Strong Pitching Continues But Wildcats Fall to Cornell, 3-1
March 24, 2013
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - Sophomore left-handed pitcher Josh Harris (Streamwood, Ill.) made his fifth consecutive quality start to begin the season and allowed just one earned run over seven innings but Villanova (5-16) had just four hits in a 3-1 loss to Cornell (11-5) at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth on Sunday afternoon. The outcome completed a three-game weekend sweep by the Big Red, with the two teams combining for just 13 total runs in the series.
Harris (2-3, 1.32 ERA) struck out five and scattered six hits while pitching seven innings for the fourth straight start. He walked just one and saw his season ERA drop down a tick as he continued a remarkable run on the mound. Harris is the Wildcats first pitcher to pitch at least seven innings in four or more straight starts since Mike Loree had six straight starts of at least seven innings back in 2006. Opponents are hitting just .234 against Harris, who has walked four and struck out 24 in 34.0 innings pitched.
In today's game Cornell scored an unearned run in the top of the fifth inning to take a 1-0 lead but Villanova tied the score in the bottom half of the inning to snap a 15-inning scoreless streak. Freshman second baseman Adam Goss (Bellaire, Texas) batted in the leadoff spot in the lineup for the first time in his career and drew three walks in the game, including one with two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the fifth inning.
With two outs and Goss at first senior center fielder Paul Rambaud (Chicago, Ill.) drove a ball into the gap in right-center field. The ball was cut off by Big Red right fielder Spenser Souza to hold Rambaud to a single but Goss never stopped running and scored from first to tie the game. Rambaud then stole second and took third on a throwing error before Cornell starting pitcher Brent Jones (3-0, 2.89 ERA) finally got out of the inning.
In the top of the seventh inning the Big Red went back in front for good on a run-scoring single by Brenton Peters with nobody out and Harris eventually stranded runners at the corners to end the inning with the Wildcats still within one run.
Villanova did everything it could to mount another rally in the bottom of the seventh inning but Cornell threw a runner out at the plate on a safety squeeze attempt and the Wildcats eventually left the bases loaded without being able to find an equalizer.
Sophomore third baseman B.J. Bochicchio (Moosic, Pa.) was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the seventh and freshman right fielder Derrick May, Jr. (Newark, Del.) sacrificed him to second. Senior pinch hitter Brandon Clark (Spring, Texas) followed with a single that moved Bochicchio up to third and junior pinch hitter Kevin Rojko (San Jose, Calif.) laid down a good-looking bunt between the plate and the pitchers' mound.
Big Red reliever Eric Upton fielded the ball and flipped it to Collin McGee behind the plate, and McGee's tag was ruled to have come just before Bochicchio got his hand on home plate. Rambaud then walked to load the bases with two outs before another fielder's choice groundball ended the inning.
Zach McCulley earned the save for Cornell with two scoreless innings to close out the contest.
Villanova returns to action on Tuesday afternoon to face La Salle at 3 p.m. That game will be played at Hank DeVincent Field and is the first round of the Liberty Bell Classic, with the winner moving on to the semifinals of the local tournament.