Weekend Preview: Wildcats Return to North Carolina
Feb. 21, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - After last weekend's trip to North Carolina produced just one game due to weather Villanova will hope for better luck in a return trip to the Raleigh area over the next few days. For the second go-around the Wildcats will play their games on the North Carolina State campus, with contests scheduled against the host Wolfpack in addition to La Salle and Wagner.
The game against North Carolina State has been moved to Thursday afternoon due to the potential for rain on Friday. Additional schedule changes for the weekend are possible, and will be announced if and when they become available.
Senior right-hander Kevin MacLachlan (Matawan, N.J.) will take the hill for Villanova in the weekend opener against the Wolfpack, while junior righty Pat Young (The Woodlands, Texas) and sophomore left-hander Josh Harris (Streamwood, Ill.) would likely start the Wildcats next two games.
A big theme of the weekend will be the college baseball coaching tree that Villanova head coach Joe Godri is in the middle of. He was previously the assistant coach at New Mexico State to current North Carolina State head coach Elliott Avent. In addition, Wagner head coach Jim Carone was an assistant to Godri with the Wildcats from 2009-11.
"This weekend offers a very unique event for Villanova due to the significant ties between our program and each of the three teams we will play this weekend. Elliott Avent and Jim Carone are two close friends of mine in the coaching business."
Villanova will be eager to return to action after a 7-6 loss to Monmouth in its season opener last Friday afternoon. Following that game three other contests were wiped out due to bad weather. Even in just one game Godri still felt there were valuable takeaways for the team.
"I think what we lost in having three games cancelled is a period of evaluation," Godri said. "This weekend I am looking forward to seeing where we are at as a ballclub, regardless of who the opponent is. At the same time there were a lot of things that happened in the Monmouth game which we can work off of."
One of the biggest positives that could come out of the Monmouth game is that the Wildcats were able to use 20 players in the game, showcasing the depth of this year's roster. Villanova should be able to match up well with opponents at the beginning of the game and in the late innings all season long.
"We are going to use a lot of players and that is a message we reinforce with the team consistently," Godri said. "I thought that getting 20 guys into the game against Monmouth creates some momentum for us to build on. I would like to see us continue having a good pregame routine and to see the results of these guys continuing to get more experience playing together."
Thursday afternoon's game will mark the fourth time Villanova has faced North Carolina State in Godri's tenure and the second time that the Wildcats will play on Doak Field.
"When all is said and done there is a chance North Carolina State could be the best team we play all year," Godri said. "They are as good as anyone in the country and I believe they will be playing in the College World Series this year."
Villanova is very familiar with local foe La Salle, who the Wildcats will face at least two more times following this weekend. The teams each host a game at their home field later in the season.
"La Salle is going to be our opponent in the first round of the Liberty Bell Classic later in the year," Godri said. "Obviously both of these teams know each other very well and I think the first game of the season against a Big Five opponent will provide a lot of enthusiasm."
There has been just one previous meeting between Villanova and Wagner during Godri's current tenure with the Wildcats. During the 2008 season the Seawhawks came to the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth and tallied a 5-3 victory.
"This is the first weekend of the season for Wagner and I know they will play with a lot of spirit. Although these teams have not faced each other in a few years there is still plenty of familiarity between us with Jim Carone having recruited a number of the current Wildcats during his time at Villanova."