April 12, 2012
MONMOUTH, N.J. - Villanova (26-15) was looking to sweep a mid-week non-conference doubleheader from Monmouth (14-14), but the Hawks grabbed a 2-0 lead after the first inning and never looked back on their way to a 5-1 victory. The Villanova offense had runners on all game on the strength of ten hits, but they were unable to break through with any big inning like they had in game one. Sophomore Kaity Sitzman pitched two and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief to give her four and two-thirds shutout innings on the day. Freshman rightfielder Elise Samoy Alvarado had two more hits on the day as she had four hits on the afternoon.
In the first, senior center fielder Jamie O'Hara led the game off with a single and moved to second with two outs when freshman catcher Beth Smetana singled. Senior pitcher Molly Manning was then hit by a pitch to load the bases, but junior first baseman Amanda Marquez flew out to end the inning.
The Hawks put two runs on the board for the second straight game in the first inning, this time against Manning. After a lead-off walk, an RBI triple by Tish Derer gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead, and following a strikeout, a sacrifice fly gave Monmouth a quick 2-0 lead through one inning of play.
The Wildcats looked to cut into the lead quickly when Alvarado singled and stole second with two outs, but O'Hara flew out to end the inning. Manning worked around a two-out single when senior third baseman Kristi Burlin made a nice play on a bunt to end the inning.
Villanova got on the board in the third inning on the strength of two doubles. Burlin hit a one-out double and Manning helped herself with an RBI double of her own to make it 2-1 game and extend her team RBI lead to 24. In the Hawks third, Manning again worked around a two-out single to keep Monmouth's lead at one run heading to the fourth.
In the top of the fourth, Villanova had chances with runners in scoring position but were unable to push the tying run across. Freshman second baseman Briana Fujii led off the inning with a single, but was quickly erased on a fielder's choice by sophomore shortstop Ali Lowe. Alvarado then laid down a great bunt single to put two runners on and both Lowe and Alvarado moved to scoring position when O'Hara grounded out to second. With the two runners in scoring position, senior left fielder Tessa Braga flew out to end the inning.
After narrowly avoiding giving up their lead, Monmouth scored three runs to extend their lead. A lead-off walk started the inning she moved all the way to third on a throwing error by Smetana and a passed ball. Manning then walked the next hitter to put runners on the corner with nobody out. The next hitter struck a groundball to third base, but a throwing error by Burlin allowed the runner to score from third and the other two runners to advance to scoring position. After a pop out, Derer hit a 2-run double to give the Hawks a 5-1 lead and end Manning's day. Manning (10-5) went three and one third innings while giving up four earned runs on six hits while striking out three and walking three. Sitzman came on to get the final two outs.
After both pitchers worked perfect fifth innings, Villanova had another chance to get into the Monmouth lead in the sixth. Fujii singled to center with one out and advanced to second on a fielding error by the center fielder. Lowe then reached on an error herself and Alvarado moved both runners to scoring position, but O'Hara grounded out to end the inning. Sitzman continued her outstanding relief work by keeping Monmouth off the board in the sixth as Villanova had one more chance.
In the top of the seventh, Burlin and Manning both singled again, but Villanova was unable to push across any more runs as they fell by a score of 5-1.
Villanova will be back in action this weekend beginning at noon on Saturday with a BIG EAST doubleheader against Rutgers.