March 20, 2012
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - Villanova (16-4) scored early and often against La Salle (3-14) on their way to their second straight shutout victory over the Explorers by a score of 8-0 in five innings. Junior catcher Amanda Marquez blasted a home run and had two of the Villanova twelve hits, while three pitchers combined to four-hit La Salle.
Marquez didn't take long to get the Villanova offense going when she blasted a solo home run, her second of the season, to left center field to lead-off the game and staked Villanova to an early 1-0 advantage through one inning.
Senior pitcher Caitlyn Delahaba (9-3) got the ball for Villanova and looked to push Villanova's win streak to five games. She got off to a quick start with two strikeouts looking to end the first inning following a one-out single and the Wildcats were prepared to build upon their lead.
Freshman right fielder Beth Smetana and sophomore shortstop Ali Lowe each singled to start the inning and Marquez came up with her second hit of the day to load the bases with one out. Next up was junior left fielder Taylor Olafson who delivered a double down the left field line that scored two runs and Villanova had an early 3-0 lead going to the bottom of the second.
In the Explorer second, Delahaba struck out the side as she already had five strikeouts through just two innings of play.
In the third, the Wildcats put the game out of reach with five runs in the frame. Senior designated hitter Molly Manning singled to left and freshman second baseman Briana Fujii extended her hitting streak to third games with a single up the middle to put two runners on with nobody out. Smetana was then hit by a pitch and Lowe grounded into a force out at home to keep the bases loaded with one out. In stepped senior left fielder Tessa Braga who struck a bases-clearing three-run double to left-center field to blow the game open to 6-0 Villanova. Following a fly out, Olafson had her second hit of the day to put runners on first and third with two outs. Next, Villanova used crafty base running again as Olafson swiped second base and Braga then broke for home and the shortstop's poor throw allowed Braga to score and Olafson to go to third. The Explorer catcher then picked up the ball and attempted to throw out Olafson at third, but she was off target with the throw and Olafson trotted home for an 8-0 Villanova advantage through two and a half innings.
Junior Adrienne Drummond came on in relief with the big lead in the third inning, her second appearance of the year. Drummond surrendered two hits in the inning, but she earned a strikeout to pitch her second scoreless frame of the season. Freshman Ali Angelbello came on for a scoreless inning of relief in the fourth, including two more strikeouts.
After going down in order in the top of the fourth, Lowe and freshman center fielder Elise Samoy Alvarado singled with one out, but back-to-back groundouts finished off the Wildcat attempt to extend their lead.
In the fifth with Villanova leading by eight and a chance to end the game early, Delahaba came on to pitch a 1-2-3 inning with two more strikeouts to give her seven on the day and finish off the 8-0 shutout win.
In total, Wildcat pitchers earned 10 of the 15 outs by punchout.