April 3, 2012
TOWSON, Md. - Villanova (24-9, 0-3) snapped a three-game losing streak by hanging on to beat Towson (15-18) in the first game of a mid-week doubleheader in Towson, Maryland by a score of 4-3. Senior third baseman Kristi Burlin had a great day at the plate with three hits, four RBIs and her 18th career home run which puts her in a tie for 5th place all time in school history. Senior pitcher Caitlyn Delahaba also added to her career milestones with her 50th career victory becoming just the 6th pitcher in school history to pass that mark. Senior center fielder Jamie O'Hara also added three more hits herself to help power the Villanova offense.
O'Hara and Burlin got the Villanova offense rolling right away in the top of the first as O'Hara hit a one-out double, and after a fly out, Burlin stepped to the plate for her first RBI opportunity of the day. The senior delivered with a 2-run home run, her 2nd of the season and Villanova was up 2-0 after one half inning of play. The home run ties Burlin for 5th on Villanova's all-time home run list with Ricci Lugo (2001-04) and assistant coach Sheri Donley (2004-07). Delahaba looked to maintain the Villanova lead and she did just that after surrendering a lead-off walk by retiring the next three hitters in order, including her first strikeout of the day.
Junior catcher Amanda Marquez doubled for the Wildcats with one-out in the second, but was stranded there after a strikeout and pop-out. Delahaba breezed through the Tigers in the second by retiring them in order on a flyout and two groundouts.
Villanova threatened in the third when senior right fielder Shannon O'Brien led-off with a single and O'Hara followed with her second of three hits on the day to put two runners on with nobody out. Junior first baseman Valerie Ortega then grounded into a fielder's choice which erased O'Brien and the next two hitters flew out to keep Villanova's lead at just two. In the bottom of the third, Delahaba continued to mow down the Tiger hitters as she retired the side in order and had now retired nine Towson hitters in a row.
Towson pitcher Katie Lingmai had her first easy frame of the day by retiring the Wildcats quickly after a walk to Marquez, but Delahaba was still in a groove as she had yet to allow a hit through four innings after sending down the Tigers in order in the bottom of the fourth with Villanova still in front 2-0.
Villanova punched through in the fifth with a much-needed insurance run and it was O'Hara and Burlin in the middle of it again. O'Hara hit a one-out single and was sacrificed to second by Ortega to bring Burlin to the plate in her 3rd straight RBI opportunity. The senior delivered yet again with a single to left field that scored O'Hara and Villanova led 3-0 heading to the bottom of the fifth. After retiring her 13th straight hitter, Delahaba surrendered her first hit of the day on a double off the bat of Macie McGeehan. Delahaba then walked the next hitter before Jillian Donnelly hit an RBI single to cut Villanova's lead to 3-1. An RBI groundout cut Villanova's lead to just 3-2 before Delahaba struck the final hitter of the inning.
After the Wildcats went down in order, the Tigers threatened again in the sixth. Two singles wrapped around a groundout put runners on the corners with one out as Towson had the tying run at third base. The next hitter then hit a groundball back to the mound that Delahaba snared and held the runner at third to throw the runner out at first for the second out of the inning. McGeehan then grounded out to sophomore shortstop Ali Lowe to end the inning with Villanova still up one.
In the seventh, Villanova added a crucial insurance run to extend their lead. Senior left fielder Tessa Braga reached on an error, but was still at first with two outs before Ortega singled to move Braga to scoring position. That's when Burlin delivered her fourth RBI of the day with yet another single to push Villanova's lead to 4-2 heading to the bottom of the seventh.
Towson had their first two hitters reach before they were bunted into scoring position as the tying run was at second base with just one out. Kelli Lyons then struck a sacrifice fly to right field to cut Villanova's lead to 4-3. With the tying run now at third base, Delahaba ensured the Villanova win with her fifth and final strikeout of the day as the Wildcats ended their three game losing streak.
Delahaba (13-6) surrendered five hits and three earned runs, whiling walking two in her 50th career win.
NOTES: With her RBI double on Sunday, senior Molly Manning broke her personal season high with her 8th double...Jamie O'Hara broke her personal season high with her 21st run scored in the win today...Caitlin Delahaba is now just five wins behind 5th place on the Villanova all-time wins' list...Burlin is tied for 5th in Villanova history in home runs, two behind 4th place...Tessa Braga set a personal season-high with her 16th run scored in the seventh inning.