April 19, 2014
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - Despite manufacturing several rallies in the middle and late innings Villanova (11-24, 3-6 BIG EAST) was the victim of timely doubles plays turned by Creighton (20-12-1, 5-1 BIG EAST) and eventually fell by a 4-0 margin at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth on Saturday afternoon. A pair of two-run singles by the Bluejays in the second and fifth innings accounted for the only scoring in the game and Creighton took two of the three games in the first-ever series between the teams.
Senior reliever Chris Haggarty (Valley Cottage, N.Y.) was excellent in long relief for the Wildcats and allowed just one hit over 3 2/3 scoreless innings while striking out three. He entered the game with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth inning after the Bluejays had doubled their lead from two to four runs in the frame. Haggarty induced a fly ball to right to end the inning and kept Villanova in the game from that point on. Fellow senior Matt Meurer (Katy, Texas) recorded the final two outs of the ninth inning.
It was in the bottom of the fifth inning right after Haggarty had entered the game that the Wildcats put together their first significant rally of the contest. Sophomore catcher Emmanuel Morris (Willowbrook, Ill.) reached on an error to start the inning and freshman right fielder Donovan May (Newark, Del.) bunted for a single. Sophomore shortstop Eric Lowe (Arlington Heights, Ill.) sacrificed the runners to second and third with one away and sophomore designated hitter Luke Emling (Nottingham, Pa.) was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Creighton starting pitcher Matt Warren (8-0, 1.71 ERA) then faced sophomore leadoff hitter Adam Goss (Bellaire, Texas), whose groundball up the middle was turned into a 6-6-3 double play to end the inning and the scoring threat. Villanova went down in order in the sixth and seventh innings and then fell into a similar fate with double plays in the final two frames.
Lowe walked to lead off the home half of the eighth inning, freshman pinch hitter Brian Trabulsi (Malverne, N.Y.) singled through the left side with one out and senior center fielder Connor Jones (Chandler, Ariz.) walked to once again load the bases. That threat ended with a 4-6-3 double play and the Bluejays ended the game in the bottom of the ninth with a 1-6-3 twin killing.
Freshman starting pitcher Hunter Schryver (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) allowed a two-run single to Joey Mancuso in the second inning, with just one of those runs being earned due to an error that began the inning. Schryver (1-5, 4.02 ERA) was very strong after Creighton took the lead and cruised into the fifth inning with no additional damage against him. After there were two outs and nobody on in the top of the fifth Jake Peter singled and Ryan Fitzgerald walked, with a subsequent wild pitch moving the runners to second and third. Mike Gerber then hit a two-run single just out of the reach of freshman second baseman Todd Czinege (Overland Park, Kan.) to drive in what turned out to be the final runs of the game.
Emling was on base twice for the Wildcats with a walk and a hit by pitch, while Jones (two walks) and sophomore third baseman Kevin Jewitt (West Chester, Pa.) also reached base twice in the game. Jewitt hit a double in the bottom of the second inning and also drew one of four Villanova walks.
A nine-pitch walk to Lowe began the bottom of the eighth inning and Warren departed with a runner on as Creighton played matchups in the bullpen for the final six outs. Warren yielded three hits and two walks while striking out four in seven-plus innings.
Coming up the Wildcats will get a two-day break for the Easter holiday before returning to the field for what will be a busy upcoming week. Villanova has two midweek games on the schedule, including a road game at Temple on Tuesday at 3 p.m. and a home game against Saint Joseph's on Wednesday at 3:15 p.m.
NOTES: Over his last six appearances Haggarty has allowed just one run over 16.0 innings (0.56 ERA) and in that span opponents are batting just .135 (7-for-52) against him with 15 strikeouts ... Meurer made his 63rd career appearance for the Wildcats and moved into a tie for ninth place in school history with Gus Guida (2005-08) ... He is just one game away from joining a three-way tie for sixth place in the Villanova record book with 64 outings.