Early Runs Not Enough as Wildcats Fall to Penn State, 7-4
May 14, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In its final non-conference game of the season Villanova (11-40) scored three runs with one out in the top of the first inning but was held off the scoreboard from that point until there were two outs in the top of the ninth in a 7-4 loss to Penn State (13-34) at Medlar Field on Tuesday afternoon. Two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning gave the Nittany Lions the lead for the first time, 4-3, and Penn State scored three runs in its final two at-bats to provide ample insurance.
After the Wildcats sent seven men to the plate in the top of the first inning and jumped out to an early 3-0 lead the Nittany Lions got a run back in the bottom of the inning and the score stayed 3-1 through the end of three innings. Another single run for Penn State with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning made the score 3-2 but any further damage was prevented by two terrific defensive plays in the inning. One inning later however, Elliot Searer hit a two-out, two-run double that fell just inside the left field line to score the tying and go-ahead runs.
In the top of the first inning senior center fielder Paul Rambaud (Chicago, Ill.) singled to lead off the game and stole second base with nobody out. He was at third with one out and scored on an RBI groundout by freshman first baseman Max Beermann (Tampa, Ill.), who was safe himself when an error was committed on the play.
Junior right fielder Connor Jones (Chandler, Ariz.) and junior catcher John Cialone (Houston, Texas) each followed with run-scoring singles against Nittany Lions starting pitcher Patton Taylor (1-3, 8.64 ERA), who allowed five hits and struck out seven over six innings despite surrendering three unearned runs in the top of the first.
Rambaud reached base safely three times in the game, going 1-for-3 and twice getting hit by a pitch. He has now reached base safely in 10 straight games, with this being his second double-digit on-base streak of the season. Freshman third baseman Kevin Jewitt (West Chester, Pa.) was 2-for-3 with a double, walk and two stolen bases and Jones reached base twice with a single and a walk. Jewitt led off the ninth inning with a double off the left field fence and scored the final run of the game with two outs on a single through the left side by senior second baseman Tyler Sciacca (Staten Island, N.Y.).
In the bottom of the fourth inning James Coates led off with a bunt single and moved up to second when Luis Montesinos was robbed of a hit on a groundball up the middle. Freshman shortstop Eric Lowe (Arlington Heights, Ill.) fielded the ball on the outfield grass behind the second base bag and threw to first to get Montesinos for the first out of the inning.
J.C. Coban followed with an RBI single but then was doubled off first base when Rambaud caught a line drive in center field and made a strong throw to first base, which Beermann caught as he kept his foot on the corner of the base for the third out.
Sophomore starting pitcher Jeff Courter (Maple Glen, Pa.) retired seven straight batters after allowing a two-out RBI double to Montesinos in the bottom of the first inning. He had allowed four hits and two runs while walking one and striking out three through the first four innings but then was reached for three hits and two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Courte r (1-1, 4.66 ERA) wound up being charged with five runs on nine hits over 6 1/3 innings, with the final run on his account scoring after he left the game.
Aaron Novak and Tyler Kendall each singled for Penn State in the bottom of the fifth inning and leadoff hitter Steve Snyder moved runners up to second and third on a dribbler in front of the plate for the second out. Courter got ahead of Searer, 0-2, but Searer worked the count even before doubling to drive in two runs.
Coban and Kendall each had three hits to lead the Nittany Lions.
Villanova closes out the 2013 season with a three-game series at Georgetown later this week. The series opener is on Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Shirley Povich Field.
NOTES: Sciacca scored one of the three Wildcats runs in the top of the first inning ... The run was the 100th of his career and comes two games after he recorded his 100th career RBI against Pittsburgh last weekend ... Junior relief pitcher Chris Haggarty (Valley Cottage, N.Y.) made his team-high 27th relief appearance of the season ... That number is the second most in school history for a single-season, trailing only the record 30 appearances made by Scott Marks in 1999.