Wildcats Take Series from USF with Doubleheader Split on Saturday
April 14, 2007
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - Junior Gus Guida (Martinsville, N.J.) doubled home the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fourth inning of the nightcap and Villanova (16-15, 5-7 Big East) split a doubleheader with University of South Florida (26-12, 9-6 Big East) on Saturday at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth. The Wildcats won the second game 6-2 after falling 5-4 in the opener.
Villanova won the weekend series from the Bulls, having also taken the opening game 3-2 in 10 innings on Friday. The Wildcats currently are tied for eighth place in the league standings with Seton Hall and can also claim a series victory over the Pirates (Mar. 31-Apr. 3 in Plymouth Meeting) thus far in the conference schedule. The series win this weekend puts Villanova in good shape to be among the contenders for one of eight spots in the BIG EAST Tournament next month.
The Wildcats held a 2-0 lead in each game on Saturday. In the second game, Villanova opened the scoring on Cotter's two-run single in the bottom of the second inning. With the bases loaded and two out, sophomore Joe Cotter (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) grounded a ball up the middle and USF shortstop Walter Diaz dove to cut it off. Guida scored easily on the play but it was heads-up baserunning by freshman Justin Bencsko (Pompton Plains, N.J.) - who scurried home from second - that allowed the second run to score.
The Bulls tied the game 2-2 in the fourth inning but unlike the first game were unable to take the lead. Junior starting pitcher Jordan Ellis (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) induced one of his 13 groundball outs with two outs and two on to escape the fourth inning. Ellis (3-1, 2.05 ERA) pitched into the ninth without encountering further trouble to earn the win in his first career BIG EAST start.
The right-hander scattered just seven hits and the two earned runs in his longest collegiate outing, walking three batters and striking out two. After a single and a walk started the ninth inning, Ellis turned the game over to sophomore Josh Eidell (Pottstown, Pa.). Eidell needed just nine pitches to close out the game and earn his first career save, and junior first baseman Robert Parks (Brick, N.J.) made a nifty diving catch of a line drive to end the game.
The score wasn't tied for long after USF tied it in the top of the fourth inning. Junior James Dolbier (Lebanon, N.J.) walked to lead off the bottom half and scored the go-ahead run on Guida's double, which was the first extra-base hit of his career (25th career hit). Cotter had a double later in the inning to drive in Guida, while a second run scored on a throwing error getting the ball back into the infield.
Matt Quevedo (3-1, 3.98) took the loss for the Bulls, going 4 2/3 innings and allowing eights hits and six runs (five earned). Brandin Daniel had three hits, including a run-scoring single that plated one of the runs in the fourth inning.
USF took advantage of shoddy defense by Villanova to score three unearned runs among its five in the game. Still, it almost didn't matter as the Wildcats got a spirited rally going in the bottom of the ninth after starting the inning with a 5-3 deficit.
Junior Dan Terpak (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) doubled to start the ninth and advanced to third when ball four to Dolbier was wild pitch. Bencsko singled to pull Villanova to within one run but USF closer Shawn Sanford recorded the second out of the inning on a foul pop-up. The second out brought Cotter to the plate with runners at first and second. He worked the count full and fouled off two 3-2 pitches before taking ball four on the eighth pitch of the at-bat. Sanford had the final say, however, getting a groundball to notch his 10th save of the season.
Junior Derek Shunk (Yardley, Pa.) had two hits and two runs scored in the game and Bencsko also had two hits and a run batted in. It was a big day for Shunk, whose single leading off the fifth inning of the second game moved him into 10th place on the school's all-time list with his 182nd career hit.
The day got off to a good start for the Wildcats, as Shunk doubled to left field for an RBI and senior Jim Gillin (Broomall, Pa.) singled through the left side to stake Villanova to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. USF scored single runs in the second and third innings to tie the game but junior pitcher Ryan Wendler (Conshohocken, Pa.) was able to continually work out of jams to keep the game tied.
The tying run that Wendler allowed in the third inning was unearned and the Bulls got two more unearned runs in the top of the sixth inning to take a 5-2 lead. Villanova committed four errors in the game that led to the three unearned runs. In the bottom half of the sixth, Shunk tripled down the right field line with one out and scored on a USF fielding error with two down to make the score 5-3.
Wendler allowed four hits and four runs (two earned) in five-plus innings, striking out three and issuing six walks. Junior Bill Hoffman (Hopewell Junction, N.Y.) allowed just three hits and one unearned run in four innings of relief. He struck out four and walked just one while throwing more than 70 percent of his pitches for strikes.
Mike Consolmagno had two hits with a run scored and RBI for the Bulls, who drew seven walks in the opening game. Villanova pitching limited USF to 14 hits total on the day and the Bulls hit just .162 (6-for-37) in the series with runners in scoring position.
Chris Delaney (8-0) remained undefeated on the season for the Bulls, earning the win with eight-plus innings of work. He allowed six hits and four runs (three earned) while walking three and striking out five before Davis Bilardello and Sanford finished it in the ninth.
Villanova will play two midweek home games against La Salle (Tuesday at 3 p.m.) and Coppin State (Wednesday at 3 p.m.) before going on the road next weekend for a BIG EAST series against Pittsburgh.