March 27, 2014
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - Despite putting 15 runners on base over the course of the game Villanova (7-15) was held to just one tally on the scoreboard and fell to Penn (6-10) by a final score of 12-1 at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth in a rare Thursday afternoon contest. The lone run of the game for the Wildcats scored in the bottom of the seventh inning but Villanova left the bases loaded twice and stranded 12 runners in the game.
In a makeup of a contest that had originally been rained out last week the visiting Quakers broke open a 2-0 game with six runs in the top half of the fifth inning. Jeff McGarry had four hits and drove in a pair of runs for Penn, while Rick Brebner and Matt Greskoff had three hits apiece. After the Quakers went ahead 8-0 with the big fifth inning both teams made a flurry of substitutions the rest of the way on a raw afternoon that never saw temperatures climb higher than the low 40s.
Sophomore shortstop Eric Lowe (Arlington Heights, Ill.) had two walks and scored the only Wildcats run. He drew a leadoff walk to start the seventh and then sophomores Luke Emling (Nottingham, Pa.) and Emmanuel Morris (Willowbrook, Ill.) followed with consecutive pinch-hit singles to manufacture run. Emling slid a ball just past the first baseman and through the right side to advance Lowe to third and Morris drove an 0-2 pitch to left field to bring in the run.
The offense for the Wildcats consisted of seven hits to go along with six walks and a hit batter. Sophomore first baseman Max Beermann (Tampa, Fla.) reached base twice with a walk and a double, the latter of which came with two outs in the ninth inning and extended his current hitting streak to seven games. Beermann has reached base safely in 12 straight contests and his seven-game hitting streak is the longest by a Villanova hitter on the season.
Penn scored twice in the top of the second inning to grab a 2-0 lead against junior starting pitcher Jeff Courter (Maple Glen, Pa.), who eventually yielded nine hits and five earned runs in four-plus innings. Courter (0-2, 9.17 ERA) walked none and struck out two, with two of the runs on his account scoring after he had left the game.
Matt McKinnon led off the second inning with a triple to right field and Mitch Montaldo followed with a sacrifice fly to drive in the game's first run. Rick Brebner doubled to right and was at third base with two outs in the inning when Matt Greskoff hit a 1-2 pitch back up the middle to add a second run in the frame.
Each of the first two scoring chances for the Wildcats came up empty in the second and fourth innings. Senior center fielder Connor Jones (Chandler, Ariz.) singled to lead off the bottom of the second but was quickly erased on a double play ball. Freshman right fielder Donovan May (Newark, Del.) kept the inning going after the twin killing with a single and Lowe walked but a sinking liner by redshirt freshman left fielder Mike Mecca (Ridgefield, N.J.) was caught on a diving catch in left field to end the inning.
In the home half of the fourth inning senior catcher John Cialone (Houston, Texas) dropped a single into shallow right field and May was hit by a pitch with one out to put the potential tying runs aboard. With two outs in the inning Mecca singled up the middle to load the bases but Quakers reliever Mitch Holtz ended the inning with a strikeout and stranded three runners.
Working on a predetermined pitch count, Penn starter Jake Cousins (1-0, 0.96 ERA) allowed two hits and a walk over two scoreless innings. Six different pitchers combined on the seven-hitter for the Quakers, who Villanova had split two meetings against last season. The second of the two contests between the teams in 2013 came in a Liberty Bell Classic semifinal game and the Wildcats secured a win to advance to the championship round of the local tournament.
Villanova opens a three-game home series against Wagner on Friday afternoon at 3:15 p.m.
NOTES: Cialone threw out two runners trying to steal in the game and has now cut down five of the 11 would-be base stealers against him this season (45.5%) ... Mecca threw out a runner at the plate on a 7-5-2 putout in the top of the fifth inning ... He leads the Wildcats with four outfield assists on the season, while the team has 10 outfield assists as a whole ... After pinch hitting in the bottom of the seventh inning Emling stayed in the game in left field and made a running catch of a long fly ball in deep left-center field to in the top of the eighth ... Junior reliever Kagan Richardson (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) came into the game with a runner on base and two outs in the top of the fifth inning ... He registered one out to escape the inning and has now stranded all 10 runners he has inherited at the start of an appearance this season ... The teams combined to us 38 players in the game, with Villanova using 22 and Penn using 16.