Wildcats Stumble in Liberty Bell Opener
March 25, 2003
PHILADELPHIA, PA. - In the first round of the Liberty Bell Classic at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia on Tuesday, March 25, the Villanova baseball team fell to Temple, 7-6, as the Owls scored one run in each of the final two innings to overcome a one-run eighth inning deficit. The Wildcats fall to 5-11 overall on the season with Tuesday's loss. Temple improved to 3-13 with the win, and advanced to the Liberty Bell second round to face the winner Penn/Lehigh.
Villanova struck first, scoring one run in the top of the first inning on an RBI single by designated hitter Adrian Schau.
Wildcat starter Jake Wolff, a freshman left-hander, struck out the side in the first and appeared to be cruising. In the second inning, however, Wolff got into trouble allowing a three-run home run by rightfielder Pete Colon after walking and hitting a batter.
Villanova cut the Temple lead to 3-2 in the top of the third inning. Schau came through once again with two outs, lining a single through the left side to score centerfielder Chris Graziano.
Wolff settled down after a shaky second inning, striking out the side once again in the third. Through four innings, the Wildcat freshman struck out nine Owl batters.
Villanova continued to rally in the top of the fifth inning. Catcher Greg Fater reached on a fielder's choice, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and came around to score on a single by third baseman Danny Poydenis. Poydenis' RBI tied the game at 3-3.
Temple regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, putting two runs across the board to take a 5-3 advantage. Jason Connor and Rob Cucinotta had RBI singles in the inning for the Owls.
A scrappy Wildcat offense fought back in the top of the sixth inning. Shortstop Brian Trotta had an RBI single to trim the lead to one run. With Trotta on third later in the inning, second baseman Mark Cardillo hit a high chopper to short. Running hard from the crack of the bat, Cardillo slid into first safely allowing Trotta to score the tying run.
In the top of the seventh inning, Villanova took its first lead since the second inning. Graziano led the inning off with a triple and scored two batters later on a sac fly by Schau.
A Wildcat miscue allowed Temple to tie the game in the eighth. With Matt Mondok on first and two outs, Frank Hilliard doubled down the leftfield line. Brian Newbold fielded the ball and hit the cutoff man Poydenis in short left. Poydenis threw a strike to the plate, but the ball snuck underneath the glove of Marshall Canosa allowing the Owls to score the tying run.
With the score tied in the bottom of the ninth, Temple put the game away as Connor singled in Mike Wechanman with the gamewinner as the Owls defeated the `Cats 7-6.
Chris Kurtz threw two scoreless inning to get the win for Temple and improve to 1-0. Schau took the loss to fall to 0-3. Despite not factoring in the decision, Wolff struck out 10 in 4.2 innings, coming within one strikeout of tying the Liberty Bell record.
At the plate for the Wildcats, Graziano, Poydenis, Schau and Trotta each posted two hits.
Villanova will get back into action on Wednesday, March 26, hosting Bucknell at 3:00 p.m., at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth.