April 3, 2013
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - Sophomore pitcher Jeff Courter (Maple Glen, Pa.) made his first collegiate start a memorable one on Wednesday afternoon, as he pitched 8 1/3 innings without allowing an unearned run and pitched Villanova (8-19) to a 3-1 victory over La Salle (9-16) at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth to earn his first career victory. Courter (1-0, 5.23 ERA) allowed just five hits - all singles - while walking two and striking out three in a terrific outing.
Two errors led to an unearned run in the top of the first inning but the Explorers did not score again. After that first inning Courter quickly got into a groove and was dominant in the middle innings. He allowed a leadoff single to Kevin Baron in the top of the third inning but then retired 15 of the next 17 batters he faced.
Villanova tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the second inning and then pushed home two runs in the fifth inning to take the lead. Freshman shortstop Eric Lowe (Arlington Heights, Ill.) and sophomore first baseman Brandon Carr (Danville, Calif.) each had two hits and a run scored for the Wildcats, who outhit La Salle by a 6-5 margin on a cold and windy afternoon that felt more like the first week of March than the beginning of April.
In the bottom of the second inning Carr caught the defense off guard and bunted for a leadoff single to get Villanova started offensively. Freshman third baseman Kevin Jewitt (West Chester, Pa.) sacrificed Carr to second and freshman first baseman Max Beermann (Tampa, Fla.) doubled to left-center field to drive in the tying run. Beermann was 1-for-2 with a walk in the game and is hitting .417 (5-for-12) during a current four-game hitting streak.
Senior center fielder Paul Rambaud (Chicago, Ill.) was hit by a pitch with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning and went from first to third when Lowe pinch hit and lined a hard single back up the middle. Senior second baseman Tyler Sciacca (Staten Island, N.Y.) grounded out to drive in Rambaud and senior left fielder Steve Schrenk (Brigantine, N.J.) followed with a single up the middle which scored the second run of the inning.
The lead was just enough for the Wildcats when the Explorers threatened in the top of the ninth inning. Courter allowed a leadoff single in the inning and then induced a fielder's choice groundout for the first out. He then turned the game over to the Villanova bullpen but a hit batter and a walk loaded the bases for La Salle with still only one out. At that point senior reliever Matt Longfield (Miami, Fla.) entered the game and struck the two batters that he faced to end the game and earn his first save of the season.
Shawn O'Neill (2-4, 7.82 ERA) was the losing pitcher in relief for the Explorers after allowing the two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. He went two innings and allowed the two earned runs on two hits while walking none and striking out two. Mark Williams had two hits to lead La Salle offensively.
After playing at home each of the last four weekends the Wildcats go on the road for their second series in conference play. Villanova travels to Notre Dame for games on Friday (5:35 p.m.), Saturday afternoon (2:05 p.m.) and Sunday afternoon (1:05 p.m.).