PHILADELPHIA, PA-- After losing to the University of Delaware Blue Hens in three previous Liberty Bell Tournament championship games, the Villanova Wildcats finally defeated the No. 22 ranked Hens, 10-6, to capture the seventh annual Liberty Bell title. With the win, Villanova improves to 20-12-1 on the season, while Delaware falls to 26-6.
With the scored tied at 6-6 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Villanova loaded the bases with two outs. On the first pitch, senior second baseman Tom Shank earned an RBI the hard way by being hit by a pitch in the arm, giving the 'Cats a 7-6 lead. Freshman Matt Longo hit a grounder to third that Blue Hen third baseman Frank DiMaggio could not handle, allowing junior Chris Watson to score Villanova's second run of the inning. After Nick Piantek's RBI single and a walk to Joe DelVecchio, Villanova found themselves with a 10-6 advantage heading into the ninth.
In the ninth, sophomore Will Henry came on to strikeout the side and give the 'Cats their first Liberty Bell title. Henry was one of three Villanova hurlers to provide quality innings. Freshman Aaron Krawiec made his first collegiate start and pitched six strong innings for head coach George Bennett and the Wildcats. Krawiec gave up five runs on seven hits and struck out five in his outing. Junior Chris Pilato fanned five while yielding just one run on one hit in two innings of action. Over the final four innings, Krawiec, Pilato and Henry combined to strikeout 10 Delaware batters, including five straight to end the game.
Shank, who went two-for-four with a double and three RBI in the title game, was named to Liberty Bell Classic Most Valuable Player. In the three game tournament at Veterans Stadium, Shank was seven-for-11 with four runs scored, 10 RBI, two doubles and a home run.
Longo continued to swing a hot bat, as he was two-for-four with a double and a triple against Delaware, while junior designated hitter Dan Boublis was two-for-five with a double and an RBI.
Before traveling to Veterans Stadium to take on Delaware, Villanova defeated the Drexel Dragons, 10-3, in a game that started at 3 p.m. In the Drexel victory, Shank led the way by going four-for-four with a run and two RBI, while Boublis was three-for-four with a triple, a run scored and an RBI. The ' Cats smacked three home runs in the Drexel win as Piantek, Watson and shortstop Pat Kane each homered. On the mound, senior Joe Moore pitched a seven-inning complete game to earn the win. Moore gave up just four hits and struck out five.
Villanova returns to action on Saturday, April 18 when they travel to Seton Hall for a Big East doubleheader beginning at noon. Villanova and Seton Hall will conclude their three game series with a single game at noon on Sunday, April 19.