April 10, 2010
STORRS, Conn. - A two-out single in the bottom of the 10th inning ended what had been a terrific pitchers' duel in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon, as Villanova (18-9, 2-5 Big East) was defeated, 2-1, by Connecticut (20-7, 5-2 Big East) at J.O. Christian Field.
Mike Nemeth scored from second and slid into home plate safe by just inches on the final play of the game. He had singled with one out and advanced to second on a wind-affected ball that was dropped in center field. Kevin Crimmel (Harrisburg, Pa.) then registered the second out of the inning before Joe Pavone singled up the middle on a 3-and-2 pitch to deliver the walk-off victory for the Huskies.
The game was scoreless until the seventh inning as Brian Streilein (Staten Island, N.Y.) and Connecticut's Elliot Glynn went head-to-head in a matchup of two of the league's best pitchers. In the end, neither starter factored into the decision despite both turning in one of their best respective efforts of the season.
Streilein went 7 2/3 innings and allowed just one earned run on five hits while walking four and striking out seven. It was the fourth time in seven starts this season that he struck out at least seven batters, and the only blemish against him came when Mike Olt homered with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning.
After not getting a hit until the fifth inning, the Wildcats scored first in the top of the seventh when Marlon Calbi (Montclair, N.J.) drilled a run-scoring double to right-center field to bring in Kevin Wager (Chester, Va.). With one out in the inning, Wager reached on an error and Adam Nelson (St. Joseph, Mo.) laid down a sacrifice bunt to move him into scoring position.
The lone unearned run for Villanova against Glynn looked for a while like it would be more than enough support for Streilein, who cruised into the eighth inning working on a three-hit shutout. He endured a long first inning in which he worked around an error and a walk to quickly settle into a rhythm. Streilein walked Pavone with one out in the second inning and then retired 14 of the next 16 batters he faced through the end of the sixth inning. He set down eight straight batters at one point during that stretch, including striking out the side in the fifth inning.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Connecticut had runners at second and third with two outs and the top of the order coming up. The Wildcats chose to intentionally walk Pierre LePage and Streilein got Nick Ahmed to line out to short to end the inning with the bases left loaded.
Olt homered in the bottom of the eighth inning to tie the game after the first two batters of the inning had been retired. Kevin Vance followed with a single and Crimmel (4-1, 2.37 ERA) came in and needed just one pitch to retire Pavone to end the inning. He also worked around a two-out walk in the bottom of the ninth inning with a pair of strikeouts to send the contest into an extra frame. The winning run that scored against Crimmel in the bottom of the 10th inning was unearned due to the error in center field.
Although neither team had a hit until LaPage led off the bottom of the third inning with a double, both teams had their share of scoring chances in the early and middle innings of the game. In the top of the fourth inning, David Koczirka (Thornton, Pa.) walked with one out, while Tyler Sciacca (Staten Island, N.Y.) and Wager were each hit by a pitch with two outs to load the bases. Glynn notched one of his five strikeouts on the day to end the inning, however.
Glynn didn't allow a hit until Matt Szczur (Erma, N.J.) singled to lead off the top of the fifth inning. He wound up going eight innings and allowing just three hits and the one unearned run while walking four and striking out five. Sciacca singled to start the top of the ninth inning and Scott Oberg (3-0, 1.71 ERA) came in and pitched the final two innings for the Huskies.
The second game of Saturday's doubleheader was set to begin at 3:25 p.m.
NOTES: In addition to the good pitching overall in the game, the pitchers from both sides stepped it up with runners on base ... Villanova was just 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position and 1-for-13 with runners on base, while stranding eight runners in the game ... Meanwhile, Connecticut was 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and 1-for-17 with runners on base while stranding 10 ... Villanova is playing its first doubleheader of the season today, and naturally the opener of the twin-bill was the team's first game of the year to go into extra innings ... During the game, Streilein moved into seventh place in school history with 249.0 innings pitched ... He passed both Kevin Mulvey (2004-06) and Trevor Pepkowski (1994-97) today and is now 10 innings behind Tom Kandybowicz (2000-03) in sixth place ... Streilein also moved up two spots to eighth place in career strikeouts and now has 193 ... He passed Frank Kreutzer (1959-60) and Aaron Krawiec (1998-00) today and is eight strikeouts behind Russell Gianforcaro (1983-86) in seventh place ... In terms of milestones, Streilein needs one more inning pitched to reach 250 for his career and seven more strikeouts to hit the 200 plateau ... Crimmel pitched in his 59th career game and moved into a tie for eighth place at Villanova with Bob Grzenda (1999-02) ... He is one appearance behind Dan Farino (2001-04) in seventh place ... Calbi's run-scoring double extended his hitting streak to a season-best seven games ... He is batting .385 (10-26) during the streak.