April 12, 2014
CINCINNATI, Ohio - In the second game of a three-game series Villanova (10-21, 2-3 BIG EAST) managed just two hits and was shut out for the third time this season in a 5-0 loss to Xavier (19-14, 5-0 BIG EAST) at Hayden Field on Saturday afternoon. Musketeers starting pitcher Scott Klever (5-3, 3.50 ERA) went the distance in the two-hitter on a day that saw strong pitching from both teams.
The game was scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning with Klever and Wildcats junior Max Almonte (Long Beach, N.Y.) both on top of their game. Almonte (1-3, 4.68 ERA) kept a strong Xavier lineup off balance for his entire outing and had given up just three hits through the first five innings. He retired the side in order in the bottom of the first inning and, after a pair of errors began the home half of the second, retired three straight and 11 of the next 14 through the end of the fifth inning.
In the bottom of the sixth a fly ball by Lou Forney was knocked down by the wind and fell into right field for a leadoff double. A single by Derek Hasenbeck gave the Musketeers runners at the corners with nobody out but Villanova temporarily kept Xavier off the scoreboard when Forney was thrown out trying to score on a fielder's choice grounder to third by Vinny Nittoli. Sophomore third baseman Kevin Jewitt (West Chester, Pa.) fielded Nittoli's grounder and threw to the plate, catching Forney in a rundown and starting what became a 5-2-5-1 putout.
The other base runners advanced to second and third, respectively, during the rundown and Brian Bruening followed with a two-run double to the gap in left-center field which put the Musketeers ahead, 2-0. Jernigan followed with a single to left field to drive in Bruening and extend the margin to three runs. Almonte wound up being charged with three earned runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings.
In the bottom of the eighth inning Nittoli singled up the middle with one out against junior reliever Kagan Richardson (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) and Bruening followed with a fly ball to right field that was just out of the grasp of freshman right fielder Donovan May (Newark, Del.), who ran a long distance to get close to the ball before diving head first onto the elevated warning track in an effort to make the catch. The ball fell in and then bounced away as Nittoli and Bruening each scored.
Freshman second baseman Todd Czinege (Overland Park, Kan.) singled with one out in the fourth inning for the Wildcats first hit of the game, while sophomore first baseman Max Beermann (Tampa, Fla.) doubled down the left field line with two outs in the seventh. Beermann's team-high 11th double of the season extended his hitting streak to 15 games and his on-base streak to 20 straight contests. Czinege and sophomore left fielder Adam Goss (Bellaire, Texas) were each hit by a pitch and senior catcher John Cialone (Houston, Texas) walked to account for the other Villanova base runners in the game.
The series finale is scheduled for Sunday at Noon, with freshman left-hander Hunter Schryver (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) due to make his sixth start of the season.