March 29, 2013
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - A pair of unlucky bounces in the top of the seventh inning led to the only two runs of the game and Villanova (6-18, 0-2 BIG EAST) lost 2-0 to Rutgers (10-12, 4-1 BIG EAST) in the second game of a three-game series at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth on Friday afternoon. Senior starting pitcher Stephen Ostapeck (Sacramento, Calif.) was simply terrific in his best start of the season but the Wildcats were shut out for the second straight day and sixth time this season.
Ostapeck (0-3, 4.40 ERA) pitched into the eighth inning and allowed just six hits and two runs. He retired the first nine batters he faced and did not allow a hit until there were two outs in the top of the fourth inning. Ostapeck walked two, struck out three and did not allow more than two hits in any one inning. It was his second quality start of the season and his longest outing since pitching a shutout against St. John's last season on March 24, 2012.
In the top of the seventh inning Vinny Zarrillo led off for the Scarlet Knights and hit a ball up the middle that Villanova freshman second baseman Adam Goss (Bellaire, Texas) ranged far to his right to try and knock down. There was no chance to get Zarrillo at first base but the ball took a bad hop past Goss and Zarrillo was able to get to second base as a result of the fortunate bounce.
Zarrillo moved up to third base on a sacrifice bunt and then came in to score when Steve Zavala singled to right field on a soft liner that grazed Goss' glove as he leaped high in the air in an attempt to snare the ball. Prior to Zarrillo scoring the game's first run Ostapeck and Rutgers starting pitcher Tyler Gebler (2-3, 3.30 ERA) had been locked into a classic pitchers' duel which had the look of continuing to remain scoreless even as the game moved into the later innings.
Two pitches after the run scored a wild pitch while Charlie Law was at the plate allowed Zavala to go all the way from first to third. Ostapeck struck out Law for the second out of the inning but another wild pitch let Zavala score and pushed the Scarlet Knights lead to a 2-0 advantage.
After walking Lou Clemente on five pitches Ostapeck got Pat Sweeney on a pop fly to short which ended the inning. He set down the first two batters in the top of the eighth but then allowed two base runners on a hit by pitch and a walk. Junior right-hander Chris Haggarty (Valley Stream, N.Y.) came in for Ostapeck at that point and Melillo fouled out to first base to end the scoring threat. Haggarty stayed in the game and retired the side in order in the top of the ninth.
The best scoring chances for the Wildcats came in the bottom of the first and eighth innings. Goss led off the first inning with a line drive single into center field and moved into scoring position when senior center fielder Paul Rambaud (Chicago, Ill.) laid down his fourth sacrifice bunt of the season. Goss continued on to third base on a groundout for the second out of the inning but was stranded there.
In the bottom of the eighth inning freshman first baseman Max Beermann (Tampa, Fla.) doubled down the right field line with one out but was also stranded at third to end the inning. Earlier in the game Beermann had been robbed of an extra base hit when he hit a line drive that Law made a leaping catch on for the third out in the bottom of the second inning.
Gebler allowed three hits, walked none and struck out eight in a complete game for Rutgers.
The series finale is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.
NOTES: No players from either team had more than one hit in the game ... After being robbed of a hit in the bottom of the second inning Beermann took a hit away from the Scarlet Knights in the top of the third when he dove to his right to snag a groundball in the hole on the right side, then quickly threw to Ostapeck covering first base for the out ... Villanova turned double plays in the third and fourth innings, marking the first game since March 2 against Florida State that the Wildcats turned two double plays in a game ... The weekend starting rotation of Ostapeck, junior Pat Young (The Woodlands, Texas) and sophomore Josh Harris (Streamwood, Ill.) has a composite 2.95 ERA in 103.2 innings this season ... Villanova has a team fielding percentage of .982 over the past 18 games.