May 7, 2014
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Following two straight weekends on the road and with the end of final exams in sight Villanova (13-30) will take a break from conference play this weekend to host a three-game series against Manhattan at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth. The series gets underway on Friday afternoon and there will be a number of exciting events on tap throughout the weekend. The series opener on Friday starts at 4 p.m., while the games on Saturday and Sunday get underway at 1:15 p.m.
On Saturday the Wildcats will host Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeastern Pennsylvania. The guests from the organization who attend the game are invited to bring their baseball gloves for the chance to have a pre-game catch in the outfield. The kids from Big Brothers Big Sisters will also take the field in front of the third base dugout to stand with the Villanova players for the national anthem. There is a barbecue at the field following the game that will include an autograph session with the Wildcats.
Sunday is Senior Day and Villanova will honor the seven seniors on the team for their career achievements both on and off the diamond. Pre-game festivities start promptly at 1 p.m. and following the recognition ceremony each senior will have the chance to catch a ceremonial first pitch from their mother in celebration of both Senior Day and Mother's Day.
This weekend will mark the first meeting since 2011 between the Wildcats and the Jaspers, although the all-time series between the teams is a historical one. Villanova first faced Manhattan on May 25, 1894 and the teams played 33 times between 1894 and 1943. Following those contests in the early years of both programs was a 68-year gap until the Jaspers made their first visit to the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth on March 20, 2011. That game was part of the Big Five Baseball Bash and the Wildcats squeezed out a 7-6 victory. The all-time series is tied 16-16-2.
Villanova has set its rotation for the weekend and will have junior left-hander Josh Harris (Streamwood, Ill.), junior righty JB Kole (Basking Ridge, N.J.) and freshman southpaw Hunter Schryver (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) throwing against Manhattan this weekend. As a result of this week's break for finals and recent midweek rainouts the Wildcats have not played a non-conference game since they hosted Saint Joseph's on April 23.
In its most recent game Villanova closed out a BIG EAST series at Georgetown last Sunday with a 13-2 victory. The top five spots in the batting order combined to go 10-for-16 with 12 runs scored in the game, with senior center fielder Connor Jones (Chandler, Ariz.) and sophomore first baseman Max Beermann (Tampa, Fla.) contributing three hits apiece to the victory.
Beermann has been the Wildcats top hitter this season and is batting .312 to go along with a .424 on-base percentage and a .497 slugging percentage. His slugging percentage ranks fourth in the BIG EAST and he also leads the team with 14 doubles. Jones is batting .284, is riding a 12-game streak of reaching base safely and leads the conference with six triples on the year. Sophomore left fielder Adam Goss (Bellaire, Texas) and senior reliever Matt Meurer (Katy, Texas) also top the BIG EAST in hit by pitch (20) and games finished (19), respectively.