April 20, 2012
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. - A good pitchers' duel through the early innings tilted in the bottom of the fifth inning and Villanova (20-19, 4-9 BIG EAST) was shut down offensively in an 8-1 loss to Seton Hall at Owen T. Carroll Field on Friday afternoon. Four straight singles with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning led to three runs for the Pirates and a 4-0 deficit at that point proved to be too much for the Wildcats to overcome in the opener of a three-game series.
Villanova was held to seven hits by Seton Hall starter Jon Prosinski (6-2, 2.35 ERA) and four of those hits came in the first two-plus innings before Prosinski cruised the rest of the way. Junior center fielder Paul Rambaud (Chicago, Ill.), junior second baseman Tyler Sciacca (Staten Island, N.Y.) and sophomore right fielder Connor Jones (Chandler, Ariz.) all had two hits for the Wildcats while Jones and senior designated hitter Matt Fleishman (East Northport, N.Y.) drove in runs in the top of the ninth inning.
Rambaud led off the top of the third inning with a single to right field and senior shortstop Marlon Calbi (Montclair, N.J.) beat out a bunt single to give Villanova two runners on base with nobody out in a game that the Pirates led 1-0 at the time. Senior third baseman Kevin Wager (Holden, Mo.) sacrificed the runners to second and third with one away but the out recorded on the sacrifice bunt began a stretch in which Prosinski retired seven straight batters and 18 of 19 through the end of the eighth inning.
Senior starting pitcher Kyle Helisek (Cranberry Township, Pa.) was in top form through the first four innings of the game before running into trouble in the bottom of the fifth. He allowed a run-scoring single to Dillon Hamlin in the bottom of the second inning which spotted Seton Hall a 1-0 lead but otherwise kept himself out of trouble with remarkable efficiency.
He had runners at second and third with nobody out in the bottom of the first inning but retired three straight batters to get out of the inning unscathed. In the second inning he bounced back from the RBI single by Hamlin and induced Dale Anderson into hitting into an inning-ending double play. In the third inning Zack Granite led off with a single up the middle but Mike Genovese lined into a double play from Wager to freshman first baseman Brandon Carr (Danville, Calif.).
After the second double play turned by the Wildcats in the game Helisek (2-5, 6.44 ERA) struck out Will Walsh to end the third inning and then retired the side in order in the bottom of the fourth. In all he needed just 47 pitches to get the first 12 outs of the game and still trailed by just one run with one out in the bottom of the fifth before the Pirates offense sprang to life.
Genovese hit a two-run single off of Helisek to extend the Seton Hall lead to 3-0 and Walsh followed with a run-scoring single to make the score 4-0 and chase Helisek from the game. In the later innings the Pirates added cushion to their lead with a run in the seventh inning and another three-spot in the bottom of the eighth.
Helisek wound up being charged with nine hits and four earned runs in 4 1/3 innings of work while sophomore Matt Lengel (Devon, Pa.) and freshman Jeff Courter (Maple Glen, Pa.) combined to pitch the last 3 2/3 innings.
Due to bad weather expected during the second half of the weekend the final two games of the series will be played as part of a doubleheader starting on Saturday at 11 a.m. Sophomore Pat Young (The Woodlands, Texas) and junior Kevin MacLachlan (Matawan, N.J.) are the expected starters for Villanova.
NOTES: This weekend marks the Wildcats first trip to Owen T. Carroll Field since the 2008 season ... The teams played at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth in both 2009 and 2011 and did not meet in 2010 ... Helisek moved up to spots to eighth place in school history in innings pitched with today's outing ... He has now pitched 247 2/3 innings and during the game passed Kevin Mulvey (2004-06) and Trevor Pepkowski (1994-97) ... Helisek now trails Tom Kandybowicz (2000-03) in seventh place with 259.0 career innings ... Fleishman doubled in the ninth inning and now has 41 career doubles in a Villanova uniform ... He moved into a tie for seventh place in school history with Dave Pizzini (1998-01) and Derek Shunk (2005-08) ... Calbi's single in the third inning extended his streak of games reaching base safely to 15 in a row ... He has a .371 on-base percentage during the streak ... Sciacca is riding a six-game hitting streak during which he has gone 12-for-23 (.522) at the plate.