April 12, 2012
MONMOUTH, N.J. - Villanova (26-14) trailed 2-0 early, but they busted out for eight runs in the third inning to take control of the game on the way to a 9-2 win against Monmouth (13-14) in the first game of the non-conference doubleheader. Senior Caitlyn Delahaba (14-9) got the start and win in the circle while the offense had 13 hits including two each from senior third baseman Kristi Burlin, freshman right fielder Beth Smetana, freshman left fielder Elise Samoy Alvarado, and junior second baseman Taylor Olafson.
Villanova looked to shake off the two defeats to Louisville in yesterday's doubleheader by getting off to a fast start early. Senior center fielder Jamie O'Hara led off with a single and advanced to second on a one-out single by junior first baseman Valerie Ortega. With two runners on, Burlin grounded out before senior designated player Molly Manning flew out to end the inning.
Delahaba was looking to get back in the win column for the first time since a win over Towson on April 3rd, but the Hawks got on the board early to put Villanova in a hole. Monmouth put together a first inning rally with three singles and two Villanova errors as Monmouth took the early 2-0 lead. Delahaba avoided any further troubled by getting her first two strikeouts on the day.
In the top of the second, Smetana got her first hit of the day and was moved to second on a good sacrifice bunt by junior catcher Amanda Marquez. Following a groundout, Olafson walked to put two runners on with two outs, but O'Hara grounded back to the mound to end the inning. In the Monmouth second, the Hawks got a single and sacrifice bunt to put a runner in scoring position with one out. Marquez then helped her pitcher by throwing out the runner who wandered too far off of second base and Delahaba ended the inning with her third strikeout.
After being kept off the scoreboard for the first two innings, the Villanova offense erupted for 8 runs on 6 hits in the pivotal third inning. The Wildcats sent 13 hitters to the plate in the frame and the first seven reached safely in what was the team's largest single inning output of the season. Senior shortstop Tessa Braga got the rally started with a triple to the right center gap before Ortega and Burlin walked to load the bases with nobody out. Manning then made Monmouth pitcher Lauren Sulick pay when she laced a 2-run double down the left field line to tie the game at 2-2. Smetana then gave Villanova the 3-2 lead with an RBI single to center to score Burlin and move Manning to third. Marquez continued the hit parade with and RBI single to left field that scored Manning to give the Wildcats a two run lead as there were still no outs with two runners on. Alvarado then laid down a perfect bunt single to load the bases, but Olafson grounded into a fielder's choice that forced out Smetana at the plate for the first out of the inning. O'Hara came to the plate next and put the ball in play to first base where Kayla Weiser made a bad throw as Marquez and Alvarado scored and Villanova led 6-2. Braga came to the plate again for the second time and hit an RBI groundout to first to score Olafson for the seventh run of the inning as O'Hara moved to third. After Ortega's second walk of the inning, Burlin hit an RBI single to right field to cap the eight-run inning with the Wildcats in front 8-2.
Now armed with the six-run lead, Delahaba worked around a lead-off single to pitch an effective shutdown inning.
In the top of the fourth, Alvarado walked with two outs, but she was gunned down trying to swipe second base to end the frame. Delahaba had her first 1-2-3 inning of the day in the bottom of the fourth as she picked up her fifth strikeout of the day in the process. With the big lead, Delahaba's day was done as she went four innings surrendering one earned run on five hits, while striking out five and walking one.
In the Wildcat fifth, Olafson led off the frame with her first single of the day, but Villanova was unable to muster any more hits to build upon their lead. Sophomore Kaity Sitzman came on in relief looking to rebound from her start against No. 12 Louisville yesterday. She made quick work of the Hawks by sending them down 1-2-3 on two groundouts and a fly out.
Neither team got on the board sixth, despite Burlin's second hit of the day for Villanova. Monmouth also had two runners reach by walk, but Sitzman cruised through her two innings of relief keeping the Hawks off the scoreboard and maintaining the 8-2 advantage.
In the seventh, Villanova tacked on an insurance run when Alvarado hit her first career double to lead-off the inning. Olafson then hit her second single of the day to put runners on the corners with nobody out. After a pop out, Braga hit her second RBI groundout of the day to put Villanova up 9-2.
Junior pitcher Adrienne Drummond made her fourth appearance of the season in the seventh to close out the Villanova win and she did so with a 1-2-3 frame including one strikeout as the Wildcats took the first game by a 9-2 score.
Villanova looked to sweep the doubleheader in game two.
NOTES: Molly Manning now leads the team with 23 RBIs.