March 28, 2004
PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA. - The Villanova baseball team defeated the University of Connecticut, 4-2, on Sunday, March 28th at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth as the Wildcats completed a three-game sweep of the Huskies. It was Villanova's first sweep of a three-game Big East Conference series since the `Cats swept Pittsburgh on March 5-6, 2001. The victory was the Wildcats' sixth straight this season and improved their record to 17-5 overall and 3-0 in Big East Conference play. Villanova finished the week with a perfect 5-0 record, defeating Saint Joseph's (14-3 on March 23rd) and Temple (11-9 on March 24th) and sweeping UConn (3-1, 8-0 and 4-2) in three games.
Starters Kevin Mulvey of Villanova and Brendan McGinn of Connecticut exchanged zeros through the first three innings of play on Sunday, sending the game into the fourth inning scoreless.
In the top of the fourth inning, the Huskies took the game's first lead getting an RBI double by catcher Mike Leonard to claim the 1-0 advantage.
Connecticut (9-9 overall, 0-3 Big East) would not hold the lead for long, as the Wildcat offense rallied in the bottom of the fourth inning. Third baseman Angelo Petracca got things started for Villanova laying down a leadoff bunt single. After advancing to second on a wild pitch, Petracca came around to score on an RBI double down the leftfield line by rightfielder Alan Day to tie the game up at 1-1. The Wildcats took their first lead two batters later when leftfielder Brian Newbold lined an RBI single up the middle scoring Day to give Villanova a one-run lead at 2-1.
In the top of the sixth inning, the Huskies knotted the contest at 2-2, with the tying run coming home on a Mulvey wild pitch. Shortstop Dave Tokarz hit a one-out double past a diving Day in right field to start the UConn rally. After stealing third base, Tokarz took advantage of a pitch in the dirt that rolled past Wildcat catcher Jim Gillin, as the Husky senior scampered home with the tying run.
The game remained tied until the bottom of the seventh inning. First baseman Adrian Schau led the inning off with a hard single through the left side. After a sacrifice bunt by shortstop Brian Trotta moved Schau up to second base, Josh MacDonald came on in relief of McGinn for Connecticut. Gillin ripped an 0-1 fastball by MacDonald to leftfield for a double, plating Schau with the go-ahead run to give Villanova the 3-2 lead. The Wildcats added one more in the inning on an RBI double by centerfielder Kris Molloy to take a 4-2 advantage after seven innings.
Villanova right-hander Mike Grodecki, who came on one inning earlier for Mulvey, worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning to help the `Cats maintain their two-run lead.
With the Wildcats still leading 4-2 in the top of the ninth inning, the Huskies put their first two runners of the inning on base, on a walk and a hitter batter by Grodecki. Schau relieved Grodecki with two on and no outs in the ninth and went to work. Schau struck out the first two batters he faced in the inning and faced Connecticut rightfielder Tim Dempsey with the chance to end the game and give the `Cats the three-game sweep. The Wildcat closer did just that - getting Dempsey to ground weekly to Craig Mirsky as second base for the game's final out as Villanova emerged victorious, 4-2.
Grodecki (2-1) earned the win on the mound for the Wildcats, throwing one and a third innings of scoreless relief. Schau pitched a scoreless ninth to record his fourth save. Mulvey looked strong on Sunday for the `Cats, allowing just two runs on five hits in six and two-thirds innings, striking out three and walking three.
McGinn took the loss for the Huskies to fall to 0-1 on the season. He surrendered three runs on nine hits in six and a third inning, striking out four.
At the plate for Villanova, Petracca kept up his hot hitting, going two-for-three with a run scored. Molloy also posted two hits for the Wildcats, going two-for-four with a double and an RBI. In addition, Day went one-for-four with a double and an RBI, Newbold went one-for-four with an RBI and Gillin went one-for-one with a double and the game-winning RBI.
Villanova will get back into action on Wednesday, March 31st, hosting the La Salle Explorers at 3:00 p.m., at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth.