Szczur's Hit Completes Comeback as Wildcats Edge Temple 7-6
April 28, 2009
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - Redshirt freshman Matt Szczur (Erma, N.J.) singled home the eventual winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning and Villanova (19-22) snapped a five-game losing streak with a 7-6 win over Temple (16-23) on Tuesday afternoon at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth. The Wildcats won two of three games in the season series against the Owls with the win.
Villanova trailed 4-0 and 6-3 in this game but scored three runs in both the fourth and fifth innings to get back into the game and pull even with Temple, which had claimed a15-6 win over the Wildcats last week. In the bottom of the eighth, freshman Marlon Calbi (Montclair, N.J.) led off with a single and scored with two down on a ball driven by Szczur to left-center field.
Szczur and Calbi had two hits apiece for Villanova, which won for just the fifth time in 20 games in which it was outhit by the opposition. The Owls had 13 hits and the Wildcats nine, though Villanova also drew four walks and had two hit batsmen. Four of the hits for the Wildcats were doubles, including three straight in the fourth inning that led to the team's first two runs.
Senior Matt McFolling (Chicago, Ill.) doubled to right field with one out in the bottom of the fourth for the first Villanova hit of the game against Temple starter Tyler Horst. Senior Wes Borden (State College, Pa.) followed with a two-base hit to left-center that drove in McFolling and redshirt freshman David Koczirka (Thornton, Pa.) doubled to bring in Borden. Later in the inning, Calbi singled to pull the Wildcats to within 4-3.
Despite allowing the Owls a pair of runs in the top of the fifth inning that stretched the deficit back to three runs, Villanova bounced right back with three more scores of its own in the bottom half of the frame to tie the score. Senior Joe Rosati (Havertown, Pa.) drew a leadoff walk and reliever Matt Blackburn hit Szczur and McFolling in successive at-bats to load the bases with none out. With one out, Koczirka greeted Jordan Cannon (1-5, 6.02 ERA) with a sacrifice fly to deep left-center, freshman Kevin Wager (Chester, Va.) singled in a run and sophomore Dain Hall (Barrington, Ill.) doubled down the left field line to tie the game.
The run in the bottom of the eighth inning made a winner of senior Kyle Carver (Aldan, Pa.), who scattered five hits and two runs in four innings of work. After allowing consecutive run-scoring hits to Jamie Abercrombie and Tony Jusino in the top of the fifth inning, Carver (3-1, 5.61) retired 10 of the final 11 batters he faced, including setting down the last seven consecutively. The streak continued in the ninth when sophomore Mike Francisco (Newtown Square, Pa.) pitched a 1-2-3 inning for his fourth save.
Freshman starter Kyle Helisek (Cranberry Township, Pa.) allowed four earned runs on eight hits in the first four innings and Temple jumped ahead with two runs in the second inning and two more in the top of the fourth. Jusino hit a sacrifice fly to right in the top of the second and Lenny Del Grippo had a run-scoring single later in the inning. In the fourth, Byron McKoy hit a two-run double. Del Grippo and Sean Barksdale had three hits apiece for the Owls.
Working on a pitch count, Horst didn't make it out of the fourth inning after not allowing a hit through the first three frames. He went 3 2/3 innings and allowed three hits and three earned runs with two walks and a strikeout. Cannon allowed five hits and the winning run in 3 2/3 innings of relief, in which he walked one and struck out three.
Villanova opens a three-game conference series on Friday at 3:45 p.m. against Louisville.
NOTES: McFolling's double in the fourth inning extended his current hitting streak to 13 games ... He had a 15-game hit streak earlier this season and has reached base safely via a hit or walk in 34 of his 37 starts.