April 30, 2013
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - In a back-and-forth game the tables turned for the final time in the top of the eighth inning and Villanova (11-33) came up just short with a late rally as Temple (17-23) held on for a 7-6 victory against the Wildcats at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth on Tuesday afternoon. Senior shortstop Tyler Sciacca (Staten Island, N.Y.) hit a three-run double which gave Villanova the lead in a five-run sixth inning but the Owls went ahead for good with five runs of their own in the top of the eighth.
Temple scored single runs in the first and fifth innings to take a 2-0 lead but the Wildcats batted around in the bottom of the sixth inning, not only getting on the scoreboard for the first time but taking a 5-2 lead in the process. Another run in the home half of the seventh extended the Villanova lead to a 6-2 margin.
In the top of the eighth inning the Owls responded with a five-run frame and went back in front, 7-6. The tying and go-ahead runs scored on a three-run double by Henry Knabe in that inning and Temple did just enough to prevent the Wildcats from completing their rally in the bottom of the ninth.
Freshman pinch hitter Emmanuel Morris (Willowbrook, Ill.) led off for Villanova in the ninth and lined a single into center field. Senior center fielder Paul Rambaud (Chicago, Ill.) sacrificed him to second and freshman second baseman Adam Goss (Bellaire, Texas) singled to right field to give the Wildcats runners at the corners with one out. After a strikeout for the second out of the inning Sciacca walked to load the bases but Owls closer Ryan Kuehn induced a groundball to second base to end the game.
Villanova only had seven hits for the game but still was able to produce six runs. In the bottom of the sixth inning Rambaud bunted for a single with one out and nobody on, Goss was hit by a pitch and senior left fielder Steve Schrenk (Brigantine, N.J.) worked out an eight-pitch walk to load the bases. Sciacca was up next and he drilled a 1-0 pitch deep into the right-center field gap to empty the bases and put the Wildcats in front by a 3-2 score. Freshman first baseman Max Beermann (Brigantine, N.J.) singled through the right side to drive in Sciacca, and Beermann himself scored later in the inning on a throwing error which accounted for the fifth and final run of the inning.
Rambaud reached on an error to start the bottom of the seventh inning, stole second and moved to third on a groundout by Goss before scoring when Schrenk hit a sacrifice fly to left field. All five of the runs driven in by Villanova came from Schrenk, Sciacca and Beermann in the 2-3-4 spots of the batting order.
Sophomore starting pitcher Jeff Courter (Maple Glen, Pa.) pitched seven-plus innings and departed in the top of the eighth after a single and a hit batter started the inning. He allowed eight hits, walked three and struck out four while being charged with four runs when the two inherited runners he left eventually scored.
Knabe went 3-for-3 and drove in four runs for Temple, while Nick Lustrino had two hits and two runs scored. Steve Visnic (1-1, 5.01 ERA) allowed an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh inning but was the pitcher of record on the long end after the Owls rallied in the eighth inning. Kuehn pitched a scoreless ninth for the save.
This weekend the Wildcats will play their final three home games of the season when they host a three-game series against Louisville. The series begins on Friday with a 3:45 p.m. first pitch, then continues on Saturday (1:15 p.m.) and Sunday (12:15 p.m.). Villanova will hold its annual Senior Day celebration prior to the start of Saturday's game.