April 23, 2014
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - Amidst howling winds that affected the game from start to finish Villanova (12-25) took on local foe Saint Joseph's (23-10) for the fourth time this season and was narrowly defeated by a 7-6 final at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth on Wednesday afternoon. The scoring was back and forth through the early and middle innings but the Hawks broke a 6-6 tie with an unearned run in the top of the sixth inning and successfully clung to the one-run margin the rest of the way.
Freshman right fielder Donovan May (Newark, Del.) came up big for the Wildcats for the second straight day and reached base safely in all four of his plate appearances. He was 2-for-2 with a double, drove in two runs and also walked twice one day after he collected two hits and three RBI in a win over Temple on Tuesday afternoon. Freshman second baseman Todd Czinege (Overland Park, Kan.) also had two hits and two RBI versus the Hawks and sophomore shortstop Eric Lowe (Arlington Heights, Ill.) chipped in with two hits and a run scored.
Villanova overcame deficits of 2-0 and 3-1 to eventually tie the game and then take a 4-3 lead with three runs in the bottom of the third inning. Two more runs scored for the Wildcats in the home half of the fourth to extend the lead to 6-3 but Saint Joseph's tied the game with a three-run fifth inning and then added the eventual winning run with one out in the sixth.
Brian O'Keefe reached on an error to start the Hawks off in the top of the sixth inning. He then stole second and moved up to third on a groundout before coming in to score on Mike Muha's single through the left side. Muha went 3-for-5 in the cleanup spot of the order and Stefan Kancylarz hit behind him and produced two hits and two runs batted in.
After there were two outs and nobody on in the top of the first inning the next five batters reached safely. Kancylarz and Taylor Boyd delivered RBI singles during that rally as Saint Joseph's pulled out to an early 2-0 lead.
Senior center fielder Connor Jones (Chandler, Ariz.), leading off for the second straight day, drew a four-pitch walk to open the bottom of the first inning and May did the same to give Villanova an immediate scoring threat. A pair of balks moved them around the bases and the second of the two allowed Jones to score the first Wildcats run of the game.
Villanova trailed 3-1 when it came to bat in the bottom of the third inning but Lowe led off with a single through the left side and Jones followed with a double to deep right-center field. That brought May to the plate and he dropped a double into shallow left field on one of many balls that got blown around by the heavy gusts wind. May's double scored Lowe and Czinege reached on an infield hit which brought in Jones with the tying run. May eventually scored on a wild pitch as the Wildcats went ahead for the first time at 4-3.
In the bottom of the fourth inning freshman catcher Zander Retamar (Boca Raton, Fla.) drew a leadoff walk and Lowe sacrificed him to second. One batter later May and Czinege hit consecutive RBI singles to afford Villanova a 6-3 lead going to the top of the fifth.
Kancylarz hit an RBI triple for the Hawks in the top of the fifth inning, Kevin Kratochwill followed with a sacrifice fly and Taylor Boyd later scored on an infield hit as Saint Joseph's tied the game.
Senior reliever Chris Haggarty (Valley Cottage, N.Y.) was the victim of the unearned run in the top of the sixth inning and took the loss for Villanova. Haggarty (2-1, 3.14 ERA) allowed two hits and had a strikeout over 1 1/3 innings of relief.
Redshirt freshman Joe Siringo (Oyster Bay, N.Y.) made his first career start for the Wildcats and went the first 1 1/3 innings on a day when both teams delved deep into their bullpens to keep arms fresh for upcoming weekend series. Junior right-hander Kagan Richardson (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) tossed 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief behind Siringo, striking out five and allowing just one hit to the eight batters he faced. Sophomore Max Beermann (Tampa, Fla.) and senior Matt Meurer (Katy, Texas) combined to throw three scoreless innings from the seventh inning through the ninth to close out the game.
Ryan Kelly (2-1, 5.79 ERA) pitched two innings of relief to earn the win for the Hawks and Steven Schuler recorded the final four outs for his third save.
Villanova returns to action on the road this weekend for a three-game series at Seton Hall, beginning with the series opener on Friday at 6 p.m.