May 12, 2004
PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA. - Freshman right-hander Kevin Mulvey struck out a career-high eight batters and senior shortstop Brian Trotta knocked in a game-high three runs as the Villanova baseball team won its 2004 home finale, 5-2, over the Penn State Nittany Lions on Wednesday, May 12th, at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth. With the win, the Wildcats improved to 27-19-1 overall on the season. The Nittany Lions fell to 26-21 with Wednesday's loss.
The game began as a pitcher's dual, as Mulvey and Jared Hopewell of Penn State kept the opposing offenses in check. The contest remained scoreless through the first five innings, with Mulvey allowing just two hits and striking out six Nittany Lions.
Penn State broke the scoreless deadlock in the top of the sixth inning with the help of a Wildcat error. With runners on first and second and two outs, Leitgeb hit a ground ball to Trotta which bounced under the glove of the shortstop allowing leftfielder Travis Laird to score the game's first run to give the Nittany Lions a 1-0 lead. Penn State tried to score a second run on the play, but a perfect relay throw from second baseman Craig Mirsky to catcher Andy Wendle was in time to get Nittany Lions' third baseman Colin Runt at the plate.
The Penn State lead would not last for long, as Villanova rallied for three runs of its own in the bottom of the sixth inning to claim a 3-1 lead. The Wildcats had runners as second and third with two outs in the inning, when rightfielder Alan Day ripped a hard grounder to Mike Milliron at shortstop. The Penn State shortstop misplayed the ball allowed Villanova third baseman Angelo Petracca to score on the play and tie the game at 1-1. Trotta followed with a two-run triple to right-centerfield to give Villanova its first lead of the contest at 3-1.
Mulvey got through the seventh inning, striking out the final two batters he faced, to set a new career-high with eight strikeouts.
The Wildcats put two insurance runs on the board in the bottom of the eighth inning to extend their lead to 5-1. Villanova leftfielder Brian Newbold singled and first baseman Adrian Schau doubled with one out to five the `Cats runners at second and third. Newbold came around to score one batter later on a past ball to increase the lead to 4-1. Later in the inning, Trotta laid down a perfect suicide squeeze to score Schau and give Villanova a 5-1 lead after eight innings.
In the top of the ninth inning, Penn State scored a run off of Schau to close the gap to 5-2. With the bases loaded, the Wildcat closer got Lion rightfielder Brett Showalter to pop to third for the second out and struck out designated hitter Aaron Greenfield to end the game.
Mulvey (5-4) earned the win, allowing just one unearned run on four hits in seven innings, striking out eight and walking four. Senior Mike Ciccotelli came on to pitch a scoreless eighth and Schau worked the ninth.
Hoepwell (1-3) took the loss for Penn State, giving up three unearned runs on seven hits in five and two-thirds innings, striking out three and walking one.
At the plate for the Wildcats, Trotta went two-for-three with a double, triple and three RBI, and Schau went three-for-four with a double and a run scored.
For Penn State, Leitgeb went three-for-four with one RBI.
Villanova will get back into action this weekend traveling to Georgetown to take on the Hoyas in a three-game series. The Wildcats and Hoyas will play a Saturday night game at 7:00 p.m., and wind down the series with a Monday doubleheader at noon.