Wildcats Rally in Nightcap, Split Doubleheader with Pittsburgh
April 13, 2006
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - In the second game of a Big East Conference doubleheader on Thursday, Villanova (15-17, 2-8 Big East) tied the game with two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and went ahead for good one inning later. The Wildcats picked up a split against Pittsburgh (13-19, 4-10) to open a three-game series, falling 9-5 in the opening game before rallying for the 6-3 victory in the second game.
Villanova trailed 3-1 midway through the nightcap before its comeback got started on a two-run double down the left field line by Craig Mirsky (Holland, Pa.) that tied the game at 3-3 after five innings. Junior Andy Wendle (New London, Pa.) hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth to put the Wildcats ahead for the first time in the game, and two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth slammed the door on the Panthers.
Senior Jeremy Hunt (Tampa, Fla.) went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI in the 6-3 victory. He delivered the team's first run on a long home run in the bottom of the fourth home run, adding to his conference lead with his 10th homer of the season. Hunt (.303, 10 HR, 35 RBI, .688 SLG%) smashed a ball that soared over the batter's eye atop the centerfield fence at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth. The fence itself is 405 feet from home plate. Hunt also doubled home a run and eventually scored himself in a two-run eighth inning that padded a one-run lead.
On the mound, freshman Josh Eidell (Norristown, Pa.) threw seven strong innings and was credited with his first collegiate victory. Eidell (1-2, 4.20 ERA) allowed six hits and two earned runs (three total) in his third conference start, walking just one and striking out six. He lowered his ERA in Big East games to just 2.37 and strode off the mound to loud cheers after striking out the final two batters of the seventh inning to protect a 4-3 margin.
Pittsburgh plated single runs in the second, third and fifth innings to take a 3-1 lead, but then managed just one runner in the final four innings. Sophomore Gus Guida (Martinsville, N.J.) threw two perfect innings for his first save of the season.
Rob Brant (3-5) struck out 10 batters in seven innings but was charged with eight hits and six runs (four earned) allowed on the short end of the decision. Jim Negrych had three of the Panthers' six hits in the second game and drove in two runs. He launched his fifth home run of the season to right-center in the fifth inning, and wound up with six hits total on the day.
In the opening game, Pittsburgh erased what had been a 4-0 Wildcat lead with five runs in the top of the third inning off Villanova junior starter Mike Loree (Gillette, N.J.). The Wildcats tied the score 5-5 in the fourth inning, but the Panthers eased back in front 6-5 with a run in the fifth. Villanova was unable to take advantage of opportunities to tie the score over the next three innings, and Pittsburgh scored three times in the top of the ninth inning to put the game out of reach.
Freshman Joe Rosati (Havertown, Pa.) hit a three-run home run as part of a four-run first inning that spotted the Wildcats a quick lead against Panthers starter Billy Muldowney (3-3). Mirsky and sophomore Ryan Arcadia (Upper Saddle River, N.J.) had two hits apiece in the first game, as did senior Kris Molloy (Hillsborough, N.J.).
David Cline, Dan Williams and Rob Lawler all tripled during Pitt's five-run rally in the third inning and chased Loree after 2.2 innings. Williams had two hits and two runs scored in the game, while Negrych was 3-for-4 and scored twice as well. Villanova was hurt by leaving 12 runners on base in the game while going just 4-of-14 with runners in scoring position.
Redshirt sophomore reliever Frank Jankowski (Berwick, Pa.) allowed two hits and an earned run over 3.1 innings, but was charged with the loss after allowing the Panthers a run in the top of the fifth inning. Muldowney wound up allowing 12 hits and five earned runs in seven innings, while walking four and striking out six. Kyle Landis pitched two perfect innings with four strikeouts to earn his first save of the season.
The final game of the three-game series will be played on Saturday at Noon. Junior Kevin Mulvey (Parlin, N.J.) will take the hill for the Wildcats opposite Panthers starter Paul Nardozzi.