April 27, 2013
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Providence claimed a pair of tight victories over the Villanova Wildcats (18-28 overall, 2-17 BIG EAST) here on Saturday. The Friars nipped the Wildcats 4-3 in the opener and completed the sweep of the doubleheader by claiming a 3-1 victory in the second game.
In the opener the Wildcats rallied from a 2-0 deficit to move in front 3-2 thanks to a bases clearing double from junior Ali Lowe in the fifth inning. But Providence scored single runs in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings to earn the win.
In the second game, the Friars (20-24-1 overall, 6-10 BIG EAST) leaned on the four-hit pitching of Corinne Clauss to post a 3-1 win over the Wildcats. Clauss hurled all 14 innings and against the Wildcats here today and earned both wins to push her record to 11-6.
Villanova freshman pitcher Kate Poppe picked up early Saturday where she had left off against Lafayette in Thursday's 10-inning no-hit victory. The only runners to reach base in the first two innings against her came via a pair of walks. But the Friars did not advance either runner past first base and there was no score as the two teams headed to the third inning.
In the top half of the third inning freshman Shea Palmer reached via a Providence error and moved up as far as third base. But the inning ended without the Wildcats pushing a run across home plate.
Sarah Kitterman singled to lead off the third inning for the Friars, snapping Poppe's string of hitless innings at 12. A successful sacrifice advanced Juliana Thibodeau, running for Kitterman, to second base with one out. Poppe struck out Kiarra Baldassari swinging for the second out but Kelsi Luttrell singled to center field, driving home Thibodeau for the game's first run. After a walk Poppe retired Stephanie Kiesel to end the threat.
The Friars held a 1-0 lead entering the fourth inning. They added another run in the bottom of the frame, with a double by Dedrick and an RBI single from Baldassari serving as the key blows in the inning.
But the Wildcats bounced back quickly with a 3-run rally in the top of the fifth that began with a single by Sierra McConnell. Julie Smith followed with another single ahead of a walk to Palmer that loaded the bases with no one out. The next two batters were retired before Ali Lowe delivered a bases-clearing double to give the Cats the lead at 3-2.
The Friars loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth inning with one down. A sacrifice fly by Marie Flego knotted the game at three. But the Wildcats escaped with no further damage done and the contest remain tied entering the sixth inning.
Providence used the sacrifice fly to pick up their fourth run of Game 1 and regain the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. Kiesel's fly ball scored Megan Rollings with what proved to be the game-winning run.
Briana Fujii singled with one out in the seventh inning as the Wildcats made a bid to tie but Clauss retired the last two Villanova batters to end the game. Clauss worked seven innings in earning the win while Poppe went the distance for VU.
In Game 2 there was no score until the third inning when the Wildcats jumped out in front. The rally began when Taylor Olafson singled with one out and moved to third base when Amanda Marquez singled into center field. When the Friars attempted to throw out Marquez at second base on the play, Olafson took off from third to home and beat the throw to make it 1-0 in Villanova's favor.
Providence responded quickly with a run of its own in the bottom half of the inning against Kaity Sitzman. Jessie Bryant connected for a double and that was followed by singles from Kiesel and Shanelle Harrell to even the score at one after three innings.
The pivotal inning was the bottom of the fourth when Providence grabbed two more runs. The Friars got two hits and capitalized on a Wildcat miscue to record two unearned runs and claim a 3-1 advantage.
Clauss made the lead stand up for the Friars, permitting only one base runner over the final three frames. A Beth Smetana single in the seventh inning brought the tying run to the plate for the `Cats but VU could not come up with the runs needed to prevail.
These two teams will complete the three game series with a single game here on Sunday that begins at noon.