Leopards Claw Past Wildcats for Doubleheader Victory
April 23, 2014
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Kate Poppe registers career strikeout number 500, Sierra McConnell homers and Natalia Segovia notches a pair of multi-hit performances but the Villanova softball team (17-28, 5-10 BIG EAST) is unable to triumph as Lafayette (10-29) takes both games of a doubleheader Wednesday afternoon at the Villanova softball Complex.
Villanova's record falls to 17-28 with only seven games remaining on the season. The Wildcats took a 2-0 lead late into the sixth inning of game one. However, the Leopards were able to push four runs across in the sixth and one more in the seventh to take the game by a final score of 5-2.
Kate Poppe displayed why she is one of the best power pitchers in the entire country. The NCAA's number seven strikeout leader fanned another 12 batters to bump her total to 254 on the year, two shy of the 256 strikeouts she finished with during her phenomenal freshman campaign. The sophomore ace surpassed 500 total whiffs for her young career, while attaining her 12th double-digit strikeout performance of the season.
Game two was a classic slugfest between the two squads. After climbing back to tie the game in the fourth, Lafayette scored three runs in the following inning to retake the lead, which they never relinquished. The Leopards ultimately defeated the Wildcats by an 8-4 result.
Sierra McConnell crushed a solo homerun over the left centerfield fence for her 22nd RBI. The sophomore leads the team with five long balls on the year. The freshmen continued their hot bats during the doubleheader. Natalia Segovia went 4-8 with a double, two RBI and a run scored, while Chase Snell added three hits, a double and scored.
A three game series against conference foe DePaul awaits the Wildcats in Chicago, Ill. The Blue Demons (33-8) are undefeated at home and during BIG EAST play (13-0). A noon doubleheader on Saturday opens action for Villanova before an 11 a.m. Sunday matinee closes out the series.
Be sure to follow the team socially on Twitter @VUSoftball, Instagram @novasoftball and Facebook to stay up to date with the latest news, scores and highlights from the Wildcats throughout the season.
The Wildcats jumped out to an early lead when they scored one run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Randi Josett ripped a double to left center field for her first RBI of the season, which drove in Poppe who reached on a single to left field.
Poppe was downright nasty through five innings, registering nine strikeouts during that span. She tossed perfect second, third and fourth innings, while allowing only two hits through the first five frames.
In the sixth, Lafayette retaliated with four runs on two hits and an error to take a 4-2 advantage. Two of them were in the unearned variety as right fielder Danielle Lewandowski misplayed a fly ball with two outs to extend the inning, allowing the Leopards to score on an RBI single and a bases loaded walk.
Lafayette added another run in the seventh inning to make it 5-2. Following a wild pitch with one out, Jordan Prutzer came in the game and recorded back-to-back strikeouts against the only batters she faced.
The BIG EAST strikeout leader collected the loss to move her record to 12-20 on the bump. Poppe gave up five hits, which accounted for five runs but only two earned in 6.1 innings of work.
Snell tallied a pair of hits and scored a run for her 10th multi-hit game in a Wildcat uniform. Segovia drove in a run to go along with her two hits in the game. Lauren Herschberg, Randi Josett and Poppe each added a hit as well.
Lafayette grabbed an early lead with a pair of runs off Kaity Sitzman in the first inning. The Leopards got to Sitzman for four hits before head coach Maria DiBernardi decided to hand the ball to Jordan Prutzer, who fanned back-to-back batters to leave the bases loaded.
Villanova stormed back in the fourth inning with a two run rally to tie the game. McConnell tattooed a fastball over the left field wall for her fifth homerun of the season. Segovia singled and Ali Angelbello doubled to put runners on second and third with one out. That set up Brette Lawrence to do her duty by hitting the ball to right field for an RBI SAC-fly.
The following inning, Lafayette reclaimed the lead with three runs on four hits off the freshman. The rally was fueled by a two-run triple with two outs.
The Wildcats exhibited their resiliency in the bottom half of the sixth. They clawed their way back into the game behind clutch hitting from McConnell and Segovia.
Herschberg doubled and Shea Palmer singled to set up an RBI situation for McConnell, who came through for the 22nd time. Next at-bat, Segovia hit a rocket to the wall for a double to drive in Palmer. Down 5-4 with runners on first and third, Lafayette's Kelly Lallis made a sliding catch at right center to rob Randi Josett and keep the lead intact.
The Leopards tacked on three more runs in the seventh inning to extend their lead and set up Lindsey Cherry for her first save of the year.
Prutzer collects her second defeat despite striking out a career-best eight batters. The freshman lefty gave up six runs on 11 hits in 5.2 innings of relief duty.
Eight Wildcats combined for nine hits and four runs during the effort. Segovia now has seven multi-hit performances as she finished 2-4 with an RBI and run scored at the plate.