March 28, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Villanova (22-6) got a combined shutout from senior Caitlyn Delahaba and freshman Ali Angelbello to cement a 4-0 victory over Lafayette (4-11) in game one of a doubleheader at the Villanova Softball Field. Sophomore shortstop Ali Lowe was the star offensively with three singles in three at bats and two runs scored. Junior Valerie Ortega also added a pair of RBIs and freshman left fielder Elise Samoy Alvarado had two hits for Villanova in the win.
Lafayette made sure that Delahaba didn't continue her consecutive hitters retired streak when left fielder Gwen Turner led off with an infield single. The senior hurler didn't let it affect her when she struck out the next hitter and induced a fly out followed by a groundout to end the inning. Junior first baseman Valerie Ortega lofted a two-out double to the left center gap for the Wildcats, but senior designated player Molly Manning skied a fly out to right field to end the inning.
Delahaba and Lafayette pitcher Melissa Robinson breezed through the second inning with both setting the other side down in order, including two more strikeouts from Delahaba.
Delahaba continued to force bad swings out of the Leopards as she retired the side in order again in the top of third, including her fourth strikeout of the day. For Villanova, sophomore shortstop Ali Lowe led off the inning with a line drive single through the right side and freshman left fielder Elise Samoy Alvarado followed with a bunt single to put two runners on with nobody out. The hit by Lowe gave her 18 on the season which already surpasses her freshman year total. Senior Tessa Braga then slapped a slow groundball down the third base line that stayed fair for an infield single that loaded the bases with one out. Ortega then stepped to the plate and executed perfectly with a sacrifice fly to left field that scored Lowe to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead through three innings of play.
Caityln Delahaba continued to dominate the Leopards through four innings as she set Lafayette down in order for the third straight inning. She had now retired 12 straight hitters with a strikeout every inning and five total. Robinson kept the Wildcats at bay in the fourth despite a rocket hit by senior third baseman Kristi Burlin that was snared by Turner in left field.
In the fifth after getting her sixth strikeout, Delahaba allowed a batter to reach on an infield single as she had retired the previous two Leopards to come to the plate. After striking out the next hitter, Victoria Vergona worked a walk to put two runners on with two outs. Delahaba then responded by striking out the next hitter as she struck out the side and had eight total through five innings with Villanova still leading by a run. The Wildcats would add some insurance in the fifth to give their senior pitcher some breathing room. Ali Lowe led off the inning with her second single of the day up the middle and Alvarado laid down a great bunt that Robinson threw away at first that allowed Lowe to get to third and Alvarado to reach second base. After a pop out, Braga hit a groundball to third base that Lauren Murphy fielded and attempted to throw out Lowe who was charging home. Lowe slid in safely for a 2-0 Villanova advantage. Ortega then did the same as she did in the third by hitting a sacrifice fly for her 2nd RBI of the game and the Wildcats led 3-0 through five innings of play.
With the lead, Delahaba (12-4) was done for the day after five innings in the circle. She surrendered just two hits for the second game in a row and struck out eight while walking only one.
Freshman Ali Angelbello came on in relief in the sixth and after a lead-off walk, she retired the next three hitters in order to keep the Leopards off the scoreboard. In the bottom of the sixth with two outs, junior second baseman Taylor Olafson reached on an error and stole second base. Ali Lowe then collected her third hit of the game with an infield single and Olafson kept hustling around third to slide in safely at home for a 4-0 Wildcats advantage.
Angelbello came back in the seventh to close out the Leopards and finish out another Wildcat shutout with her first career save. She did so with two groundouts and a flyout after a lead-off single to close the door on the fifth straight Villanova win by a score of 4-0.
The Wildcats look to make it 6 in a row and their second straight sweep of a doubleheader in game two against the Leopards.
NOTES: In her past two starts, Delahaba has thrown 13 innings, surrendering just four hits and no runs while striking out 14 and walking just one...She now has 49 career wins as a Wildcats...Tessa Braga broke a personal high with her 31st hit of the season in the 28th game...The shutout by the Wildcat pitching staff is the team's 8th of the season while they have only been shutout once.