May 3, 2014
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Following a `Senior Day' ceremony where the Wildcats honored Ali Lowe, Kaity Sitzman, Danielle Lewandowski and Alyssa Lodato, a superb effort by Kate Poppe in game one and a breakout offensive performance in the second game wasn't enough as the Villanova softball team dropped a pair of games to St. John's Saturday afternoon at the Villanova Softball Complex.
In a classic pitcher's duel, Poppe and Red Storm ace Tori Free dealt scoreless frames throughout the first game as both teams collectively scored one run on 11 hits. St. John's was able to capture the opener with one run in the seventh inning.
In the next contest, both squads surged offensively to combine for 11 runs and 18 hits with five lead changes through seven innings. In the end, the Johnnies prevailed behind a three run homerun by Erin Burner to claim a 6-5 triumph and clinch the series.
The Wildcats fall to 5-15 in the BIG EAST and 18-33 overall, while St. John's improves to 11-8 in conference and 26-22 on the year.
Tomorrow's noon rubber match marks the season finale for Villanova, who will honor head coach Maria DiBernardi for her achievements and milestones reached over the past 30 seasons.
Despite outhitting the Red Storm seven to four, Villanova was unable to come through when they needed to most leaving the bases loaded twice. Poppe was downright dominant in her 30th start as only four batters reached base in seven innings.
The sophomore righty cemented zeros on the scoreboard until Jackie Reed scored on a single up the middle in the top of the seventh. In the end, Poppe suffered her 24th loss even though she allowed only four hits in her 18th complete game effort. The nation's number four strikeout pitcher added six more to make it 280 on the year, which is a single season Villanova record.
Free grabbed the win for St. John's to move to 11-14 on the bump. The sophomore did not strikeout a batter and gave up seven hits during the complete game shutout.
Different day, same result for Lauren Herschberg atop the Wildcats lineup. The freshman continues to impress as she added two more hits to register the 13th multi-hit game of her young career. Shea Palmer, Sierra McConnell and Chase Snell each recorded a hit, while Lowe reached base twice and had a SAC bunt.
In a slugfest where both teams traded punches throughout the contest, Villanova was unable to come out on top even though they outhit the Johnnies 12 to six.
Sitzman was rolling until the latter half of the seventh inning when Burner hit a three-run homerun to give St. John's the advantage and ultimately the win. The senior had retired 13 in a row until the beginning of that frame. Through 6.2 innings of work, Sitzman allowed six runs, four of those earned on six hits as she moves to 4-7 on the mound.
Francesca Carrullo picked up her seventh win during a complete game outing. Carrullo surrendered 12 hits and five runs, three earned against the 33 batters she faced.
St. John's took an early one run advantage to begin the game before Villanova retaliated in the bottom of the frame to even the score. The Wildcats plated the run behind a strong attack that included four consecutive hits capped off with an RBI single by McConnell to right field to bring in Herschberg.
Lowe's aggressive running on the base paths catapulted Villanova to a 2-1 lead during the second inning. The senior hit a leadoff single and came around to score on Poppe's fourth RBI of the season.
The next inning, St. John's utilized two runs and two errors to tack on two runs and make it 3-2, Red Storm.
The Wildcats added three runs over the next two innings to reclaim the lead. In the third, a bases clearing two run double by Natalia Segovia put the freshman over 10 RBI on the season. Poppe smashed her third career solo bomb to extend Villanova's lead to 5-3 in the fourth inning.
Eight players tallied hits for Villanova on the afternoon. Segovia finished with her best day of the season at the plate, going 3-4 with two RBI. Poppe drove in a pair of runs as well, while McConnell brought in the other run in her sixth multi-hit performance. Herschberg and Snell both scored and singled. Lowe had a 2-4 showing at the plate on top of a run scored.
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.