March 31, 2004
PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA. - Pitchers ruled the day as the Villanova baseball team played La Salle University to a scoreless tie in 11 innings on Wednesday, March 31st at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth in the first round of the 2004 Liberty Bell Classic. After no runs were scored through 11 innings on a cold, damp day in Plymouth Meeting, the game was called due to darkness. The Wildcats (17-5-1) and Explorers (13-7-2) will play again on April 20th, and due to today's tie that game will serve as the first round of the Liberty Bell Classic - with the winner advancing to the tournament's semifinals.
The starting pitchers - Dan Farino of Villanova and Bryan Harvey of La Salle - took control from the opening pitch. Even when they got into trouble, they were able to pitch their way out of the jams.
The Wildcats loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the second, but Harvey struck Villanova centerfielder Darren Griffith out swinging to keep the game scoreless.
In the top of the third inning, the Explorers had runners at first and second with two outs. Farino got third baseman Phil Marino to foul out to third base to end the Explorer's scoring threat.
Farino threw seven shutout innings for the `Cats, allowing just three hits and two walks, while striking out four. Harvey worked five scoreless innings for La Salle.
When the Wildcats and Explorers went to the bullpen, the team's had the same success provided by the starters. Villanova junior Joe McCoy was outstanding in relief for the `Cats. He blanked La Salle in the eighth and ninth innings - his first two innings of work. La Salle hurlers Anthony Boscaglia and Gerard Breslin were equally as impressive, sending the game into extra innings scoreless.
In the top of the tenth inning, the Explorers had a runner at second with one out, but McCoy struck out designated hitter George Hudock and got rightfielder Kevin McCarthy to ground to third to end the inning.
The Wildcats appeared primed to take the game in the bottom of the 11th inning, putting a runner at second with one out; but Breslin, in his third inning of work, put an end to the threat by getting catcher Jim Gillin to ground to second and rightfielder Frank Cirone to pop out to second base.
After the bottom of the 11th inning, the umpire called the game due to darkness, ending the contest in a 0-0 scoreless tie.
In addition to Farino's seven scoreless innings, McCoy tossed four scoreless innings of two-hit relief, striking out four.
Both teams left a number of runners on base in the game - with the `Cats leaving 12 on and the Explorers leaving five on base.
Villanova will get back into action this weekend, traveling to South Bend, Ind., to face the nationally ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish in a three-game series. The Wildcats and Irish will play a doubleheader on Saturday at noon, and wind down the series with a single game on Sunday at noon.