April 17, 2013
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Consecutive walks in the bottom of the seventh inning first loaded the bases and then forced in the game-winning run as Villanova (15-22, 2-11 BIG EAST) lost the second game of a doubleheader, 3-2, to Syracuse (16-22, 4-7 BIG EAST) at the SU Softball Stadium on Wednesday afternoon. Earlier in the day the Orange had won the opening game of the twin bill, 1-0.
The score was tied at 2-2 after both teams scored in the fifth inning and Syracuse had the final answer in the home half of the seventh. Carinne Ozanne singled with one out in the inning and Julie Wambold followed by drawing a walk to give the Orange runners at first and second with one out. Freshman pitcher Kate Poppe (Downingtown, Pa.) got Morgan Nandin on a harmless fly ball to left field but then walked Mary Dombrowski to load the bases.
Danielle Chitkowski came up next and Poppe (15-15, 2.51 ERA) quickly got her into an 0-2 hole before Chitkowski battled her way back into the count and was eventually issued a seven-pitch walk which gave Syracuse the walk-off victory.
For the second straight game the Orange took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Unlike the first game of the doubleheader, in which the early run turned out to be the only scoring of the game, the Wildcats were able to come back and take the lead. Junior shortstop Ali Lowe (West Palm Beach, Fla.) hit a two-run single with two outs in the top of the fifth inning to put Villanova in front 2-1, but Syracuse tied the score at 2-2 with a run in the bottom half of the fifth.
Freshman second baseman Stephanie Butler (Barnegat, N.J.) beat out a hit on a groundball to first base with one out in the top of the fifth and freshman center fielder Shea Palmer (Scottsdale, Ariz.) followed with another infield hit. After a groundout by senior catcher Amanda Marquez (Miami, Fla.) moved the runners up to second and third, respectively, Lowe fought off an 0-2 pitch and singled up the middle to drive in the only Wildcats runs of the day.
Each team had plenty of scoring chances in the game, with Villanova stranding seven runners while the Orange left 12 on base. Sophomore designated player Beth Smetana (San Diego, Calif.) went 2-for-3 and sophomore third baseman Briana Fujii (San Jose, Calif.) was 1-for-2 with a walk. Fujii reached base four times in six plate appearances during the doubleheader, combining to go 3-for-5 with a walk over the two games.
Shirley Daniels went 3-for-3 with a run scored out of the leadoff spot for Syracuse and helped the Orange manufacture a run in the bottom of the first inning. She was hit by a pitch to start the inning, stole her 22nd base of the season and then scored on Veronica Grant's double.
After the Wildcats took the lead in the top of the fifth inning Syracuse wasted no time evening the score. Ozanne walked with one out in the inning and consecutive two-out singles by Nandin and Dombrowski led to the tying run scoring.
Villanova had runners at the corners with nobody out in the top of the sixth inning and then loaded the bases with two outs after a fielder's choice had eliminated the original lead runner. Orange pitcher Stacy Kuwik (11-8, 4.40 ERA) finally ended the Wildcats scoring threat with a swinging strikeout to end the inning. Kuwik allowed two earned runs on seven hits in her second straight complete game effort.
Senior pitcher Kaity Sitzman (Tucson, Ariz.) started and pitched the first four innings for Villanova, allowing one run on five hits with one walk and one strikeout.
Coming up this weekend the Wildcats will host a three-game series against Louisville, beginning with a doubleheader at Noon on Saturday.