March 27, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Villanova (20-6) erupted late for seven runs in the fifth and sixth innings and got a two-hit shutout on the mound from senior pitcher Caitlyn Delahaba en route to a 8-0 victory over Delaware (5-26-1) in six innings in the first game of the home-opening doubleheader. The senior hurler retired the final 14 hitters she faced and struck out six while walking none. She retired the side in order in five of the six innings. With the bats, Villanova had 11 hits with two apiece from junior first baseman Valerie Ortega and senior left fielder Tessa Braga.
Delahaba got off to a fast start by retiring the side in order in the first and Villanova wasted no time getting started offensively. Junior catcher Amanda Marquez led off with a single, but was forced out on a fielder's choice hit by senior center fielder Jamie O'Hara. Ortega then sacrificed O'Hara to second and senior designated player Molly Manning came through with a big two out double off the center field fence to give the Wildcats an early 1-0 lead after one inning.
In the second, the Blue Hens mounted their best and only offensive threat of the game in the second inning. A lead-off single started it, but Ortega made a nice play on a bunt attempt when she threw to sophomore shortstop Ali Lowe to force the runner out for the first out of the inning. Designated player Kaitlyn Breneman then singled through the right side to put two runners on with one out. The two runners then executed a double steal to put two runners in scoring position. Delahaba was not about to give in as she struck out the next two hitters to end the inning with Villanova in front. The Wildcats went in order in their half of the second as both offenses would hit a cold spell for the middle innings.
In the top of third, Delahaba induced three straight groundouts to her junior second baseman Taylor Olafson for an easy third inning. Villanova threatened in the third when Braga led off with a walk and Marquez was hit by a pitch to put two on with no outs. O'Hara then advanced the runners with a groundout which chased Delaware start Chenxi Jiao. However, Villanova could not take advantage of the the relief pitcher when Ortega lined out followed by a Manning fly out.
Delahaba and Delaware reliever Brianna Jennings then traded 1-2-3 innings in the fourth, including two more groundouts to Olafson at second base to give her five of the six outs in the previous two innings.
Delahaba made it 11 in a row by retiring the side in order in the fifth and Wildcats finally were able to push across some insurance for their pitcher. Braga broke a string of six straight Wildcats retired with her first hit of the day down the left field line. The left fielder allowed the ball to slip under her glove which gave Braga second base as the Wildcats had a runner in scoring position with nobody out. With one out, O'Hara stepped to the plate and delivered an RBI single up the middle that brought Braga home to put Villanova up 2-0, and O'Hara moved to second on the throw home. The next hitter was Valerie Ortega and she followed O'Hara with an RBI single up the middle that scored O'Hara give Villanova a 3-0 lead through five innings.
In the Delaware sixth, Delahaba continued her dominance with her fifth 1-2-3 inning of the day and fourth in a row as she had retired 14 straight hitters in what would turn out to be her final inning of the day. The Villanova offense erupted in the sixth to put the game away due to the mercy rule. The inning started well as freshman right fielder Beth Smetana pounded the ball off the left field wall and she slid into third base for a lead-off triple. After two Wildcats were unable to bring her home the Villanova offense produced five straight hits. First, Ali Lowe delivered an RBI single up the middle to get senior pinch runner Shannon O'Brien home for a 4-0 Villanova lead. Braga followed with her second hit of the game to put two runners on with two outs. Freshman pinch hitter Randi Josett then struck a single up the middle to score Braga as the Wildcat led by five and both both runners advanced a base on the throw home. With two runners in scoring positing, freshman left fielder Elise Samoy Alvarado hit a 2-run single past Jennings up the middle and moved to second herself as the Wildcat lead had swelled to 7-0. Ortega finished off the Blue Hens with an RBI double to left center field as the game was called with the Wildcats victorious by a score of 8-0.
Villanova will look to sweep the doubleheader at 4:30 p.m. against Delaware.
NOTES: The shutout was the 6th of Delahaba's career...Ortega set a personal high with her 9th double of the season...O'Hara set a new personal single season high with her 9th RBI in the game today.