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Wildcats Advance to Finals of Liberty Bell Classic
April 15, 1998

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- At Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Pa., the Villanova Wildcats advanced to the Liberty Bell Classic championship game with a convincing 16-4 win over the St. Joseph's Hawks. Villanova will now play Delaware on Thursday, April 16 at 7 p.m. in the title game. This will be the fourth time in seven years that Villanova and Delaware have played in the Liberty Bell finals.

Villanova started quickly against St. Joseph's, as the Cats tallied 10 runs on eight hits in the bottom of the first to take a commanding 10-1 lead after one at bat. In the 10-run first, Villanova senior second baseman Tom Shank hit a three-run home run, while junior designated hitter Dan Boublis cracked a two-run opposite field homer. Freshman right fielder Matt Longo added a double in the Wildcat first.

In the bottom of the third, Boublis, senior third baseman Rick Welsh and Shank hit consecutive doubles giving Villanova a 12-1 advantage. Villanova increased its lead to 16-1 by tallying four runs in the fourth. The big hit of the Wildcat fourth was a two RBI single by Shank. Shank finished the game, three-for-four with a home run, a double and six RBI.

St. Joseph's would score one in the fifth and two in the sixth to cut the Villanova lead to 16-4. However, after the Hawks failed to score in the seventh, the game was called due to the 12-run mercy rule.

Boublis ended the night going two-for-two with a home run, a double and four runs scored, while Longo was three-for-four to go with a double, three runs scored and two RBI. In the Liberty Bell Tournament, Longo is five-of-six at the plate.

On the hill, Villanova junior Brian Buckingham pitched four innings of one-hit baseball to earn the win. Freshman Aaron Krawiec had a strong performance, striking out three batters in one inning of work.

The Wildcats, who improved to 17-12-1 with the victory, return to action on Wednesday, April 15 when they travel to Georgetown to take on the Hoyas in a Big East contest.