Wildcats Fall to Seton Hall, 6-5, in 11 Innings
April 26, 2014
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. - An unearned run that scored with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning accounted for the difference in the game and Villanova (12-28, 3-8 BIG EAST) lost the second game of a three-game series to Seton Hall (30-9, 5-3 BIG EAST) by a final score of 6-5 at Owen T. Carroll Field on Saturday afternoon. Prior to the winning run scoring the Wildcats had never trailed in the game but were unable to build on or maintain their lead in the late innings of the contest.
Senior center fielder Connor Jones (Chandler, Ariz.), freshman second baseman Todd Czinege (Overland Park, Kan.) and freshman designated hitter Brian Trabulsi (Malverne, N.Y.) all had two hits for Villanova, which scored three times in the top of the first inning and held the lead until the Pirates finally drew even in the bottom half of the seventh.
On the mound the Wildcats once again received a solid effort from their bullpen. Senior relievers Chris Haggarty (Valley Cottage, N.Y.) and Matt Meurer (Katy, Texas) combined to allow just two earned runs on five hits over seven innings of work, with Meurer (1-3, 1.04 ERA) being charged with the loss despite throwing three innings without allowing an earned run.
D.J. Ruhlman batted with one out and nobody on in the bottom of the 11th inning with the scored tied 5-5 and singled to left-center field to start the game-winning rally. He stole second and Sal Annunziata was intentionally walked to set up the possibility of a double play. Meurer induced the groundball that he needed, getting Joe Posuslenko to hit a potential inning-ending grounder to third. Villanova recorded the fielder's choice out on a force play at second base but a throwing error on the relay allowed Ruhlman to score the winning run.
Earlier in the game the Wildcats got out to an early lead when Jones started the game with a double to left field and sophomore catcher Emmanuel Morris (Willowbrook, Ill.) was safe at first when a fielding error was committed on his sacrifice bunt. Jones scored on a failed pickoff attempt to first base, Czinege hit a run-scoring single to right field and sophomore third baseman Kevin Jewitt (West Chester, Pa.) drove in a run with an RBI groundout.
Seton Hall got two runs back in the bottom of the first inning on an RBI triple by Ruhlman followed by a run-scoring double from Annunziata. Villanova tacked on a run in the top of the second inning on an RBI single by sophomore shortstop Eric Lowe (Arlington Heights, Ill.) and the Pirates scored in the bottom of the fourth inning on Weigel's RBI single.
In the top of the seventh inning Trabulsi hit a one-out RBI single against Steven Lombardi to extend the Wildcats lead to 5-3. There were runners at the corners with one out after Trabulsi's hit and Seton Hall brought reliever Joe DiBenedetto (2-0, 6.17 ERA) into the game. DiBenedetto induced a fielder's choice groundball on which the Pirates threw out the lead runner on a 5-2-5 putout and then got another groundball to end the inning.
DiBenedetto went on to retire 14 consecutive batters and finished the game out for Seton Hall, holding Villanova without a base runner from the eighth through 11th innings.
In the bottom of the seventh inning the Pirates tied the game for the first time when Weigel walked, Annunziata reached on an infield hit and Kyle Grimm hit a two-out, two-run single to knot the score at 5-5.
The final game of the series is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.