April 14, 2013
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - In the finale of a three-game series Villanova (9-25, 1-8 BIG EAST) gave up four runs in the top of the ninth inning to stretch out what had been a close contest and lost to Connecticut (22-13, 8-4 BIG EAST) by a 9-4 score at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth on Sunday afternoon.
Junior right fielder Connor Jones (Chandler, Ariz.) hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning and also had a walk and a run scored earlier in the game. The bottom third of the Wildcats lineup combined for five hits with three runs scored and three runs batted in for the game. Freshman first baseman Max Beermann (Tampa, Fla.) had two hits, including an RBI single, and freshman shortstop Eric Lowe (Arlington Heights, Ill.) was 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Villanova had an early 2-0 lead after scoring single runs in the bottom of the second and third innings but the Huskies scored in similar fashion during the fourth and fifth innings to tie the score at 2-2. In the top of the sixth innings back-to-back hits with two outs plated three runs as Connecticut grabbed a 5-2 lead.
Jones' home run in the bottom of the seventh got the Wildcats back to within a run before the Huskies pulled away in their final turn at the plate. Connecticut finished the game with 15 hits, 10 of which came with runners on base. The bottom of the order was also productive for the Huskies, as the 6-7-8 hitters in their lineup combined for seven hits, five runs scored and four runs batted in.
In the bottom of the second inning sophomore designated hitter Brandon Carr (Danville, Calif.) drew a leadoff walk and freshman third baseman Kevin Jewitt (West Chester, Pa.) sacrificed him to second. With two outs in the inning Beermann laced a single to right field and Carr came home to score the first run of the game.
The same formula worked in the third inning, when Jones walked to start the inning and moved into scoring position when senior center fielder Paul Rambaud (Chicago, Ill.) laid down a sacrifice bunt. Senior left fielder Steve Schrenk (Brigantine, N.J.) and senior second baseman Tyler Sciacca (Staten Island, N.Y.) each followed with singles, the latter of which drove in Jones and put Villanova in front by two runs.
Jones hit his second home run of the season with nobody out in the bottom of the seventh inning after Lowe singled to right field to start the inning. For the game the Wildcats got their leadoff man on base in six of nine innings and scored on three of those occasions, thanks in part to tying a season high with three sacrifice bunts.
Sophomore starting pitcher Josh Harris (Streamwood, Ill.) got into immediate trouble in the top of the sixth inning with the score tied 2-2, then nearly managed to escape the inning altogether. Bryan Daniello led off the inning with a walk and then went to third on a hit-and-run single by Max McDowell. Harris had his back to the wall with runners at the corners and nobody out but roared back to strike out Jon Testani and Tom Verdi in succession.
With two outs in the inning Villanova went to the bullpen and Billy Ferriter hit a two-run single against junior reliever Chris Haggarty (Valley Cottage, N.Y.) to give Connecticut a 4-2 lead. LJ Mazzilli followed with an RBI double for a 5-2 margin before Haggarty comfortably settled in. He pitched into the ninth inning with just one more hit allowed before the Huskies hitters took control of the game.
Harris (3-5, 2.92 ERA) wound up allowing four runs (three earned) in 5 2/3 innings, while walking three, striking out four and allowing seven hits.
Huskies starting pitcher Brian Ward (2-2, 3.07 ERA) allowed four hits and two earned runs in five-plus innings, while walking four and striking out five. Will Jolin pitched the final three innings and had four strikeouts for the Huskies.
Villanova will be in action on Tuesday night when it faces Delaware in the championship game of the Liberty Bell Classic. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and tickets will be sold for $5.00 at the door.