PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - Sophomore starting pitcher Jonathan Rosero (Middle Village, N.Y.) tied a career high with six strikeouts and pitched effectively into the seventh inning in the home opener, but Villanova (3-13) allowed a Wofford (13-14) comeback later in that top of the seventh and came out on the short end of a 7-3 decision in the opening game of a doubleheader at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth on Saturday afternoon. The teams played a seven-inning opening game, followed by a nine-inning nightcap which the Terriers won by a 13-0 score.
Offense for either team was hard to come by in the early innings on a cold and windy day. Temperatures never escaped the upper 40’s during the day, and the conditions played a part in Rosero and Wofford starter Adam Scott carrying a scoreless pitchers’ duel into the bottom of the fifth inning. Villanova got on the board first and plated three runs in their half of the fifth inning. The lead was still 3-0 with only three outs needed to close out a victory, but the Terriers sent 12 men to the plate and put seven runs on the board in their final turn at-bat.
Rosero allowed just one earned run on five hits while walking none and striking out six. He ended the second, third and fourth innings with swinging strikeouts to strand runners on base, and had retired eight of the previous nine batters entering the seventh inning.
Sophomore third baseman David Rodgers (West Chester, Pa.) tripled to right field with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning to start what turned into a three-run Wildcats rally. Freshman shortstop Timothy Lilly (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) lifted a soft liner into shallow right field for an RBI single which scored the game’s first run, while senior right fielder Donovan May (Newark, Del.) beat out an infield hit to keep the table set for further run-scoring chances.
The runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch, which was followed by freshman left fielder Tyler Bruno (Breinigsville, Pa.) delivering an RBI single and next by senior second baseman Todd Czinege (Overland Park, Kan.) hitting a sacrifice fly for a 3-0 lead.
May had two hits and a run scored for the game, while sophomore catcher Doug deMarrais (Bernardsville, N.J.) went 2-for-3 on a day when eight of the batters in the Villanova starting lineup had at least one hit. Bruno and Rodgers each had a hit and were hit by a pitch.
Wofford started its big rally in the seventh inning with a single through the left side by Max McDougald. Sophomore reliever Jason Applegate (Columbus, N.J.) replaced Rosero at that point, and the Terriers eventually loaded the bases with one out on a walk and a hit batter. In between, sophomore third baseman Juan De La Espriella (Westin, Fla.) made a nice stop of a hard chopper with runners at second and third and nobody out. He got the out at first while looking the runners back to their respective bases, but the reprieve turned out to be a temporary one.
After loading the bases, the Terriers got their first run of the game when sophomore Zach Lutner (Sicklerville, N.J.) walked McClain Bradley to force in a run. Brett Hash followed and hit a fielder’s choice to third. An errant throw to the plate allowed two runs to score as Wofford pulled even at 3-3. Mack Nathanson singled in the go-ahead run, while three more run-scoring singles before the inning finally ended gave the Terriers a comfortable lead.
Wofford reliever Reese Maniscalco (1-0, 7.20 ERA) pitched a scoreless sixth inning and earned the win, while Lutner (0-1) took the loss on the Wildcats side.
The final game of the series is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m.
NOTES: Villanova finally opened the home portion of its schedule with Saturday’s doubleheader … The first three scheduled home games of the season, which would have been part of the Big 5 Baseball Bash, were all cancelled due to unplayable field conditions during the weekend of March 17-19 … The opening game of this weekend’s series against Wofford was rained out on Friday, forcing the Saturday twin-bill … This is the latest in a season the Wildcats have played their first home game since 1994 … Rosero previously had six strikeouts in his first start of the season at Norfolk State (2/19) … May is batting .407 during a current six-game hitting streak.