April 24, 2007
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - Sophomore Joe Cotter (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) smashed a three-run triple with the bases loaded and then scored himself on the play during a fourth inning rally that was paramount to a 10-3 victory for Villanova (19-18) over Temple (13-25) on Tuesday afternoon at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth. Cotter's triple was the only hit in the five-run inning and helped the Wildcats exact a measure of revenge for a 10-1 loss to the Owls two weeks earlier.
Four walks and two wild pitches to the first six batters of the inning contributed to the first run that Villanova scored in the bottom of the fourth. Batting with two outs, Cotter hit a 1-1 pitch over the defense in center field and it rolled to the wall 405 feet from home plate. All three runners easily scored and Cotter came home when the ball was dropped on its way back to the infield.
The Wildcats trailed 3-2 going to the bottom of the fourth but never looked back after that point. Villanova scored the final eight runs of the game and drew more walks (10) than it had hits (nine) on the afternoon. Meanwhile, Temple came up empty after scoring twice in the second inning and once in the third in the early innings of a game that appeared headed for a typical back-and-forth affair between the city rivals.
Cotter had two hits and two runs scored on the day while junior Derek Shunk (Yardley, Pa.) reached base five times by going 3-for-3 with a walk and a hit by pitch. He scored twice, drove in a run and added his fourth stolen base of the season for good measure. The Wildcats stole seven bases in the game with Cotter and freshman Justin Bencsko (Pompton Plains, N.J.) each getting two steals. Bencsko singled and drew two walks in the game.
Bencsko scored the game's first run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the first when he started the frame with an infield hit. The Owls were quick to respond, however, as Ryan Weber singled home a run in the top of the second that tied the game. A second run scored on the play when the ball was booted in the outfield, giving Temple a 2-1 advantage. Villanova tied the game in the bottom half when a run scored on an error, but Matt Heltz singled in the top of the third to restore a 3-2 lead to the Owls.
Freshman Brian Streilein (Staten Island, N.Y.) made his first collegiate start and navigated around the early difficulty to pitch seven strong innings. He wound up allowing eight hits and three runs (two earned) while walking two and striking out a season-high nine batters. Senior Nate Hall (Longmont, Colo.) and junior Gus Guida (Martinsville, N.J.) each worked a scoreless inning in relief.
Ryan Thomas took the loss for Temple, allowing five runs (four earned) in 3 2/3 innings despite surrendering just two hits. Thomas walked seven and struck out four before four Owl relievers combined to go the rest of the way. Stan Orzechowski, Weber and Kyle Obal all had two hits for Temple.
The Wildcats are at home again on Wednesday afternoon when they host Saint Joseph's at 3 p.m. Villanova defeated the Hawks 13-0 earlier this season in a game played at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth.
NOTES: Shunk moved into ninth place in school history with his 193rd career hit in the game ... He needs seven more hits to become the ninth Villanova player with at least 200 career hits ... Cotter and freshman Tommy Grandieri (Media, Pa.) were the only parts in the starting lineup who did not draw a walk in the game ... Grandieri drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth ... The top seven hitters in Tuesday's lineup all scored at least one run.