March 28, 2013
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - Junior starting pitcher Pat Young (The Woodlands, Texas) made his fourth consecutive quality start but Villanova (6-17, 0-1 BIG EAST) was shut out for the fifth time this season and lost its conference opener to Rutgers (9-12, 3-1 BIG EAST) by a final score of 6-0 at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth on Thursday afternoon. The teams began a three-game series and the visiting Scarlet Knights led the entire way after scoring a run in the top of the first inning.
Young (1-3, 3.29 ERA) struck out six and allowed just five hits in seven innings pitched. He has given up just five earned runs over 27.0 innings in his past four starts while striking out 41 and allowing just 16 hits in that span. The only runs that scored against him in Thursday's game came on two-out base hits in the first and fifth innings.
Rutgers starting pitcher Rob Smorol (3-1, 2.38 ERA) limited the Wildcats to five hits over eight scoreless innings while walking one and striking out eight. He gave up just five singles to Villanova, which added two more hits in the ninth inning against Scarlet Knights reliever Charlie Lasky and finished with seven hits for the day.
Sophomore third baseman B.J. Bochicchio (Moosic, Pa.) had a season-high three hits but the Wildcats had just one runner get as far as third base in the game. Villanova loaded the bases against Lasky in the bottom of the ninth inning before Howie Brey struck out the final batter of the game.
In the top of the first inning Rutgers second baseman Nick Favatella singled with one out and stole second to get into scoring position. With two down in the inning Vinny Zarrillo singled through the left side and a throw from senior left fielder Steve Schrenk (Brigantine, N.J.) beat Favatella to the plate but the ball came loose as Favatella was touching the plate to score the game's first run.
Similar circumstances affected the top of the fifth inning, as Pat Sweeney walked with one out and was then forced out at second base on a fielder's choice groundball for out number two. The ball came loose at second base on that play before a relay throw could be made to first for a double play however, and that made Matt Tietz a two-out base runner at first base. He stole second and then scored when Favatella doubled to left-center field on a full count. Brian O'Grady walked and Zarrillo followed with a single through the right side to score another run.
Despite the 3-0 lead for the Scarlet Knights the game was in reach until the final inning, as three runs scored for Rutgers in the top of the ninth inning to pad the final margin. Favatella and O'Grady hit back-to-back doubles which drove in all three of the runs in the top of the ninth. Favatella finished the day 3-for-5 with three runs scored and three runs batted in, while Zarrillo was also 3-for-5 and drove in two runs.
The second game of the series is scheduled for Friday afternoon at 3:30 p.m., when senior right-hander Stephen Ostapeck (Sacramento, Calif.) makes his fifth start of the season for the Wildcats. He is due to be opposed by Scarlet Knights right-hander Tyler Gebler.