May 5, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Villanova (31-24, 5-16) battled for eleven innings with Seton Hall (21-30, 3-17) in a 3-3 deadlock, but the Pirates pushed a run across in the top of the eleventh inning to take the second game of the series. Seniors Molly Manning and Caitlyn Delahaba both pitched very well, but the Wildcats were unable to capitalize on chances late in the game and split their Senior Day doubleheader. For the Wildcats in the loss, senior Jamie O'Hara hit her first career home run on an inside the park shot in the bottom of the first inning.
After not scoring at all in the first game, Seton Hall got off to a fast start in game two. The first four hitters singled to bring home two runs and put two runners in scoring position with nobody out as the Pirates were threatening with a 2-0 lead. Manning then buckled down and snared a line drive back to her followed by a groundout and strikeout to strand the runners.
The Wildcats wasted little time in responding when junior catcher Amanda Marquez singled up the middle to lead off the inning. Senior center fielder Jamie O'Hara then laced a ball down the left field line that the left fielder dove to catch, but it got by her and O'Hara circled the bases for her first career home run. The inside the park home run also tied the game at 2-2 going to the second inning.
Both Manning and Seton Hall pitcher Casey Moses then both exchanged quick second and third innings after struggling through the first as only the Pirates had a runner reach with a two-out double in the top of the second.
In the top of the fourth, Seton Hall grabbed a run to take the lead back. A single by Laura Canulli started the inning and Kirby Groves then hit a double to center field that O'Hara nearly caught on a sliding attempt. Sara Haefeli then hit a sacrifice fly to left field to give Seton Hall a 3-2 lead before Marquez caught the runner wandering too far off of second base for the final out of the top of the fourth. Moses then held onto the lead for the Pirates by sending down the Wildcats in order.
In the fifth, Manning retired the first two hitters quickly and senior third baseman Kristi Burlin grabbed a hard line drive down to third base to end the inning. Villanova then evened up the game with a couple hits and good baserunning. Burlin started with a double off the left field wall and freshman pinch runner Kera Pezzuti then moved to third on a single by freshman second baseman Briana Fujii. Junior pinch runner Taylor Olafson then came on for Fujii and attempted to steal second base, but she was thrown out. However, Pezzuti was able to come home and score the tying run as the game moved to the sixth inning with the score locked at 3-3.
After Manning retired the side in order in the sixth, the Wildcats threatened with two outs in the bottom of the inning. Manning walked and moved to second base on an infield single from freshman designated player Beth Smetana. Burlin then stepped to the plate and got her second straight hit with a single to center, but sophomore pinch runner Danielle Lewandowski was unable to score on the play. Brooke Tull then came on in relief for Seton Hall and freshman second baseman Briana Fujii hit a deep drive to left field, but right fielder Laura Canulli reached up and made a leaping grab to rob Fujii and end the inning with the game still tied.
Senior pitcher Caitlyn Delahaba came on in relief of Manning who threw six strong innings surrendering three runs on seven hits while striking out three. Delahaba allowed a lead-off single, but with the help of a strikeout she escaped the inning with the score still tied.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Wildcats put together a rally that threatened to end the game. Sophomore shortstop Ali Lowe singled through the right side and moved to second on a walk by senior left fielder Tessa Braga. Marquez then laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move the runners to scoring position before O'Hara was intentionally walked to load the bases. Junior first baseman Valerie Ortega then hit the ball right on the nose, but right at Canulli in right field who grabbed the liner and doubled O'Hara off first base to send the game to extra innings.
After coming up short in the bottom of the seventh, Delahaba mowed down the Pirates 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth with two strikeouts to get the Wildcats back in the dugout. In the Wildcat half of the inning Villanova loaded the bases again, but were unable to push across the winning run. Manning was hit by a pitch to start the inning and moved to second on a single up the middle by Smetana. Burlin then laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position and senior pinch runner Shannon O'Brien on third base. After Fujii walked to load the bases, Lowe grounded into a fielder's choice that forced out O'Brien at home for the second out. Braga then stepped in and lofted a fly ball to left field that was squeezed for the final out of the inning.
In the top of the top of the ninth, Seton Hall pinch hitter Nicole Loewenstein laced a one-out double down the right field line to put the go-ahead run in scoring position, but Delahaba got the next hitter to chase a high fastball for a strikeout for two outs in the inning. A wild pitch then moved Loewenstein to third base and Delahaba got her second straight strikeout to end the threat and strand the runner.
Seton Hall had game one starter Danielle DeStaso enter the game as a reliever in the bottom of the ninth and surrendered only a one-out single to O'Hara before getting out of the ninth unscathed.
Delahaba continued her stellar relief work as she cruised through her fourth shutout inning of work with two groundouts and her sixth strikeout, equaling her total from her first game shutout victory. DeStaso then retired the Wildcats in order to send the game to the eleventh as the teams had now played five consecutive scoreless frames since Villanova tied the game in the bottom of the fifth.
In the top of the eleventh, Seton Hall finally broke the 3-3 tie with a run. Nicole Loewenstein capped a two-out rally with an RBI bloop single to center field that scored Laura Canulli who had just stole second to give the Pirates a 4-3 advantage heading to the last of the eleventh. Villanova attempted to rally again after fighting back two times previously in the game. Lowe led off the inning with her second hit of the game to left field to get the leadoff hitter on. Braga then laid down a good sacrifice bunt and when the third baseman threw it to first to force out Braga, Lowe broke for third and slid in safely. The ball then got away from Cashel Gaffey and Lowe attempted to score, but Gaffey recovered and threw the ball home to get Lowe sliding into home plate. Marquez then lined out to end the game as Seton Hall had captured the second game of the series 4-3 in eleven innings.
Delahaba gets the hard-luck loss after throwing five great innings of relief allowing just one run while striking out seven.
Villanova will look to bounce back on the final game of the season and take the series from Seton Hall tomorrow at noon.