May 13, 2012
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - For the sixth time in eight weeks during conference play a series came down to the final game and Villanova (28-24, 10-14 BIG EAST) lost by a score of 7-3 in the rubber game of its series against Cincinnati (16-37, 5-19 BIG EAST) at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth on Sunday afternoon. It was Senior Day at the ballpark and the Wildcats recognized nine graduating seniors in a ceremony prior to the start of the game.
Once the contest got underway the Bearcats led from start to finish, scoring one run in the top of the first inning and later pulling away from a 2-1 score with a four-run sixth inning that put the game all but out of reach. Villanova struck out 11 times against two Cincinnati pitchers and were limited to scoring single runs in the fourth, sixth and eighth innings.
Despite the Wildcats coming out on the short end of the score senior shortstop Marlon Calbi (Montclair, N.J.) reached base in five straight plate appearances in the game, going 3-for-3 with three singles while getting hit by a pitch two times as well. He drove in the final Villanova run of the game with an RBI single up the middle in the bottom of the eighth inning and was the only Wildcats hitter with more than one hit for the day.
In the top of the first inning the Bearcats had a one-out base runner when T.J. Jones singled to right field. He was still at first base with two outs when a walk and another single drove him home with the game's first run. A second walk in the inning loaded the bases with two away before sophomore starting pitcher Max Almonte (Long Beach, N.Y.) got out of the inning with only one run scoring when Calbi snagged a groundball hit back up the middle and made a quick throw which was scooped by freshman first baseman Brandon Carr (Danville, Calif.) to prevent further damage.
Cincinnati had no trouble getting its offense going against Almonte (1-5, 5.98 ERA) in the early innings but left 10 runners on base in the first five innings and led by just one run until breaking through with the big sixth inning. Braden Kline hit his second RBI single of the game for the Bearcats in the third inning to put Cincinnati ahead 2-0 and Villanova cut that margin in half when senior center fielder Jordan Zech (Naples, Fla.) walked with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth inning to score the first Wildcats run.
In the sixth inning Jones tripled with one out but Villanova nearly escaped the inning unscathed before the Bearcats scored four times with two outs. Kline hit a two-run double and Ethan McAlpine and Ryan Quinn delivered back-to-back RBI singles which extended the Cincinnati lead to 6-1.
Almonte yielded two earned runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings and walked three while striking out four. When all was said and done the Bearcats scored at least once against all five pitchers that the Wildcats used in the game and finished with 13 hits a day after being held to only three hits in a 7-3 win for Villanova on Saturday afternoon.
Cincinnati starting pitcher Christian McElroy (3-6, 4.06 ERA) pitched into the seventh inning and struck out eight while holding the Wildcats to four hits and two runs (one earned) against him. Thomas Gentile registered the final seven outs for his first save of the season.
Villanova plays its final non-conference game of the year and its last home game of the 2012 season on Tuesday at 3:45 p.m. against Penn State.