May 6, 2009
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - In the championship game of the Liberty Bell Classic on Wednesday evening, Villanova and Delaware were tied 6-6 with one out in the fifth inning at Citizens Bank Park when the game was stopped due to a rainstorm. Since the game had not yet become official, the contest is recorded as "No Game" and the statistics and results do not count. By agreement of both head coaches, the contest has been cancelled and will not be made up.
It became clear during the third inning that there was an impending storm and some heroics by the Wildcats in the top of the fifth inning helped ensure that the game would not go in the books as a win for the Blue Hens. When play was stopped with one out in the top of the fifth inning, Villanova had five runs in and a runner on base to pull even at 6-6 after trailing by five runs when they came up to the plate.
Senior Joe Rosati (Havertown, Pa.) delivered a two-run single and redshirt freshman Matt Szczur (Erma, N.J.) scored on a balk to make the score 6-4. With runners at first and second and one out, redshirt freshman David Koczirka (Thornton, Pa.) singled to center field to bring in Rosati. The ball got past the center fielder, however, allowing senior Matt McFolling (Chicago, Ill.) to score as Koczirka raced all the way to third.
Steady rain was falling by that point and the game was halted immediately following the play that led to the game being tied. Rosati had two hits and two runs scored for the Wildcats, while Szczur reached base twice with a pair of walks. Seven of the team's nine batters reached base safely and senior Wes Borden (State College, Pa.) hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning to drive in the team's first run.
Delaware got off to a quick start behind a three-run home run by Chris Nehl in the bottom of the first inning. The frame later included a run-scoring double by Pat Dameron that spotted the Blue Hens a 4-0 lead against freshman southpaw Kyle Helisek (Cranberry Township, Pa.). Helisek eventually settled down and allowed just two additional runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, one of which scored on a throwing error. Junior Michael Mayer (Midland Park, N.J.) recorded the final out of the fourth inning.
Nehl was 2-for-4 for Delaware and the teams each had six hits. Michael Londino made his first start of the season for the Blue Hens after 12 relief appearances and allowed one run on just two hits in four innings of work. Reliever Corey Crispill came on to start the fifth inning and had allowed four hits and five runs (four earned) in the frame when the rains came.
The Liberty Bell Classic started in 1992 and the championship game has been hosted each year by the Philadelphia Phillies. Delaware and Villanova have combined to win nine of the 17 championship games. The Wildcats have three titles and most recently appeared in the finals when they won the 2005 championship. The last of the six Blue Hens titles came in 2002.
Villanova takes to the road this weekend for a three-game conference series at Georgetown. The games will be played at Shirley Povich Field in Bethesda, Md. The teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 4 p.m. and the final game of the series on Sunday at 1 p.m.