Feb. 24, 2013
FORT MEYERS, Fla. - The Wildcats (4-1) left the FGCU/La Quinta Inn and Suites Tournament on a high note with a 5-0 win over Michigan State in their final game in Ft. Meyers, Fla. Sunday morning. Rookie pitcher Kate Poppe had yet another strong performance on the mound striking out 10 batters. The Spartans kept the game close in the first few innings, but Villanova pulled away and would secure the lead in the sixth inning.
Beth Smetana (San Diego, Calif.) got a piece of the ball in her first at bat of the morning and doubled to left field. Her hit would be the Wildcat's only of the inning. Michigan State's J. O'Bryant put the got on the scoreboard early with a triple to right center field, bringing in a run and putting MSU up 1-0. The run would be Michigan State's only run for the afternoon as Kate Poppe (Downingtown, Pa.) pitched another tough game. Poppe was backed up by a tight Villanova defense that made sure not to allow the Spartans to get through offensively.
The Wildcats struck right back in the top of the second. Freshman Sierra McConnell (Katy, Texas) singled bringing Amanda Marquez (Miami, Fla.) home. McConnell would earn the RBI. Villanova continued to get hits off in the third inning. Shea Palmer (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Taylor Olafson (Jacksonville, Fla.) both got hits and Beth Smetana's single down the right field line brought home Palmer, giving Villanova the 2-0 lead.
Michigan State and Villanova would both go scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings. The Wildcats showed some offensive intensity in the top of the sixth inning. Amanda Marquez hit her second homerun of the weekend to center field and Sierra McConnell's single to left center brought home Aleshia Ayers (Sacramento, Calif.). Ali Lowe (West Palm Beach, Fla.) got on base with a single up the middle putting her in perfect position to score when McConnell went back up to back and drove home a double to right field. McConnell's second RBI of the afternoon would extend the 'Cats' lead to 5-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth.
Poppe struck out two more batters and Villanova's great defensive game would hold back the Spartans for two more innings as the Wildcats were able to come out with the 5-0 victory. Poppe ended the game with 10 strikeouts and earned her fourth win on the season.
Villanova kicked off their season going 4-1 this weekend at the FGCU tournament. Their only loss was to the host team FGCU. The Wildcats will head back down to Florida next weekend to participate in the UCF Spring Fling Tournament in Orlando.