May 10, 2014
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - Six shutout innings of pitching from junior JB Kole helped lift the Villanova Wildcats (15-30 overall) to a 3-2 victory over Manhattan (13-31 overall) in a non-conference baseball game played here this afternoon.
Villanova also got key hits from third baseman Kevin Jewitt in the first inning and one from Todd Czinege in the fifth inning to help set the stage for the win, the Wildcats' third in a row and second triumph over the Jaspers in as many days.
"Feels great to put a quality start together," Kole told Nova Nation All-Access in a post-game interview. Kole improved his record to 3-3 in 2014 and lowered his season earned run average to 5.68.
The Jaspers picked up a leadoff single from Jose Carrera to start the day's action. When No. 2 batter Chris Kalousdian was hit by a pitch from Kole, Manhattan had an early threat. But the junior hurler came back to strike out Brendan Slattery and Christian Santisteban in the inning. That was sandwiched around a play where Kalousidan was caught stealing and was sufficient to snuff out the threat.
"Getting out of that first inning kind of got me going," stated Kole.
Connor Jones singled up the middle to open the bottom half of the first frame for Villanova. Manhattan's Joe Jacques retired the next two Wildcats before sophomore Max Beerman drew a base on balls. The sophomore Jewitt then pulled a pitch down the left field line for a clutch RBI double to give the `Cats an early 1-0 advantage.
Kole took it from there in a commanding performance that kept the Jaspers at bay through the middle innings. He struck out the side in order in the third inning.
Villanova mounted another bid for runs in the bottom of the fifth inning when the first two base-runners in the inning, Eric Lowe and Jones, reached base on a hit by pitch and walk. That set it up for Czinege, who fought off a series of tough pitches after falling behind in the count 0-2 before delivering a triple over the head of centerfielder Kalousdian that plated Lowe and Jones to extend the Wildcats' lead to 3-0.
Kole completed his day after six shutout innings of three hit baseball. His line included a career-best nine strikeouts and zero walks (there were three Jaspers hit by pitched baseballs). Kole handed the ball over to Kagan Richardson to begin the seventh inning for Villanova.
Manhattan got on the board in its half of the seventh inning thanks to an RBI single by second baseman Matt Forlow. Carrera followed that with a triple into the gap in right centerfield that plated Forlow to shave the `Cats lead to 3-2. Richardson then induced a pop up to third baseman Jewitt off the bat of Kalousdian to end the inning and hold the lead.
Wildcats head coach Joe Godri called on senior Matt Meurer to close the door in the final two innings and he did exactly that, retiring all six hitters he faced over the final two frames. The contest was completed in a tidy 2:19 which was noteworthy as a series of thunderstorms moved into the area shortly after the conclusion of this contest.
The save was the eighth of the campaign for Meurer.
The Wildcats and Jaspers return to the Ballpark at Plymouth for the finale of this three-game series on Sunday at 1:15 p.m. (Nova Nation All-Access Pass). Seven Villanova seniors will be honored for their contributions to the program in a ceremony that is set to begin at 1:00 p.m.