Fifth Inning Homers by McConnell and Butler Propel DiBernardi to 750 Career Wins
March 8, 2014
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Down 3-2 with a runner on first in the fifth inning, sophomore Sierra McConnell crushed a two-run homerun over the left center field fence to give Villanova the lead. That proved to be the difference makes as the Wildcats defeated Boston University 5-3 to give head coach Maria DiBernardi her 750th career victory Saturday afternoon at the Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater, Fla.
The victory snaps a seven game skid for Villanova as the team improves to 6-9 on the young season and 1-3 at the USF Under Armour Showcase. BU slides to 5-8 as Melanie Akers falls to 1-1 out of the bullpen for the Terriers.
The Wildcats struck first when Shea Palmer scored in the top of the first on a throwing error by Terriers catcher Amy Ekart. Palmer reached on a single to left and advanced by stealing second base before Chase Snell singled through the right side to move her to third.
BU answered with two runs in the latter half of the first off Wildcats starter Kaity Sitzman. The Terriers would load the bases on a bunt single, throwing error and a single up the middle. Brittany Clendenny would drive in the runner from third on a groundout to the second baseman. Two at-bats later, Sitzman surrendered the lead on an illegal pitch before getting the final out to pop up.
Jordan Prutzer relieved Sitzman in the bottom of the second after allowing a leadoff homerun to Mandy Fernandez, which pushed the Terriers to a 3-1 advantage. Prutzer would go on to dominate on the mound silencing BU's bats and pitching scoreless ball over the next six innings. The lefty freshman allowed only five hits and earned her first collegiate victory after tossing a shutout in her six innings of work out of the bullpen.
The come from behind victory was sparked in the top of the fifth inning when Shea Palmer singled to left to put a runner on for McConnell. Later in the inning, Stephanie Butler smacked another homerun to left field to extend the lead to 5-3. The solo shot was the first career four-bagger for the Barnegat, N.J. sophomore.
Each team committed one error and finished the afternoon with eight hits. Palmer added a hit, walked, scored and stole a base for the second time in consecutive games. Aleshia Ayers went 2-3 with a run scored and Butler also recorded two hits. Snell scored, drove in a run, stole a base and notched two hits in the three hole.
The team will wrap up its stay in Fla. and conclude the USF Under Armour Showcase tomorrow against Central Michigan. First pitch is slated for 9:30 a.m.
Be sure to follow the team socially on Twitter @VUSoftball, Instagram @novasoftball and Facebook to stay up to date with the latest news, scores and highlights from the Wildcats throughout the season.