April 25, 2012
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Villanova (30-20, 4-12) had double digit hits for the second consecutive game and rode the offensive outburst to a 4-3 victory over Georgetown (19-29, 3-12) to sweep the mid-week BIG EAST doubleheader. Senior pitcher Molly Manning (12-7) earned the win with six strong innings in the circle and she added three hits of her own to help the offensive effort. Senior third baseman Kristi Burlin added two more hits to break the 150-hit plateau for her career.
In the first, senior center fielder Jamie O'Hara hit a single to start the game, but she was caught stealing to stall the rally, and Manning started the game off well with a 1-2-3 inning.
The Wildcats scored two in the first to grab an early lead that they would not relinquish. Manning led off with a double and after a Burlin walk, freshman designated player Beth Smetana grounded into a fielder's choice to put runners on the corners with one out. Manning and Smetana then executed a successful double steal to score Manning for a 1-0 Villanova lead. Junior catcher Amanda Marquez then delivered an RBI single to score Smetana and put the Wildcats ahead 2-0 after an inning and a half.
Manning ran into her first jam of the day in the bottom of the second when two runners reached with two outs, but a fielder's choice to freshman second baseman Briana Fujii ended the inning.
In the top of the third, the Wildcats started a two-out rally of their own when manning led off with a single and Burlin walked to put two runners on with two outs. Smetana then hit a single up to left field and Manning attempted to score, but she was gunned down at the plate to keep Villanova's lead at 2-0. In the top of the third, the Hoyas cut the Villanova lead in half on a solo home run by Rachel Nersesian to make it 2-1 through three innings.
Villanova then added some insurance to their lead immediately when O'Hara hit a two-out RBI double to score sophomore shortstop Ali Lowe who singled earlier in the frame to extend the advantage to 3-1. For Georgetown in the fourth, Cara Savarese led off with a single, but was forced out on a fielder's choice. Following a pop-out, a single put two runners on with two outs, but Manning escaped the trouble by getting a fielder's choice.
The Wildcats again added to their lead in the top of the fifth when Manning singled to lead off the inning and freshman pinch runner Kera Pezzuti stole second base. Burlin singled home Pezzuti right away to make it 4-1 Villanova through four and a half. The hit was Burlin's 150th of her career. Manning kept the Villanova advantage at three runs after getting two strikeouts in the bottom of the sixth to work around a one-out single.
Lowe had her second hit of the day in the top of the sixth with one out, but a fly out and strike out ended the threat. The Hoyas finally cut into the Villanova lead with a two-run sixth to pull them to within one run. A one-out single and two-out single, followed by a passed ball put two runners in scoring position with two outs. Samantha Findling then hit a two-run single to make it a 4-3 game through six innings. After getting out of the sixth, Manning's day was done after a solid outing where she surrendered only two earned runs.
The Wildcats were unable to add insurance in the top of the seventh and senior pitcher Caitlyn Delahaba came on in relief for her first save of the season. She struck out the first hitter she faced, but a one-out walk brought the winning run to the plate. A fielder's choice to Lowe was the second out and Delahaba induced a groundout out to Briana Fujii to wrap up the sweep of the BIG EAST doubleheader.
The save was Delahaba's 7th in her career which puts her in a tie for 4th all-time in Villanova history.
The Wildcats will look to build upon their strong BIG EAST play with a series opening this weekend in Tampa, Fla. against USF.