May 1, 2003
PHILADELPHIA, PA. - The Villanova baseball team opened the new month much like they ended the last one - victorious. The Wildcats won for the sixth time in eight games on Thursday, May 1st, at Erny Field in Philadelphia, bashing three home runs and pounding out 13 hits in an 8-6 win over the Temple Owls. Senior centerfielder Chris Graziano hit his first career home run and Mitch Mitchell and Brian Trotta each posted three hits including a home run, as Villanova improved to 13-26 overall on the season. Temple fell to 18-20 on the year with the loss.
The Wildcats' offense jumped on the Owls early, scoring one run in the top of the first inning to open up a 1-0 lead. Mitchell lined a two-out double to right-center field and came around to score one batter later on a RBI single through the right side by designated hitter Ryan Crammer.
Villanova added to its lead in the second inning, scoring three more takes to take a 4-0 advantage. Trotta led the inning off by taking a 2-1 pitch over the fence in left field for a solo home run. Later in the inning, with catcher Greg Fater on second, Graziano took an outside fastball the opposite way over the left field wall for his first career home run. Graziano's two run home run gave the `Cats a 4-0 lead.
After cruising through the first three innings, Villanova starter Nick Allen ran into some trouble in the bottom of the fourth. Temple posted four hits in the inning but was only able to put one run across the board. A RBI single by catcher Jeff Roma cut the Wildcat lead to 4-1, but Allen got out of the inning by getting second baseman Frank Hilliard to foul out to third base.
In the top of the sixth inning, the Villanova offense erupted for four more runs to increase the Wildcat lead to 8-1. Graziano and junior third baseman Danny Poydenis knocked in the first runs of the inning to give the `Cats a 6-1 lead. Mitchell capped off the scoring with a two-run home run over the left-field wall to make it an 8-1 ballgame.
Temple rallied in the bottom of the sixth inning off of Allen, scoring three times on five hits to close the gap to 8-4. Kandybowicz came on in relief with two on and two outs, and after walking the first batter, got Jason Connor to ground out to shortstop to end the inning.
The Owls continued their rally scoring once in both the seventh and eighth innings. First baseman Rob Cuccinotta doubled to lead off the seventh inning and came around to score on a wild pitch later in the inning to trim the Villanova lead to 8-5. Temple added another run in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Gene Burpoe, but junior pitcher Dan Farino came on in relief of Kandybowicz with one on and two outs and struck out Jason Connor to end the inning.
With the Wildcats up by the score of 8-6 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning, Farino closed the door on Temple retiring the Owls in order to end the game.
Allen earned the win on the mound for Villanova to improve to 4-5. He allowed four runs in five and two-thirds innings, striking out two batters. Farino pitched the final one and a third innings of the contest to pick up his third save of the season.
Tim Foulkrod took the loss for Temple (0-2) surrendering eight runs on 12 hits in 5.2 innings.
At the plate for the Wildcats, Graziano went two-for-five with a stolen base, a home run, two runs scored and three RBI. In addition, Mitchell went three-for-five with a double, home run, two runs and two RBI, while Trotta went three-for-four a home run, two runs and one RBI.
Villanova will get back into action on May 11-12, traveling to Morgantown, W.V., to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers in a three-game series.