Strong Pitching Not Enough as Wildcats Edged by Georgetown, 2-1
May 2, 2014
BETHESDA, Md. - Junior starting pitcher Josh Harris (Streamwood, Ill.) and senior reliever Chris Haggarty (Valley Cottage, N.Y.) combined on a three-hitter but Villanova (12-29, 3-10 BIG EAST) came up just short with a late rally in the ninth inning and was edged by a 2-1 margin by Georgetown (16-25, 2-11 BIG EAST) at Shirley Povich Field on Friday night.
Harris (3-7, 6.75 ERA) had a career-high eight strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings and allowed only two earned runs on three hits. He retired the first 10 batters he faced and the only damage against him came on a run-scoring single with one out in the bottom of the fourth inning and a solo home run with one away in the home half of the sixth. Haggarty stranded two runners in the seventh inning and retired the side in order in the bottom of the eighth to extend the solid run that the bullpen has been on in recent weeks.
The teams combined for just seven hits total for the night but with the game on the line the Wildcats nearly rallied in the top of the ninth inning without the benefit of a base hit. Hoyas reliever David Ellingson entered the game to start the ninth and walked four of the six batters he faced, including three in a row with two outs to force in what turned out to be the only Villanova run of the game.
Sophomore catcher Emmanuel Morris (Willowbrook, Ill.) drew a leadoff walk to start the ninth and advanced to second on a wild pitch. He was still at second two outs later when sophomore left fielder Adam Goss (Bellaire, Texas) and sophomore designated hitter Luke Emling (Nottingham, Pa.) each extended the game with walks to load the bases. Senior center fielder Connor Jones (Chandler, Ariz.) continued the parade of free passes and walked to force in Morris, with the potential tying and go-ahead runs both in scoring position at that point.
Georgetown replaced Ellingson with Tim Davis, who struck out the only batter he faced to end the game and preserve the Hoyas narrow victory.
Jones had two of the Wildcats four hits, including an infield hit in the third inning and a leadoff double to start the sixth. He has now reached base safely in 10 straight games and is sporting a .479 on-base percentage during that stretch. Jones has reached base 23 times in 48 plate appearances during the 10-game streak, which matches the longest on-base streak of his career (both streaks have occurred this season).
Villanova trailed 1-0 when Jones opened the sixth inning with his seventh double of the season. Freshman right fielder Donovan May (Newark, Del.) sacrificed Jones to third with one out but Hoyas starting pitcher Matt Smith (4-5, 3.32 ERA) eventually escaped the inning by stranding runners at the corners.
Nick Collins hit a solo home run off Harris in the bottom of the sixth inning to extend the Georgetown lead to 2-0 but the Wildcats had the start of another potential rally going in the top half of the seventh. Sophomore shortstop Eric Lowe (Arlington Heights, Ill.) singled with one out and Goss walked but a strikeout and infield pop-up ended the inning with no damage done.
Harris was on cruise control from the start and did not allow a base runner until Eric Webber walked with one out in the bottom of the fourth. Collins then singled through the right side and Steve Anderson lined a single to right to drive in Webber with the game's first run.
In the bottom of the seventh Patrick Camporini was hit by a pitch leading off and Evan Ryan sacrificed Camporini to second. Haggarty relieved Harris and walked the first batter he faced but then got out of the jam with an infield fly and a called third strike to end the inning.
Haggarty has now stranded 14 of the 18 runners he has inherited this season and continued the dominant run that he has been on. In his last nine appearances Haggarty has logged 23 1/3 innings pitched and allowed just four earned runs on 12 hits and nine walks. In the nine-game stretch he has pitched to a 1.54 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP while holding opposing batters to a .156 batting average (12-for-77) against him. The bullpen overall has followed a similar trend in the past two-plus weeks. In the last seven games the Villanova relief corps has a 2.64 ERA with 12 earned runs allowed in 34 1/3 innings.
Friday night's game was the opener of a three-game series. Game two is scheduled for Saturday night at 7 p.m.