April 28, 2007
CINCINNATI, Ohio - A pair of two-run singles off the bats of sophomore Joe Cotter (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) and junior Dan Terpak (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) were the big hits in a four-run rally in the eighth inning as Villanova (21-19, 6-11 Big East) rallied past Cincinnati (23-19, 8-8 Big East) with an 8-7 victory on Saturday at Marge Schott Stadium. The Wildcats snapped a 12-game road losing streak and won on the road in conference play for the first time since beating West Virginia on April 30, 2006.
Down 7-4 going to the eighth inning, Villanova loaded the bases with nobody out on a hit batsman and two singles. Relief pitcher Nick Buscemi got a shallow fly ball and a strikeout and was on the verge of escaping the jam with no runs scoring, but Cotter lined a ball back up the middle to score two runners with his third two-out bases-loaded hit this week. After junior Derek Shunk (Yardley, Pa.) reached on an infield hit to once again load the bases, Terpak drilled a ball into left field to score the tying and eventual winning runs.
With the lead back in Wildcat hands, sophomore Josh Eidell (Norristown, Pa.) took care of the rest. He pitched scoreless frames in the eighth and ninth without allowing a hit or walk to pick up his second career save. The game ended on a diving catch by sophomore Matt McFolling (Chicago, Ill.) on a ball hit into the gap in left-center field. Freshman Brian Streilein (Staten Island, N.Y.) was the winning pitcher, as he ended a messy inning in the bottom of the seventh by retiring the only batter he faced to give Villanova a chance in the eighth.
Needing a win after losing a sloppy game on Friday night, the Wildcats scored once in the second inning and twice in the third to take a 3-2 lead. Junior Jordan Ellis (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) worked out of trouble in the third and fourth innings and retired the side in order in the fifth. He ran into difficulty again in the sixth, however, when Adam Yeager doubled home the tying run and Neall French hit a two-out, two-run single to give the Bearcats a 5-3 lead.
A single by Terpak in the top of the seventh closed the gap to 5-4 but wild pitches and unexpected lightning in the area caused problems in the bottom of the inning. Dustin Alvey singled leading off for Cincinnati and Ryan Baker drew a one-out walk. Three wild pitches in the inning allowed Alvey to score, but after a pitching change with two outs and a runner on third the skies opened up with heavy rain and lightning. The game was halted for 44 minutes due to the weather, and Tony Campana eventually singled to restart the game and extend the Bearcat lead to three runs.
That is where the Villanova heroics took over with the rally in the eighth, lifting the Wildcats to a gutsy win and keeping the team in position to contend for one of eight spots in the BIG EAST Championship next month. Terpak, senior Jim Gillin (Broomall, Pa.) and sophomore Joe Rosati (Havertown, Pa.) each had two hits for Villanova, which out-hit Cincinnati 11-10 in the game. Rosati dropped a perfect bunt single as the second batter of the eighth inning and scored the second run in the frame.
Bearcat starting pitcher Steve Blevins had retired 11 of the previous 12 batters he had faced entering the seventh but walked junior Ryan Arcadia (Upper Saddle River, N.J.) to lead off the inning. Arcadia took second on a wild pitch and stole third to get in position to score on Terpak's first run-scoring single. The Wildcats hit .438 (7-for-16) with the bases loaded in the game, compared to Cincinnati going 3-for-14 (.238) in the same situations.
Blevins allowed four runs (three earned) in seven innings to take a no-decision. Buscemi allowed all four runs in the eighth and fell to 0-3 on the year. Campana had three hits and two runs scored while Yeager chipped in two hits for the Bearcats.
The rubber game of the three-game series is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m.