John's (13-9, 2-0 BIG EAST) by a final score of 2-0 on Saturday afternoon. Villanova later won the nightcap 8-0.
Several early walks helped the Red Storm score twice in the top of the first inning and three more times in the second to lead 5-1 after the first two innings of play. Villanova never came closer than the four-run margin and St. John's continued to pile on with two runs in the fourth inning, two in the top of the sixth and one run in the top of the eighth inning.
Senior center fielder Jordan Zech (Naples, Fla.) and senior first baseman Adam Nelson (St. Joseph, Mo.) had three hits apiece for the Wildcats, who continued to produce offensively. Junior second baseman Tyler Sciacca (Staten Island, N.Y.) chipped in two hits towards a total of 11 and senior designated hitter Matt Fleishman (East Northport, N.Y.) hit his fourth home run of the season.
In the top of the first inning Pat Talbut had an RBI single and Matt Wessinger hit a solo home run to give the Red Storm a 2-0 lead before they took the field for the first time. Fleishman countered with a two-out solo home run in the bottom half of the inning to cut the deficit in half at 2-1 but St. John's needed only one hit to score three times in the top of the second inning and create some breathing room.
Freshman starting pitcher Tyler Radtke (Buffalo Grove, Ill.) walked four batters in the first 1 1/3 innings and exited after issuing consecutive walks with one out in the top of the second inning. After a hit by pitch and a sacrifice fly Wessinger delivered a two-run double which gave the Red Storm all the momentum they would need in the game. Radtke (0-1, 3.68 ERA) only gave up two hits but yielded four earned runs in his first career conference start.
Wessinger went 4-for-5 with two runs and three RBI for St. John's and Sean O'Hare had three hits and drove in three runs as the Red Storm finished with 13 hits against four Villanova pitchers. St. John's also drew nine walks and struck out just two times in the game.
Through the first five innings of the game the Wildcats had nine batters reach base (six hits, one walk, two errors) and all nine got on after there had been two outs and nobody on in the inning. Villanova strung together three straight singles in the bottom of the second inning but left the bases loaded without plating a run. In the bottom of the fifth inning Fleishman walked with two outs, advanced to second when Sciacca reached on a fielding error and then scored on a throwing error by the third baseman one batter later.
The bottom of the order consistently produced scoring chances for the Wildcats in the game and the streak of starting each inning with two outs and nobody on ended in the bottom of the sixth. Zech led off with a single to right-center field and Nelson followed with a bunt single to set the table for an eventual RBI single by senior third baseman Kevin Wager (Holden, Mo.) later in the inning.
Red Storm starting pitcher Sean Hagan (3-1, 2.59 ERA) allowed three runs (two earned) on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings, while walking one and striking out seven. Kevin Kilpatrick relieved him with two on and two out in the bottom of the sixth inning and went the final 3 1/3 innings to pick up his second save in as many games to start the series.
NOTES: Freshman left-hander Josh Harris (Streamwood, Ill.) and sophomore right-hander Chris Haggarty (Valley Stream, N.Y.) combined to pitch the final three innings for the Wildcats and allowed just one run on two hits ... Haggarty pitched a scoreless ninth inning and masterfully worked around three base runners to avoid being scored on ... With the bases full and one out he battled for seven pitches before striking out Jeremy Baltz, then got a fly ball to right to end the inning.