May 23, 2004
PISCATAWAY, N.J. - The Villanova baseball team ended the 2004 season on a high note, defeating the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, 7-6, on Sunday at the Class of `53 Baseball Complex in Piscataway, to complete a three-game sweep over its Big East foe. First baseman Adrian Schau had a game-high four RBI for the Wildcats, who end the season with a 31-20-1 overall record and an 11-14 mark (6th place) in Big East Conference play. The Scarlet Knights end their season at 30-23 overall and 13-11 (5th place) in conference action.
The Villanova offense jumped on Rutgers' starter Shaun Parker in the top of the first inning, scoring four times to take the early 4-0 lead. Centerfielder Kris Molloy and third baseman Angelo Petracca singled to leadoff the game for the Wildcats, and designated hitter Danny Poydenis was hit by a Parker pitch to load the bases with no outs. With one out in the inning, Schau hammered a bases-clearing double off the wall in right-centerfield to give the `Cats a 3-0 lead. One batter later, with shortstop Brian Trotta at the plate, Schau took off for third looking for his second theft of the season. Schau slid in safely and when catcher Colin Gainer's throw sailed over the third base bag, the Wildcat first baseman scampered home with the fourth run of the inning giving Villanova a 4-0 advantage.
The `Cats' offense remained in high gear as they added three more runs in the top of the second inning. The Wildcats loaded the bases with no outs for the second straight inning - on a Mark Cardillo hit by pitch, a Molloy bunt single and a Rutgers error on a Petracca ground ball to second. Parker appeared headed towards getting out of the inning with no harm done as he struck out Poydenis for the first out and forced Newbold into a pop up for the second out; but Schau earned a four-pitch walk to force in Cardillo giving Villanova a 5-0 lead. Trotta followed with a two-run bloop single to rightfield, bringing in Molloy and Petracca to make it a 7-0 game.
Wildcat freshman starter Kevin Mulvey set the tone in the early stages of the contest. Mulvey made it an easy first inning thanks in part to Rutgers batting out of order. He then sent the Scarlet Knights down in order in two of the next three innings.
Villanova took a 7-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning, when Rutgers finally got on the scoreboard against Mulvey and the Wildcats. A double by catcher Colin Gaynor, a walk to centerfielder Nick Cerulo and an RBI single by third baseman Tim Querns led to the Scarlet Knights' first run, as they trimmed the lead to 7-1.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Rutgers cut the Villanova lead even further. The Scarlet Knights loaded the bases with no outs on a leadoff double by rightfielder Jeff Frazier, a single by first baseman Nick Canuso and a hit batter. Cerullo followed with an RBI single through the right side, plating Frazier to make it a 7-2 game. Sophomore right-hander Ted Aust came on in relief of Mulvey and allowed a two-run single by designated hitter Cory Rodriguez to close the gap to 7-4. Rutgers would add one more in the inning as Rodriguez came in to score on an Aust wild pitch, as the Scarlet Knights closed to within two runs at 7-5.
Villanova head coach Joe Godri brought junior right-hander Mike Grodecki on in relief to begin the seventh inning. Grodecki preserved the Wildcats' 7-5 lead, striking out two batters in the seventh and recording a 1-2-3 eighth inning.
Looking to seal the win in the bottom of the ninth inning, senior lefty Mike Ciccotelli entered the game hoping to notch his fourth save of the season. Ciccotelli registered back-to-back groundouts to second base to begin the inning, before leftfielder David Williams lined a triple over the head of centerfielder Kris Molloy. Frazier followed with an RBI single to make it a 7-6 game and put the tying run on base. Ciccotelli closed the door on any further hopes of a Scarlet Knight rally, striking Canuso out swinging to end the game.
Mulvey (7-4) earned the win for Villanova, allowing five runs on six hits in five-plus innings, striking out two and walking three. He ends the season with a team-best seven wins. Ciccotelli tallied his fourth save of the season for the `Cats in the victory.
Shaun Parker took the loss for Rutgers to fall to 3-3. He surrendered seven runs (three earned) on four hits in one and two-thirds innings, striking out two and walking two. Jim Jansen came on in relief and threw seven and one-third shutout innings.
At the plate for Villanova, Schau went one-for-two with a double and a game-high four RBI and Trotta was one-four-two with two RBI. In addition, Molloy and Petracca each had two hits apiece.
For Rutgers, Frazier went two-for-five with one RBI and Rodriguez went one-for-four with two RBI.