April 18, 2009
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - Senior Joe Rosati (Havertown, Pa.) hit a game-winning two-run home run and classmate Matt McFolling (Chicago, Ill.) homered two batters later as part of a six-run eighth inning that lifted Villanova (18-17, 4-10 Big East) to an 11-7 victory over USF (23-14, 11-3 Big East) on Saturday afternoon at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth.
After surrendering its game-long lead in the top of the eighth inning, the Wildcats had two outs and a runner on in the bottom of the eighth when Rosati crushed a 1-and-2 pitch over the fence in right-center field for his second career home run and first since his freshman season. His blast put Villanova back in front, 7-6, and the Wildcats continued to pour it on with McFolling's second home run of the game and later a two-run single by freshman Kevin Wager (Chester, Va.).
The late heroics protected Villanova's unblemished record this season when leading after seven innings - the team is now 16-0 in such instances - and evened this weekend's series at one game apiece. After managing just five hits in the opener on Friday afternoon, the Wildcats had 13 hits in today's game. Senior Wes Borden (State College, Pa.) and redshirt freshman David Koczirka (Thornton, Pa.) each had three hits on the day.
Villanova scored twice in the bottom of the second inning to open the scoring and stretched its lead to 4-1 through five innings. Both teams added a run in the sixth inning to make the score 5-2 before the Bulls chipped away with a run in the top of the seventh and three in the eighth to take a short-lived lead.
Junior southpaw Kevin Crimmel (Harrisburg, Pa.) allowed just two earned runs through six innings in another solid start. He scattered six hits, walked four and struck out two and exited with a runner at first and nobody out in the top of the seventh. Senior Kyle Carver (Aldan, Pa.) went the rest of the way for the Wildcats and registered his second win of the season. Carver (2-1, 5.95 ERA) allowed just two hits to 17 batters faced, though one was Stephen Hunt's home run in the top of the eighth inning.
USF starter Derrick Stultz allowed nine hits and five earned runs in six innings but also struck out eight with just two walks. Villanova tagged reliever Kevin Quackenbush (1-2, 5.68) for six runs in two-thirds of an inning in the bottom of the eighth to rally for the victory.
Rosati's home run was his only hit of the game, while McFolling hit two home runs and drove in three. Borden finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored while Koczirka did the same and also drive in a pair. Wager had a sacrifice fly, sacrifice bunt and a single to drive in three runs.
In the bottom of the second inning, Borden singled with one out and sophomore Dain Hall (Barrington, Ill.) doubled down the left field line to set up a run-scoring chance that the team cashed in on with a two-run single up the middle by Koczirka. A sacrifice fly by Wager in the fourth inning and McFolling's first long ball of the game in the fifth helped extend the lead and redshirt freshman Matt Szczur (Erma, N.J.) tripled home a run in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Hunt had two hits and three runs batted in for the Bulls, while Brandon Smith had three hits and drove in two.
The rubber game of the three-game series is set for 12:15 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, which is Plymouth Meeting Fan Appreciation Day. Sophomore Chris Pack (Darien, Ill.) takes the hill for the Wildcats against fellow right-hander Shawn Sanford of USF.
NOTES: Rosati's other career home run was also a shot to right-center field, against Pittsburgh in 2005 ... McFolling had only the third multi-homer game in the history of the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth ... The other two came last season from current seniors Joe Cotter (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) and Carver ... There were a total of five home runs hit in the game by the two teams, a season high for a Villanova game this season ... Before Rosati's home run, Quackenbush had pitched 19.0 innings this season and 27.0 in his career without allowing a home run ... The Bulls have stranded 24 runners in the first two games of the series while going a combined 3-for-23 (.130) with runners in scoring position ... After allowing opposing teams to bat .334 with runners in scoring position last season, the Wildcats are holding opponents to a .249 batting average in such situations this year ... Today's win was the first of the season for Villanova in a game in which it did not steal a base (1-7) ... The Wildcats are 1-for-5 on stolen base attempts in the series and lead the BIG EAST with 71 steals for the year ... Villanova is 12-4 (.750) at home this season.