April 2, 2010
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - David Koczirka (Thornton, Pa.) had a pair of run-scoring singles and Villanova (17-5, 2-2 Big East) put up four runs on 10 hits against one of the top starters in the conference, but No. 8 Louisville (22-3, 3-1 Big East) went on to a 12-4 victory on Thursday night at Jim Patterson Stadium in the opener of a three-game series. The Cardinals scored five runs between the sixth and eighth innings to secure the win in a game that started out much more balanced between the two teams.
Dain Hall (Barrington, Ill.) had two hits and two runs scored as five different Wildcats had multi-hit games. Justin Bencsko (Pompton Plains, N.J.) went 2-for-3 with a run scored and also walked twice to reach base safely four times. Chris Johnson (Shrewsbury, N.J.) and Kevin Wager (Chester, Va.) also had two hits apiece for Villanova, which scored in two if its first three at-bats and carried a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the fourth inning.
Louisville countered the offensive attack by the Wildcats with 17 hits of its own, including nine that came from its three and four hitters. Andrew Clark was 5-for-5 with four runs scored and five RBI, and his grand slam during a five-run fourth inning gave the Cardinals a lead they didn't relinquish.
Clark also hit a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning to give Louisville an early 1-0 lead.
Villanova got on the scoreboard in the top of the second inning when it countered with a run to tie the score at 1-1. After there were two outs and nobody on, Wager was hit by a pitch and Marlon Calbi (Montclair, N.J.) hit a sinking line drive into center field. The ball went under the glove of a diving Drew Haynes in center field for the Cardinals and rolled to the wall. Wager scored easily and Calbi was thrown out at home trying for an inside-the-park home run.
In the bottom of the second inning, Zak Wasserman doubled home a run to reestablish a 2-1 lead for Louisville, but the Wildcats again responded to the challenge with two runs produced from the top of the order in the third inning. Bencsko singled with one out and advanced to third on a hit-and-run single by Hall, and the players then successfully executed a delayed double steal that brought in Bencsko with the first run of the inning. Hall scored one out later when Koczirka drove in his first run of the day.
Villanova manufactured another two-out rally in the top of the fifth inning when Hall pushed a bunt up the third base line. Johnson and Koczirka both followed with singles to bring in Hall and get the Wildcats to within 7-4, a margin that lasted until the bottom of the sixth inning.
Starting pitcher Thomas Royse (6-0, 2.03 ERA) entered the game ranked third in the BIG EAST in ERA and went 6 1/3 innings in which he surrendered 10 hits and four earned runs. He walked two and struck out six before two Cardinal relievers combined to get the final eight outs without allowing a run.
Brian Streilein (Staten Island, N.Y.) pitched into the sixth inning and was charged with his first loss of the season for Villanova. Streilein (3-1, 4.10 ERA) walked one and struck out three. The one out that was made between Clark and Wright for the Cardinals came in the bottom of the third inning when Wright went down swinging.
The series continues on Friday at 6 p.m. with Kyle Helisek (Cranberry Township, Pa.) starting for the Wildcats.
NOTES: Matt Szczur (Erma, N.J.) singled to lead off the game for Villanova and extended his hitting streak to a season-high 11 games ... Chris Pack (Darien, Ill.) pitched the bottom of the eighth inning in his season debut for the Wildcats after missing time with an injury earlier in the year.