Feb. 22, 2013
FORT MEYERS, Fla. - Villanova softball took home their first win of the season Friday morning with a strong 5-0 win over Albany in the first game of the FCGU/La Quinta Inn and Suites Tournament in Fort Meyers, Fla. The Wildcats were led defensively by rookie Kate Poppe (Downingtown, Pa./Bishop Shanahan) who registered 15 strikeouts in her first collegiate game, just one K-shy away from the school record for most strikeouts in a single game. Poppe maintained a no-hitter through the first six innings.
Senior Valerie Ortega (Ventura, Calif./Oaks Christian) started off Villanova's offensive surge on the right foot with a double to center field. Last season, Ortega led the BIG EAST in doubles per game. The Wildcat's continued to perform in the third inning as Amanda Marquez (Miami, Fla./Miami Palmetto Senior) drove a ball to left center field, earning her a double. Shea Palmer's (Scottsdale, Ariz./Pinnacle) sacrificial bunt followed by Beth Smetana's (San Diego, Calif/Cathedral Catholic) double put the Wildcats up 3-0 at the end of the third. Smetana would earn three RBI's off the play.
Freshman Aleshia Ayers (Sacramento, Calif./Rosemont) notched her first career hit with a double to left field in the fourth inning, while junior Ali Lowe (West Palm Beach, Fla./Wellington) ripped a double and brought in an RBI, giving the `Cats the 4-0 edge over the Great Danes with three innings to play. Valerie Ortega would follow up in the fifth inning with a single.
Albany couldn't get a hit off of Poppe and Villanova kept their composure as she struck out batter after batter, ending the sixth inning with a no-hitter and 13 strikeouts.
The Wildcats secured the morning victory in the final inning of the morning when Valerie Ortega stole second base and freshman Shea Palmer stole home plate to give Villanova their fifth and final run.
Poppe notched her 14th strikeout in the bottom of the seventh, but gave up her no- hitter when Albany designated hitter Marlin Solano reached out and got a piece of Poppe's screwball and singled to third base. The Great Danes would feature one more batter who would strikeout swinging, giving Poppe her 15th and final strikeout of the game. She was one strikeout shy of tying a school record for most strikeouts in a single game.
Villanova out-hit Albany 9-1 and committed zero errors. The Wildcats will hope to go two-for-two when they take on St. Bonaventure this afternoon in Fort Meyers, Fla.