April 18, 2014
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - In the second game of a three-game series Villanova (11-23, 3-5 BIG EAST) allowed runs in seven of the nine innings and dropped a 12-6 decision to Creighton (19-12-1, 4-1 BIG EAST) at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth on Friday afternoon. A 19-hit attack was too much for the Wildcats to overcome and the Bluejays had three different batters with at least three hits in the game.
Villanova scored three runs in both the fourth and seventh innings to at least stay within striking distance for most of the contest. Senior center fielder Connor Jones (Chandler, Ariz.) went 3-for-5 with a run scored and sophomore first baseman Max Beermann (Tampa, Fla.) added two hits, including a two-run triple in the bottom of the seventh inning. Sophomore shortstop Eric Lowe (Arlington Heights, Ill.) also had a good day with an RBI single and two walks.
In the early innings Creighton made the most of its scoring opportunities and gradually built a 5-0 lead by the fourth inning. Lowe singled home the first Wildcats run in the bottom half of that inning, sophomore left fielder Adam Goss (Bellaire, Texas) was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force home another run and sophomore pinch hitter Donovan May (Newark, Del.) beat out a fielder's choice to let another run score as Villanova chipped away at the Blujays lead and pulled to within 5-3.
Creighton got one of those runs back in the fifth inning however, and then broke out for a four-run frame in the top of the sixth which pushed the margin to 10-3. The two-run triple by Beermann and a run-scoring groundball by sophomore third baseman Kevin Jewitt (West Chester, Pa.) in the seventh gave the Wildcats a bit of momentum and closed the gap to 10-6 but Creighton added single runs in the eighth and ninth innings to secure the outcome.
Mike Gerber went 5-for-5 and drove in four runs for the Bluejays and Joey Mancuso was 4-for-4 with two runs scored and a run batted in. All nine starters for Creighton reached base safely and the bottom three spots in the batting order combined for 10 hits and walks. Ninth place hitter Nicky Lopez was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two runs batted in.
With the game on the line in the bottom of the fourth inning the Bluejays brought in closer Bryan Sova (2-0, 2.57 ERA) with the bases loaded and one out in what was then a 5-1 game. Sova allowed two of the three inherited runners to score but held onto the lead and wound up pitching the rest of the game to earn the victory. He allowed four hits and three earned runs over 5 2/3 innings, while walking one and striking out four.
Junior starting pitcher Max Almonte (Long Beach, N.Y.) went the first three-plus innings for Villanova and allowed six hits and five runs (four earned) while issuing four walks and striking out one. Almonte (1-4, 5.16 ERA) allowed a two-run double to Gerber in the top of the first inning, while an unearned run scored on an error with two outs in the second. He rebounded to strand two runners in a scoreless third inning but Lopez doubled to lead off the fourth and Brad McKewon was hit by a pitch to start what eventually became a two-run inning.
With the series evened at one game apiece the teams will now meet in the rubber game on Saturday afternoon. Freshman lefty Hunter Schryver (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) takes the hill for the Wildcats and first pitch is scheduled for Noon due to the Creighton travel schedule.
NOTES: Jones ranged into right-center field to make a nice catch and start an 8-3 double play in the top of the third inning ... It was the 16th outfield assist of the season for Villanova and the second in as many games for Jones ... The 2-5 spots in the Wildcats batting order continued to be productive and produced five of the team's runs and seven of Villanova's nine hits ... Jones, freshman second baseman Todd Czinege (Overland Park, Kan.), Beermann and Jewitt all had at least one hit.