April 19, 2013
CINCINNATI, Ohio - In the opening game of a three-game series Villanova (9-27, 1-9 BIG EAST) withstood a messy first inning but was never quite able to recover in a 5-1 loss to Cincinnati (15-21, 3-10 BIG EAST) at Marge Schott Stadium on Friday night. The only run of the game for the Wildcats scored with two outs in the ninth inning as the Bearcats led from the first inning on.
A pair of singles mixed in with three walks to the first five batters in the bottom of the first inning gave Cincinnati an early 2-0 lead. Justin Glass singled home both runs on a softly hit fly ball that fell into fair territory down the right field line. Even after the runs had scored a walk to Matt Williams loaded the bases with still nobody out but from that point on the Bearcats made three straight outs and stranded the base runners.
Each team struggled to hit with runners on base. Villanova only had six hits but left 12 men on base after drawing six walks and having two more batters reach on an error. Cincinnati left 13 runners on base, including the stranding the bases loaded in the first and sixth innings. Despite the missed opportunities both ways the Bearcats did manage four hits with runners in scoring position (4-for-18) while the Wildcats went just 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position and 2-for-21 with any runners on base.
Junior starting pitcher Pat Young (The Woodlands, Texas) got better as the game went on but a heavy workload in the first three innings eventually took its toll. He wound up being charged with three earned runs allowed on six hits over 5 2/3 innings, while walking six and striking out eight. Young (1-4, 3.17 ERA) came within one out of recording a seventh straight quality start but instead can settle for allowing no more than three earned runs for the ninth time in 10 starts this season.
Once he settled into a rhythm Young was nearly unhittable. The third run to score against him came home on a third strike wild pitch in the bottom of the third inning and the batter reached first on the play. Because of the extra out afforded to Cincinnati by the wild pitch Young achieved the rare feat of striking out four batters in one inning. He then went on to strike out the side in the fourth inning as well. Seven of his eight strikeouts for the game came in the span of 10 batters over a two-inning stretch.
Senior second baseman Tyler Sciacca (Staten Island, N.Y.) and senior left fielder Steve Schrenk (Brigantine, N.J.) each continued their successful career hitting against the Bearcats. Each player had two hits in the game and Sciacca singled with two outs in the top of the ninth inning to drive in senior center fielder Paul Rambaud (Chicago, Ill.) for the only Villanova run of the game. Sciacca and Schrenk have combined to hit .377 (20-for-53) in their careers against Cincinnati.
The patient approach of the Wildcats hitters forced out Bearcats starting pitcher Connor Walsh after he walked sophomore designated hitter Brandon Carr (Danville, Calif.) and Sciacca in succession to start the top of the fifth inning. Matt Ring (2-1, 4.29 ERA) came on in relief and pitched four scoreless innings to earn the victory. He allowed just one hit and walked one while striking out five.
Cincinnati threatened against Young in the bottom of the sixth inning when Forrest Perron walked and Ian Happ reached on a fielding error with one out. Young retired Glass on a fly ball to right field for the second out of the inning but walked Matt Williams to load the bases. Senior relief pitcher Kevin MacLachlan (Matawan, N.J.) took over for Young and Devin Wenzel flied out to right field to end the inning with no damage done on the scoreboard.
In the bottom of the eighth inning Happ and Glass hit consecutive RBI singles to score the final two Bearcats runs of the game.
The second game of the series will be played at 4 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.