April 23, 2004
JAMAICA, N.Y. - On Friday, April 23rd at the Ballpark at St. John's in Jamaica, N.Y., the Villanova baseball team split a Big East Conference doubleheader with the St. John's Red Storm. The Wildcats rode an outstanding pitching performance by junior right-hander Nick Allen to a 4-1 win over the Red Storm in game one, but St. John's rallied from a two-run deficit to defeat Villanova 6-5 in game two. With the day's split, the `Cats are now 22-15-1 overall on the season and 5-10 in Big East play. The Red Storm stands at 23-14 overall and 10-5 in conference action with the afternoon split.
Villanova scored once in the first inning to take the lead early in game one, 1-0. Centerfielder Kris Molloy and third baseman Angelo Petracca registered back-to-back infield singles to leadoff the game for the Wildcats. Rightfielder Alan Day followed with a walk to load the bases against St. John's starter Joe Reid. Leftfielder Brian Newbold came to the plate with the chance to give the `Cats the game's first lead. Newbold hit a ground ball to shortstop that the Red Storm turned into a 6-4-3 doubleplay, but Molloy scored on the play to give Villanova a 1-0 advantage.
The Wildcats doubled their lead in the top of the second inning, extending their advantage to 2-0 on a solo home run by designated hitter Danny Poydenis. Poydenis took a 2-1 fastball by Reid over the wall in rightfield for his fifth home run of the season.
On the other side of the field, Allen was holding the Red Storm in check limiting St. John's to just four singles and striking out two through the first five innings.
In the top of the sixth inning, the Villanova offense struck again. Petracca reached on an infield single with one out in the inning, advanced to second on an error and followed that by stealing third base for his eighth theft of the year. With runners at the corners and one out, Newbold lined an RBI single to left-center field to increase the Wildcat lead to 3-0.
Villanova was not done. The Wildcats capped off their scoring against St. John's reliever Jim Wladyka, scoring once more in the top of the seventh to lead 4-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning. A sacrifice fly by Petracca scored shortstop Brian Trotta from third base accounting for the Villanova run.
The Red Storm ended Allen's shutout bid with a run in the bottom of the seventh inning, but one run was all they could get as the Wildcats went on for the 4-1 victory. Allen struck out Matt Robinson with a runner on and two outs in the seventh to end the game.
Allen (3-3) earned the win on the mound in game one for Villanova with his team leading third complete game of the season. He allowed just one run on eight hits in seven innings, striking out four without walking a batter.
Reid (4-3) took the loss for St. John's, surrendering three runs on five hits in six innings, walking three and striking out six.
At the plate for the Wildcats, Petracca went two-for-three with a stolen base, a run scored and an RBI. In addition, Poydenis was one-for-three with a home run and an RBI, Newbold was one-for-three with an RBI, and Molloy was one-for-three with a run scored.
For the second straight game, Villanova put one run on the board in the top of the first inning to take a 1-0 advantage. Second baseman Craig Mirsky led the game off with a double for the Wildcats. After advancing to third on a Petracca groundout, Mirsky came around to score one batter later on an RBI single to center by Day.
In the top of the third inning, Villanova added to its lead scoring once more to extend the margin to two runs at 2-0. Petracca was hit by a Matt Tosini offering with one out in the inning to get things started for the `Cats. Petracca proceeded to steal two consecutive bases to put himself on third base with one out. He would come around to score one batter later on a Day sacrifice fly to rightfield that was dropped by St. John's rightfielder Blake Hershelman, giving the Wildcats a 2-0 lead.
A Villanova miscue in the bottom of the third inning helped the Red Storm tie the game at 2-2. St. John's had runners at second and third with two outs when catcher Joe Burke hit a groundball to Adrian Schau at first base, which looked to be the third out of the inning. An error by Schau allowed both runners to score as the Red Storm tied the game up at 2-2.
The Wildcats would not be without the lead for long, as they scored one in the top of the fourth inning to regain the lead at 3-2. Villanova loaded the bases in the inning against St. John's reliever Geno Orsogna. With a full count on the next batter Petracca, Orsogna missed for ball four forcing in the Trotta with the go-ahead run to give the Wildcats the 3-2 advantage.
With Villanova holding a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning, Wildcat starter Mike Loree walked the leadoff batter Eddie Schultz. Schultz then stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Leftfielder Anthony DeRosa followed by lifting a sacrifice fly to rightfield, scoring Schultz to tie the game up at 3-3.
The contest would remain 3-3 until the top of the sixth inning. With Kelly Pickel on second for the Wildcats and two outs in the inning, Mirsky singled to center off of Orsogna to score Pickel and give Villanova back the lead at 4-3.
The `Cats would add to the lead in the top of the seventh inning. Schau doubled for Villanova with two outs and after going to third on a wild pitch, scored one batter later on a RBI single by Poydenis. Poydenis' first RBI of the game and second of the day gave the Wildcats a 5-3 lead.
The back and forth affair resumed in the seventh inning. The Red Storm rallied in the bottom of the seventh inning against Villanova reliever Mike Grodecki to tie the game up once again at 5-5. An RBI single by Schultz pulled St. John's within one run at 5-4. With runners at second and third and two outs, Grodecki uncorked a wild pitch allowing Burke to scamper home with the Red Storm's second run of the inning, tying the game at 5-5.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, St. John's took its first lead of the day at 6-5. With one out in the inning, Kevin Devenney doubled off of reliever Joe McCoy to put the go-ahead run in scoring position for the Red Storm. Schau came on in relief of McCoy looking to end the threat, but third baseman Jim Martin singled up the middle off of the Wildcat closer plating pinch runner Tim Blackmon with the go-ahead run.
Villanova had one last chance to rally in the top of the ninth inning, but had to do so against Red Storm sophomore closer Craig Hansen. Day gave the `Cats their first baserunner of the inning with a one out single through the left side, but Hansen responded by getting Newbold to fly out to rightfield for the second out and Schau to ground into the game-ending fielder's choice. Hansen's seventh save of the season helped the Red Storm win game two 6-5 and salvage a split of the day's doubleheader.
Justin Muir (3-0) earned the win in game two for St. John's with one and a third scoreless innings of relief, striking out three. McCoy took the loss for the `Cats to fall to 0-1.
Offensively for the Wildcats, Day went two-for-four with two RBI, Mirsky went two-for-three with a double and an RBI, Schau went two-for-five with a double and a run scored, and Poydenis went one-for-four with an RBI. In addition, Petracca had two stolen bases - giving him three for the day - along with a run scored and an RBI.
For St. John's, Martin was three-for-five with a double and the game-winning RBI.
Villanova will get back into action on Sunday, April 25th, traveling to South Orange, N.J. to take on the Seton Hall Pirates in a doubleheader at 12:00 p.m. Listen to the game live on www.villanova.com via Yahoo Audiocast.