April 10, 2011
PITTSBURGH, Pa. - For the third straight game Villanova (13-18, 2-7 Big East) scored first with multiple runs but a pair of two-out runs in the top of the first inning was all the team could manage for most of a 7-3 loss to Pittsburgh (19-11, 6-3 Big East) at Charles L. Cost Field on Sunday afternoon. Junior first baseman Kevin Wager (Fairfax, Va.) drove in both runs for the Wildcats in the top of the first inning but the Panthers still went on to complete a sweep of the weekend series.
Villanova was retired in order just once in the entire game but stranded 11 runners on base and was held off the scoreboard from the second inning until a late two-out rally in the ninth. Eight of the nine starters had at least one hit for the Wildcats and Wager finished the day 2-for-4 with two RBI. Junior shortstop Marlon Calbi (Montclair, N.J.) singled in the fifth inning to extend his hitting streak to 11 games and wound up 2-for-5 while junior right fielder Matt Fleishman (East Northport, N.Y.) had a single in the first inning to extend his streak of games reaching base safely to 27 in a row.
Three hits and a hit batter after there were two outs and nobody on in the top of the first inning led to the runs for Villanova but a similar rally by Pittsburgh in the bottom of the second tied the game at 2-2. There wound up being five consecutive run-scoring innings for the Panthers, who went ahead 7-2 after six innings and maintained their advantage from there.
Sophomore starting pitcher Kevin MacLachlan (Matawan, N.J.) was charged with 10 hits and six earned runs in five innings of work, while walking two and striking out one. After allowing the tying runs to score in the bottom of the second inning he did a good job in the third inning to surrender just one run after a bases-loaded, one-out jam. MacLachlan (1-4, 5.83 ERA) also allowed a run in the fourth and two more in the fifth on a two-run home run that hit off the top edge of the wall in left-center field.
After there were two outs and nobody on in the top of the ninth inning the Wildcats mounted a late comeback bid. Senior third baseman David Koczirka (Thornton, Pa.) drew a walk from reliever Ray Black and Calbi followed with a single. Black then issued consecutive walks to senior designated hitter Dain Hall (Barrington, Ill.) and Fleishman, the latter of which forced home Koczirka with what proved to be the final run of the day. Cole Taylor came on to retire junior left fielder Andrew Geenen (Portola Valley, Calif.) with the bases loaded to end the game and earn his first save of the season.
In the top of the first inning Hall and Fleishman each beat out infield hits and Geenen was hit by a pitch from starting pitcher Ethan Mildren (3-2, 2.83 ERA) to load the bases for Wager, who drilled a 1-and-0 pitch back through the box and into center field to plate two runs.
Mildren wound up going eight innings and allowing nine hits while walking none and striking out six. Four of the hits he allowed went for extra bases, as Geenen and junior catcher Adam Nelson (St. Joseph, Mo.) both doubled and Koczirka and freshman second baseman Michael Erb (Camarillo, Calif.) hit triples.
Villanova was playing on the road for the first time in conference play this season. Next up for the Wildcats is the championship game of the Liberty Bell Classic at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday night. Villanova will be taking on Delaware in search of its fourth tournament title.
NOTES: Hall tied former teammate Ryan Arcadia (2005-08) for sixth place in school history with his 107th career walk in the ninth inning ... He is now six walks behind Derek Shunk (2005-08) for fifth place (113 walks).