May 17, 2013
BETHESDA, Md. - Everything broke right on both sides of the ball for Villanova (12-40, 3-19 BIG EAST) in the opener of a three-game series, as senior starting pitcher Stephen Ostapeck (Sacramento, Calif.) pitched the third complete game shutout of his career and was backed by three home runs in an 8-0 win over Georgetown (25-26, 5-17 BIG EAST) at Shirley Povich Field on Thursday night. The victory for the Wildcats was the 300th career win for head coach Joe Godri.
Junior right fielder Connor Jones (Chandler, Ariz.) and senior left fielder Steve Schrenk (Brigantine, N.J.) hit back-to-back solo home runs in the top of the fifth inning and senior shortstop Tyler Sciacca (Staten Island, N.Y.) added a solo shot to lead off the eighth inning on a night where Villanova produced 11 hits and fired on all cylinders. Freshman first baseman Max Beermann (Tampa, Fla.) opened the scoring with a two-run double in the fourth inning and seven different players wound up driving in runs.
The offensive production was plenty for Ostapeck (1-8, 4.07 ERA) to work with in a start that showed the full array of his talents on the mound. He limited the Hoyas to just two hits after the fourth inning, walked three and struck out five while keeping the Georgetown lineup consistently off balance to prevent any big innings. Or any rallies at all for that matter. Ostapeck retired nine of the final 10 batters he faced and quickly retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Neither team broke through offensively in the first three innings and Ostapeck aced his only real test of the night by stranding the bases loaded in the bottom of the second inning. Steve Anderson singled and Corbin Blakey was hit by a pitch with one out in the inning and the Hoyas loaded the bases when Trevor Matern worked a two-out walk. Ostapeck got Ryan Busch to fly out to center field on the first offering however, and Georgetown had just five base runners the rest of the game.
After a quick 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the third Villanova took control for good in the top of the fourth inning. Jones and Schrenk led off with a single and a walk, respectively, to set the table. With one out in the inning Beermann connected on a 1-1 pitch and doubled to center field to drive in both runners. Beermann scored himself later in the inning when freshman catcher Emmanuel Morris (Willowbrook, Ill.) singled through the left side for the first of his two hits on the night.
Prior to the top of the fourth inning, which ended with the Wildcats holding a 3-0 lead, Villanova had not provided Ostapeck with a lead of more than two runs to work with in any game this season. Working with a lead of any kind for the first time in more than a month Ostapeck allowed a one-out single in the bottom of the fourth inning but had two strikeouts in the frame and never came close to letting the Hoyas back in the game.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats hitters were launching baseballs all over the field. After there were two outs and nobody on in the top of the fifth inning Jones lined a 1-0 pitch over the right-center field fence for his fourth home run of the season. Exactly two pitchers later Schrenk blasted a ball down the right field line and it stayed fair for long enough to become the second Villanova home run in a span of three pitches. Georgetown starting pitcher Matt Smith (3-4, 5.02 ERA) walked freshman third baseman Kevin Jewitt (West Chester, Pa.) and then nearly allowed a third home run in the inning to Beermann, whose drive to right field went foul before carrying far over the fence.
Freshman pinch hitter Luke Emling (Nottingham, Pa.) hit an RBI double and freshman shortstop Eric Lowe (Arlington Heights, Ill.) delivered a sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh inning, while Sciacca's home run to left in the top of the eighth inning closed the scoring for the night.
Jones finished the night 3-for-4 with two runs scored and continued his hot hitting against BIG EAST teams. In conference games this season Jones is batting .288 with a .420 on-base percentage, .530 slugging percentage and four home runs to go along with 19 runs batted in.
The second game of the three-game set is on Friday at 3 p.m.
NOTES: Ostapeck pitched shutouts last season against Norfolk State and St. John's ... He has made six quality starts this season and leads the team with a 3.68 ERA against BIG EAST opponents ... Villanova had been shut out in five of his first 11 starts ... The hitters in the 3-7 spots in the Wildcats lineup combined to go 8-for-19 with all eight runs scored and five runs batted in ... Senior center fielder Paul Rambaud (Chicago, Ill.) drew two walks to extend his streak of reaching base safely to 11 straight games ... Godri's 300 wins at Villanova are second most in program history.