April 16, 2005
VILLANOVA, Pa. - In the midst of pitching 24 complete innings, senior Shannon Williams (Macungie, Pa.) fired her 600th career strikeout and totaled 20 for the afternoon, but it was not enough for Villanova as the Wildcats were swept by Seton Hall on Saturday afternoon at the VU Softball Field. The Pirates defeated Villanova, 1-0, in eight innings, and then 2-1 in 16 innings in a Big East battle that featured two of the conference's top pitchers in a firing duel: Williams and Megan Meyer, both of whom pitched every ball of every inning for their teams. The losses drop Villanova to 27-19 overall and 2-6 in the conference, while the Pirates jump to 22-11 overall and 8-2 in the league.
The first game remained scoreless through seven innings, with both pitchers getting their teams out of jams.
In the second inning, Seton Hall first baseman Laura Taylor lined a double into center field, but Williams quickly retired the next three batters to strand Taylor on second and keep Seton Hall off the board.
Meyer had similar success with the `Cats, as freshman Jackie Dempsey (Lexington, Mass.) singled in the bottom of the third inning and successfully stole second. But Meyer struck out the next two batters and Villanova's offense was stranded as well.
Williams came up big again in the seventh. Jenna Best reached second on a defense error from senior right fielder Allie Wisniewski (Smithtown, N.Y.). Danielle Steinseifzer then advanced pinch runner Akoua Lonergan to third on a sacrifice bunt, but Williams struck out the next batter to keep the game locked in a scoreless tie. .
The Pirates finally struck in the eighth inning. Caitlin White singled and was safe stealing second. D'arcy Djakalovic then drew a walk. Lindsay Trottier reached on an error by third baseman Sarah Wall (Hollywood, Fla.) and advanced to second on the throw home, where White found that she was safe and had broken the tie with an unearned run.
Villanova was unable to respond in the bottom of the eighth and Williams was forced to take the loss despite pitching a stellar game in which she allowed just three hits, and three walks, while striking out nine.
Offensively, senior Kari Koller went 1-for-2 and Dempsey was 1-for-3 as Meyer held the Wildcats to two hits while walking two and striking out seven.
The second game turned into even more of a pitching duel, as Williams and Meyer faced-off for 16 full innings.
After Katie Pierce grounded out to open the first inning for Seton Hall, White tripled to give the Pirates an early scoring advantage. Williams struck out the next batter, Djakalovic, before Taylor would walk. As she tried to steal second, White headed for home and was safe before Villanova shortstop Sheri Donley (Orange, Calif.) could throw her out, so Donley ran down Taylor to end the inning, but not before Seton Hall had taken a one run lead.
Senior Krissy Yauch (Tucson, Ariz.) provided a single in the first inning and advanced to second when sophomore Cassie Koenig (Las Vegas, Nev.) reached on an error from Pirate leftfielder Katie DePaul. Meyer then struck out Wisniewski to rob Villanova of a comeback inning.
The Wildcats did respond, however, in the bottom of the third. After a lineout from senior Lisa Krueger (Mission Viejo, Calif.), Yauch responded with another single. Senior Kari Koller (Rocklin, Calif.) then popped up, so when Koenig came to bat she faced a crucial two-out situation. But Koenig came through with an RBI-double to bring Yauch home and tie the game at one run apiece.
Koenig's run would be the last one scored for 12 straight innings. Heading into the 16th inning, the score remained 1-1 as the pitching duel between Williams and Meyer continued.
Seton Hall came up with the winning run when Lonergan singled and was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Pierce. White then reached on an error by Donley, which advanced Lonergan to third. Djakalovic's single sealed the deal as Lonergan scored the winning run. Williams retired the next two batters to end Seton Hall's 16th frame, however Meyer retired Villanova's batters in order to complete the sweep for the Pirates.
Williams' spectacular pitching included 11 strikeouts to go with just one earned run. She stranded nine base runners and allowed only five hits in her 16 innings of work.
Meyer scattered 17 Wildcats and struck out 11 herself but allowed 10 hits from the Villanova offense. Yauch was 2-for-7, as was Donley, while Koenig was 2-for-6.
Villanova now faces St. John's on Sunday for a critical Big East doubleheader. The Wildcats will host the Red Storm, with the first of two games slated to start at 12 p.m.