March 27, 2009
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - In the first conference home game of the season, junior Brian Streilein (Staten Island, N.Y.) took a shutout into the ninth inning against a team averaging more than 10 runs per game and Villanova (12-10, 1-3 Big East) held off West Virginia (16-6, 3-1 Big East) on Friday afternoon with a 3-1 victory at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth.
Streilein (3-3, 6.55 ERA) allowed seven hits and one earned run in 8 1/3 innings, during which he walked three and struck out three. Despite allowing at least one base runner in every inning except the eighth, Streilein cruised into the ninth inning having retired nine of the 10 most recent batters to face him going into the top of the ninth. He left the game with runners at first and second with one out and got the win when sophomore Mike Francisco (Malvern, Pa.) nailed down his second save of the year.
A clean and crisp duel between Streilein and Mountaineer righty Jarryd Summers (3-1, 2.97) was evident from the start and less than 60 minutes after the first pitch was thrown the game was scoreless with two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the fourth inning. As they have so many times this season, though, the Wildcats made something out of nothing when senior Matt McFolling (Chicago, Ill.) doubled and then scored on a single by senior Joe Cotter (Bryn Mawr, Pa.).
In the fifth inning, a two-run double to left field by redshirt freshman Matt Szczur (Erma, N.J.) brought in redshirt freshman David Koczirka (Thornton, Pa.) and freshman Marlon Calbi (Montclair, N.J.). Summers wound up going the distance but the damage was done by a Villanova team that later wriggled out of a tight spot in the ninth to protect the outcome.
Dan DiBartolomeo doubled to lead off the top of the ninth and Mark Dvoroznak was hit by a pitch with one out. Francisco entered and allowed singles to Mark Dvoroznak and Justin Parks that brought in the Mountaineers lone run of the game. At that point the bases were loaded with one out and a run in but Francisco fanned the next two hitters to end the game.
Koczirka had three hits and a run scored for the Wildcats, while Szczur had two hits, including the big double. McFolling extended his hitting streak to 14 games with his double in the fourth and Villanova needed only seven hits to claim its first conference win of the season. Ahead of Szczur's double in the fifth inning, senior Kyle Carver (Aldan, Pa.) drew a walk and Koczirka singled through the left side. Calbi then put both in scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. In addition to seven hits, the Wildcats drew four walks, were hit by a pitch, laid down two bunts and stole a base.
None of West Virginia's tries to get a rally started came to fruition in the early and middle innings. Justin Parks started the game off with a single but was erased on a double play all one batter later. In the top of the sixth inning, the Mountaineers had runners at second and third with one out when Streilein snagged a high chopper to the mound and started a rundown play that led to the tagging out of the lead runner at third. West Virginia stranded 11 in the game, compared with eight left on base by Villanova. Parks and Dvoroznak had two hits apiece for the Mountaineers in the game.
The start time for the second game of the series on Saturday was moved up to 11:15 a.m. due to the threat of inclement weather later in the day.