Records Fall as Villanova Sweeps Lafayette on Senior Day
April 29, 1998
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Hosting Lafayette to wrap up the season on Tuesday, April 28 at the Villanova softball field, the Villanova softball team swept the Leopards winning game one 7-2 and taking game two 9-0. With the day's two victories, the Wildcats finished the regular season with a 36-17 record. In game one, Villanova scored three runs in both the first and third innings to pull away early, and Wildcat senior pitcher Jennifer Cornelius shut down Lafayette the rest of the way, as they went on to beat the Leopards 7-2. Despite a balanced performance by both the Villanova offense and the pitching staff, the star of the game was senior Jessica DeLuca. Coming into the game two hits shy of breaking the all-time Villanova hit record of 216 held by 1997 graduate Bridget Baxter, DeLuca went two-for-four to become the new Wildcat career hit leader.
In a day named for the seniors, the Wildcat 1998 senior class was unstoppable combining to knock in six of the team's seven runs in game one. Getting the victory on the mound for Villanova was Cornelius, who pitched the complete game, giving up only two runs on five hits while striking out four.
In game two, Villanova again jumped out to an early lead and used tremendous pitching to shut out Lafayette 9-0 in five innings. Leading the Wildcat offensive attack which bombarded the Leopards with nine runs on 11 hits, were Roach who went two-for-three with three RBI, DeLuca who went one-for-three with two runs scored and one RBI and fellow senior Kelly Sparks who went a perfect two-for-two with an RBI. The sophomore class also got into the mix, as second year phenoms Regina Speicher and Mia Brickhouse each tallied two hits in the game. Speicher went two-for-two with a double, two RBI and three runs scored, while Brickhouse went two-for-three with two stolen bases. On the mound for the Wildcats, sophomore Carrie Walpole got her 11th victory of the season, pitching two shutout innings and striking out two. Roach relieved Walpole in the third and pitched the final three innings for the save. With the save, she broke the all-time Villanova career save mark of 11 held by 1996 graduate Tina Sabunas and the single-season save record of six also held by Sabunas.
After finishing the 1997 season 24-28 and 6-12 in the Big East, the Villanova softball team made a complete turnaround this season setting a school record for victories in a season with 36, in addition to posting an outstanding 8-6 Big East Conference mark.