April 2, 2010
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - In the second game of a three-game series, Villanova (17-6, 2-3 Big East) had its offense shut down early on and No. 8 Louisville (23-3, 4-1 Big East) went on to a 7-0 win at Jim Patterson Stadium on Friday night. The first hit of the game for the Wildcats didn't come until there was one out in the fourth inning, by which point the Cardinals had built a 5-0 lead that was never in jeopardy.
For the second straight day, Villanova had two runners on base in the top of the first inning but was not able to get a run home. With two outs and nobody on, Dain Hall (Barrington, Ill.) hit a ball hard up the middle but it was misplayed and Hall was safe at first on what was ruled to be a fielding error. David Koczirka (Thornton, Pa.) followed with a walk to move Hall into scoring position before Louisville starting pitcher Dean Kiekhefer (3-1, 3.07) induced a groundball out to end the scoring threat.
The out to end the top of the first inning was the first of eight straight batters retired by Kiekhefer until Koczirka doubled down the left field line with one out in the top of the fourth inning. The left-handed Kiekhefer pitched effectively against an almost exclusively right-handed Wildcat lineup. He wound up going the distance in a five-hit shutout, during which he walked just one while striking out five. Villanova had just one base runner over the final three innings.
The five hits for the Wildcats came from five different hitters, including a two-out single by Matt Szczur (Erma, N.J.) in the top of the eighth inning which extended the team's longest hitting streak of the season to 12 games. Each of the top four hitters in the lineup had a hit for Villanova, as did number nine hitter Marlon Calbi (Montclair, N.J.).
Louisville scored four times in the bottom of the second inning behind a leadoff home run from Adam Duvall and later a two-run single by Stewart Ijames. The Cardinals needed just three hits to bat around in the frame, which also included a walk, hit batter, wild pitch and an error that allowed a fourth, unearned run to score.
In the top of the fifth inning, the score was still 5-0 when Justin Bencsko (Pompton Plains, N.J.) and Hall reached on back-to-back singles to start the inning and another potential Wildcat scoring rally. Bencsko was picked off second base for the first out, however, and Koczirka grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Starting pitcher Kyle Helisek (Cranberry Township, Pa.) started for Villanova in a matchup of two left-handed pitchers. He went 5 2/3 innings and allowed 10 hits and all seven Louisville runs, of which six were earned. Helisek (3-2, 2.88 ERA) walked two and struck out one. He recovered from the rocky third inning to retire seven of the next nine batters that he faced, including an inning-ending double play in the fourth inning and a strikeout of Cade Stallings to end the fifth inning.
After setting down the first two batters in the bottom of the sixth inning, however, Helisek surrendered back-to-back home runs to Adam Duvall and Andrew Clark which chased him from the game. Jerry Battipaglia (Katonah, N.Y.) worked the final 2 1/3 innings for the Wildcats and struck out four batters in a scoreless outing. He allowed just one hit and one walk and retired Duvall and Clark in succession to end the bottom of the eighth inning.
Duvall was 4-for-5 and added two singles to his pair of home runs. Clark had two hits and two runs scored and Ijames finished 2-for-4 with two RBI for the Cardinals.
The final game of the three-game series is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. Kyle McMyne (Old Forge, Pa.) starts for Villanova and will look for his fourth win of the season.
NOTES: Szczur is batting .500 (26-52) during his current hitting streak ... Battipaglia has pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings over his last three appearances, during which time he has allowed just two hits and two walks while striking out nine ... The announced attendance of 3,707 at tonight's game was the sixth-largest crowd in the history of Jim Patterson Stadium.