Wildcats Win 30th as Loree Shuts Down Rutgers
May 22, 2004
PISCATAWAY, NJ - For the second-straight day, the Villanova baseball team thrived in its role as the spoiler, edging Rutgers, 2-1, Saturday afternoon at the Class of '53 Complex. The Wildcats' victory knocked the Scarlet Knights' out of the conference playoff race, as Rutgers came into the series battling for a Big East Tournament berth. Mike Loree was sensational on Saturday for the `Cats taking a shutout into the ninth for his sixth win of the season. The win was Villanova's 30th of the season, improving the team's record 30-20-1 overall and 11-14 in Big East play. RU's loss, its fifth-straight in BIG EAST play, drops its record to 30-22 overall and 13-10 in league action.
Neither team mustered much offense in the early going, as Knights' starter O.J. DeChristofano set down the 11 batters he faced, fanning five, and Loree allowd just one single, a walk and two hit batters as the hurlers completed four innings without allowing a run. In the fifth, VU first baseman Adrian Schau turned on a fastball and lofted a home run down the line in left, giving the Wildcats a 1-0 lead. From that point, DeChristofano gritted his way through the next two innings, keeping the score at 1-0.
Rutgers' offense remained stagnant in the middle innings, putting the leadoff hitter on in both the fifth and sixth inning, but failed to score. In the sixth, Graig Badger led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice by Jeff Grose, but Loree struck out Jeff Frazier for the second out and escaped the threat.
In the seventh, DeChristofano retired the first two hitters before issuing a walk to leadoff hitter Kris Molloy. Already 3.2 innings further than he has pitched all season, head coach Fred Hill called to the bullpen for Tom Malafronte, with RU trailing 1-0. Molloy stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch before Angelo Petracca dumped a two-strike single into shallow left field to make the score 2-0.
Rutgers' Rich Canuso gave Rutgers hope in the ninth, leading off with a monstrous home run, his ninth of the season, to cut the lead to 2-1 against a tiring Loree. He battled back to induce a flyout from Colin Gaynor , a well-struck lineout from Nick Cerulo, and a groundout from Tim Querns, who had entered the game as a defensive replacement.
Loree (6-2) earned the win, allowing just one run on five hits in nine innings, walking two and striking out five. DeChristofano (0-1) allowed three hits and two runs in 7.2 innings, walking two and striking out five.
Rutgers and Villanova will wrap up their series, and the regular season, at noon tomorrow.
Villanova at Rutgers May 22, 2004 at Piscataway, NJ (Class of 53 Complex)