Saturday Sweep: Rutgers Takes Pair from `Cats on Rainy Day at Plymouth
May 16, 2003
PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA - In rainy conditions at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth on Saturday, May 16, the Villanova baseball team was swept in a doubleheader by Rutgers. In game one, the Scarlet Knights (32-17, 19-5) and Wildcats battled through a 2:28 rain delay with Rutgers coming out on top, 5-0. In the day's second game, RU's Shaun Parker fired a five-inning no-hitter as Rutgers defeated the `Cats, 9-0, to complete the sweep. The two victories, coupled with a pair of West Virginia losses, give RU its first Big East regular season title since 2000 and its third in six seasons. The Wildcats fell to 13-32 overall and 5-19 in the Big East on the year.
Rutgers jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the first game when Graig Badger led off the game with a walk and, after stealing second and moving to third on a sacrifice, scored on an RBI groundout by Jeff Frazier. Then, with two outs, Vinny Esposito doubled off the fence in left-center and scored on a bloop single to right by Steve Normane.
Rutgers doubled its lead with two runs in the third, thanks to RBI singles from Alberto Vasquez and Nick Cerulo. Leading 4-0, Egbert allowed a leadoff single and lost his grip on the first pitch to Alan Day, prompting the home plate umpire to postpone the inning.
When play resumed 2 ½ hours later, relief pitcher OJ DeChristofano used a groundout and 4-6-3 double play to end the fourth inning. He induced three more groundballs in a 1-2-3 fifth inning and allowed single walks in the sixth and seventh to finish off the victory. Frazier hit a solo home run in the top of the seventh to account for the final run of the game.
DeChristofano (4-3) earned the win with four hitless innings of relief. Tom Kandybowicz took the loss for the Wildcats in his final collegiate start despite a solid seven-inning effort that saw him strikeout seven batters.
In the nightcap, Badger led off the first once again with a walk, stole second, moved to third on a flyout and scored on an RBI groundout by Esposito. In the second, RU tacked on five more runs, stringing together three hits, two walks and a hit batter. A walk to Colin Gaynor, single from Defendis and a hit by pitch with Cerulo at the plate loaded the bases with no outs. Mike Bionde drove a sac fly to center, scoring Gaynor. After Defenids scored on a balk, Badger singled to center, plating Cerulo for a 4-0 lead. Wolski then singled to put runners at first and second and, after a double steal, Frazier drove a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Badger. A walk to Esposito put runners at the corners, setting the stage for a double steal attempt. Esposito was tagged out on the play to end the inning, but not before Wolski scampered home for a 6-0 lead.
RU added two more in the fourth on RBI singles from Normane and Gaynor, scoring Frazier (single) and Esposito (walk), to increase its lead to 8-0. Following a pitching change, Bionde singled to center, scoring Normane with the ninth run of the game. After another hitless frame from Parker in the bottom of the fifth, the umpires called off the game.
Nick Allen took the loss for the Wildcats in game two to fall to 4-7. One bright spot for Villanova was senior Mark Rocca who came on in relief in the fifth inning and sent down the Scarlet Knights in order.
The two teams return to action for a single game at 12:00 noon tomorrow.