May 4, 2013
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - Eight seniors were honored on the field before the game on Senior Day and senior second baseman Tyler Sciacca (Staten Island, N.Y.) had two hits and drove in two runs in an eventual 6-5 loss for Villanova (11-35, 2-15 BIG EAST) to No. 11 Louisville (36-10, 13-4 BIG EAST) at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth on Saturday afternoon. The game came down to the final pitch, as the Wildcats put the potential tying run in scoring position in the bottom of the ninth inning before the Cardinals finally secured the outcome.
Sciacca was one of the seniors recognized in a pregame ceremony, as were fellow starters Paul Rambaud (Chicago, Ill.), Steve Schrenk (Brigantine, N.J.) and Brandon Clark (Spring, Texas). Also included in the Villanova senior class are infielder/outfielder Dan Parham (Broken Arrow, Okla.) and pitchers Matt Longfield (Miami, Fla.), Kevin MacLachlan (Matawan, N.J.) and Stephen Ostapeck (Sacramento, Calif.).
The game that followed the ceremony was a good one. Villanova batted around in a four-run second inning and took a 4-1 lead against Louisville starter Jeff Thompson (8-1, 2.15 ERA), who the Wildcats beat last season. Thompson tied a career high 12 strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings but Villanova was able to reach him for four earned runs thanks to a timely hit by Sciacca in the second inning.
Later in the game the Cardinals rallied back with two runs in the fourth inning and one more in the top of the sixth which tied the score at 4-4. Louisville then retook the lead for good with two runs in the top of the seventh inning and held on to the lead over the final two frames.
Sciacca had two of the six Wildcats hits and freshman third baseman Adam Goss (Bellaire, Texas) was 1-for-2 with a run scored, run batted in and hit by pitch. Schrenk had a single and a run scored and both Rambaud and freshman first baseman Max Beermann (Tampa, Fla.) walked and scored runs in the game.
Villanova trailed 1-0 after the Cardinals scored in the top of the second inning but Beermann walked to start the bottom half of the inning and Schrenk followed with a single through the right side. Clark laid down a sacrifice bunt which moved both runners up and with two down in the inning junior right fielder Connor Jones (Chandler, Ariz.) walked to load the bases.
Thompson hit the next two batters he faced to force in runs which first tied the game and then gave the Wildcats a 2-1 lead. He hit Goss with a 2-2 pitch and plunked Rambaud on his very next delivery. Sciacca came up next and fouled off two 0-2 pitches before getting even at 2-2 and then lining a two-run single into center field.
In the bottom of the eighth inning Rambaud worked out a seven-pitch walk against reliever Kyle Funkhouser and Sciacca followed with a hit-and-run single which moved Rambaud up to third. Junior catcher John Cialone (Houston, Texas) grounded into a double play but Rambaud scored on the play to pull Villanova to within one run at 6-5.
Freshman right fielder Derrick May, Jr. (Newark, Del.) singled with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning for his first collegiate hit. He lined a single into the gap in right-center field one pitch after a fastball from Cardinals closer Nick Burdi was clocked at 99 miles per hour. May moved up to second on a balk with two outs before Burdi recorded a strikeout to end the game.
Jeff Gardner had three hits and a run scored for Louisville and Kyle Gibson and Zak Wasserman each drove in a pair of runs.
The series finale is on Sunday at 12:15 p.m.