March 30, 2013
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - Junior right fielder Connor Jones (Chandler, Ariz.) hit a three-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning to cut a four-run deficit down to just one but Villanova (6-19, 0-3 BIG EAST) wound up losing by a 9-4 final score to Rutgers (11-12, 5-1 BIG EAST) at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth on Saturday afternoon. The visiting Scarlet Knights added three insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning and swept the three-game series.
Jones hit his first home run of the season and freshman third baseman Kevin Jewitt (West Chester, Pa.) had two hits for the Wildcats, who finished the day with eight hits total and also drew four walks. Villanova had 10 different players reach base safely at least once in the game.
In the bottom of the sixth inning the Wildcats trailed 4-0 when Jones hit a full count offering over the fence in right field. He is the first player this season - including both Villanova and its opponents - to homer at the Wildcats pitcher-friendly ballpark. His second career long ball produced the first runs of the entire weekend for Villanova, which was shut out in back-to-back games (6-0 and 2-0) to begin the series.
Freshman first baseman Max Beermann (Tampa, Fla.) singled with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning and sophomore designated hitter Brandon Carr (Tampa, Fla.) drew a walk. After a strikeout for the second out of the inning Jones got ahead of Scarlet Knights starting pitcher Charlie Law (2-2, 6.14 ERA) and hit a ball that carried well as it continued to rise towards the right field wall.
Earlier in the game the Rutgers scored twice in the top of the first inning and once each in the third and fifth innings to take a 4-0 lead. The two runs in the first inning each scored on the same wild pitch when the ball got away from home plate and could not immediately be tracked down. The advantageous bounce allowed both Matt Tietz and Nick Favatalla to score the game's first runs.
Sophomore starting pitcher Josh Harris (Streamwood, Ill.) did all he could to keep the Scarlet Knights from putting the game out of reach. He had six strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings and was charged with eight hits, four walks and four earned runs allowed. He avoided serious trouble though, stranding the bases loaded in the top of the third inning and again in the top of the fifth. Junior Chris Haggarty (Valley Cottage, N.Y.) replaced Harris (2-4, 2.09 ERA) with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth inning and retired the first batter he faced to escape the jam. Haggarty allowed one just more hit and an earned run in 2 1/3 innings pitched.
The last run for the Wildcats came in the bottom of the ninth inning when senior second baseman Tyler Sciacca (Staten Island, N.Y.) singled to drive in senior pinch hitter Brandon Clark (Spring, Texas), who had singled to lead off the inning. Villanova sent up five pinch hitters in the game and they combined to go 2-for-4 with a hit by pitch.
Law pitched the first six innings for Rutgers and allowed three earned runs on three hits, while walking four and striking out eight. When his pitching outing was done he stayed in the game as the designated hitter and was 2-for-2 with a run scored and two runs batted in. Rob Corsi allowed one earned run on five hits over the final three innings and registered his second save of the season.
Coming up on Tuesday afternoon the Wildcats will compete in the semifinal round of the Liberty Bell Classic, with Villanova visiting Penn for a 3 p.m. contest. The winner advances to the championship game of the local tournament, which will be played at the Phillies' Citizens Bank Park.