May 15, 2009
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - Seniors Wes Borden (State College, Pa.) and Joe Cotter (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) each homered and drove in four runs and junior Brian Streilein (Staten Island, N.Y.) pitched a complete game on Friday afternoon as Villanova (22-27, 6-19 Big East) rallied for an 11-6 win over Connecticut (32-23, 13-13 Big East) at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth.
The Wildcats came back from a 5-1 deficit with five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and five more in the seventh. Borden hit a three-run double in the fifth-inning rally and Villanova came out of the inning with a 6-5 lead after the Huskies had scored three runs of their own in the top half of the frame.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Borden and Cotter - roommates, along with four other seniors - each hit home runs to put the game away. Borden hit a solo shot with one out against Trent DeLazzer, who then loaded the bases on a walk and a pair of singles. Connecticut brought Robert Van Woert out of the bullpen and he was greeted by a Cotter grand slam off of the scoreboard in left-center field.
Cotter went 3-for-5 and scored two runs while Borden had a 3-for-4 day with three runs scored. Villanova totaled 12 hits and posted a win that featured a little bit of everything one day after being on the short end of a 20-6 loss.
Streilein (5-8, 5.46 ERA) scattered 11 hits and six earned runs in his second complete game of the season. He walked two and struck out seven, including a pair of punch outs in the top of the fifth inning that swung the momentum in the Wildcats favor. Streilein also ended the game with a strikeout of George Springer.
In the top of the fifth inning, the Huskies scored three times and expanded a one-run lead to 5-1 right after Villanova had posted its first run of the afternoon in its previous at-bat. Mike Nemeth singled in the third run in that frame for UConn and Streilein then walked Springer on four pitches to load the bases with still just one out. He [Streilein] had the final say, however, striking out Peter Fatse and Mike Olt in succession to end the inning.
Sophomore Dain Hall (Barrington, Ill.) came off the bench for the first time this season to go 2-for-3 with a run scored and three RBI, while freshman Marlon Calbi (Montclair, N.J.) and redshirt freshman Matt Szczur (Erma, N.J.) also had two hits apiece for the Wildcats.
Kevin Vance (0-1, 4.70 ERA) took the loss in relief for Connecticut, pitching the fifth inning and allowing the five runs (three earned) that Villanova scored. He surrendered three hits, walked two and struck out one while seeing his ERA jump more than three runs. Starting pitcher Greg Nappo allowed three hits and just an unearned run in four innings of work.
One day after the Wildcats had contributed to their 20-6 loss with five errors, the Huskies made five of their own in Friday afternoon's contest. Three were committed by Olt at third base, and all of those came on ground balls hit by Villanova senior Kyle Carver (Aldan, Pa.). Carver was officially 0-for-4 but also drew a walk and scored two runs in the game.
Pierre LePage went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBI for Connecticut and Nemeth drove in two runs with a pair of singles. Streilein was at his best against the middle of the Huskies lineup though, as 3-4-5 hitters Springer, Fatse and Olt were a combined 1-for-12 with all seven of Streilein's strikeouts.
The rubber game of the weekend series - as well as Villanova's final game of the season - takes place on Saturday at 12:45 p.m. A pre-game ceremony to honor the Wildcats seven graduating seniors will get underway on the field at 12:30 p.m.
NOTES: Cotter's grand slam was the first by a Villanova hitter this season and the first for the team since James Dolbier hit one against St. John's in the opening game of last year's BIG EAST Championship ... As part of Villanova Baseball Alumni Weekend, the baseball program's eighth annual alumni golf outing was held earlier in the day at Blue Bell Country Club ... The returning players, families and friends also had a barbecue at the field.