May 5, 2013
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - Junior right fielder Connor Jones (Chandler, Ariz.) had a pair of run-scoring singles and senior center fielder Paul Rambaud (Chicago, Ill.) had two hits and a run scored but Villanova (11-36, 2-16 BIG EAST) lost the finale of a three-game series to No. 11 Louisville (37-10, 14-4 BIG EAST) at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth on Sunday afternoon. The visiting Cardinals scored twice in the top of the first inning and led the rest of the way in completing the series sweep.
The game did not feature a single extra-base hit from either team, and Wildcats sophomore left-hander Josh Harris (Streamwood, Ill.) made yet another quality start against a team with a potent lineup. Harris (4-6, 3.34 ERA) scattered eight singles and three earned runs over seven innings, while walking two and striking out five. He has made seven quality starts in 11 outings this season.
Harris was successful on Sunday in staying out of significant trouble whenever Louisville had runners on base. In the top of the first inning Adam Engel led off the game with a single and Ty Young was hit by a pitch with one out. A successful double steal gave the Cardinals runners at second and third but Harris limited the damage to a wild pitch that scored Engel and an RBI groundout which allowed Young to score.
Louisville had two hits in both the third and the fifth innings but each time Harris made big pitches when he needed to. There were runners at first and second with one out in the top of the third but an infield fly and a strikeout ended the inning. Harris had the same two-on, one-out situation in the fifth inning and escaped the jam with a fly out and a groundout.
In the top of the seventh inning Sutton Whiting led off with a single, Engel bunted for a hit and Nick Ratajczak sacrificed them up to second and third with one out. Harris gave up a sacrifice fly to Young which brought home the third Cardinals run but then struck out cleanup hitter Coco Johnson to strand a runner in scoring position.
Villanova scored single runs in the bottom of the fourth and eighth innings, with each scoring rally being aided by a Rambaud bunt single. He led off the home half of the fourth inning with a bunt up the third base line and stole second with one out. With two down Jones slid a 1-2 pitch through the right side for a base hit and Carr scored to pull the Wildcats to within one run at 2-1.
The score stayed at 2-1 until Young's sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh and Louisville then stretched a 3-1 margin with three runs in the top of the eighth inning. In the bottom half of the inning Villanova loaded the bases with nobody out on consecutive walks to freshman infielders Eric Lowe (Arlington Heights, Ill.) and Adam Goss (Bellaire, Texas), followed by another bunt single that Rambaud pushed past the pitcher.
After relief pitcher Cole Sturgeon struck out the next two batters Jones swung at the first pitch he saw and found the hole on the right side again. His single drove in Lowe but the Wildcats left the bases loaded when Sturgeon coaxed a groundout to first to end the inning.
Dace Kime (4-1, 3.30 ERA) started for the Cardinals and struck out 10 over seven innings. He allowed an earned run on three hits in the outing. Engel was 3-for-5 to lead the Louisville hitters for the day.
Villanova returns to action next weekend with a three-game series at Pittsburgh. The series opener is on Friday night at 6 p.m.