May 13, 2005
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - After two rain delays, the Villanova Wildcats (38-25) were knocked out of the 2005 Big East Softball Championship on Friday, May 13, falling to the Syracuse Orange (28-21) by a score of 5-1 at the Belleville Softball Complex. The win marked the first for the Orange in postseason play, while Villanova went 0-2 for the first time since 1995.
Senior pitcher Shannon Williams (Macungie, Pa.) retired the batters in order through the first three innings before the Syracuse offense struck.
The Orange managed a hit in the bottom of the fourth when Tanya Rose lined a single up left center for a base hit. Chanel Roehner then sacrificed to advance Rose, but made it safely to first on a defensive error. Alexis Swintenko then followed with another sacrifice to advance both runners and was out on the play, however it was Syracuse's lone out of the inning and Williams was forced into a jam with runners on second and third with just one out.
Courtney Mosch came up with the third straight sacrifice, which scored Rose, and Mosch was safe at first due to another error, which allowed Roehner to score and put Syracuse up 2-0. The inning came to a close when Cassie Morales popped up to the right field, but not before Villanova found itself down by two runs.
Freshman Jackie Dempsey (Lexington, Mass.) led off the fifth with her first career triple, a shot to right center. Syracuse pitcher Erin Downey then retired Wall and pinch hitter Lisa Curran (Las Vegas, Nev.) via a pop-up and strikeout before walking sophomore shortstop Sheri Donley (Orange, Calif.). Senior Lisa Krueger (Mission Viejo, Calif.) hit a grounder to second, but an error from Shawna Norris allowed Dempsey to score and Krueger to reach first safely, and the Wildcats cut the lead to one run.
Erin Gray led off the bottom of the fifth inning for the Orange with a single up the left field line. The next batter, Jaime Grillo popped up to Koenig for the first out of the inning. Tiffany Robinson then followed with a single. Rose reached on a fielders' choice as she lined a hit right into the glove of Wall, who stayed at the bag to tag out Gray. After that, rain forced an additional delay, as the game start was delayed more than an hour and then again in the bottom of the fifth. After a 17 minute delay, Roehner then came to bat and flied out to right field to end the inning, and the game remained a one-run contest.
Downey retired the Villanova batters in the top of the sixth.
In the bottom of the sixth, Switenko singled and was followed by Mosch, who was hit by a pitch for a free pass. Norris then singled to load the bases, and Williams found herself in a bases-loaded, no-out jam. Morales then popped up for the first out. Gray hit a sacrifice fly to score Swintenko and put Syracuse up once again by two runs. The Orange plated two more when Grillo lined a single to score Mosch, but an error from Krueger allowed Norris to score as well, which put Syracuse up 5-1 and the game out of reach.
Senior Sarah Wall (Hollywood, Fla.) managed a single in the seventh before being replaced by pinch runner Kayla Felty (Schuylkill Haven, Pa.) and senior Veronica Alvarez (Miami, Fla.), who pinch hit for Brown, followed with another single. However, Donley popped up for the second out and Krueger for the third for the final score of 5-1.
Williams pitched six complete innings, striking out four and walking none, but was saddled with the loss. She will end her career at Villanova tied for first on the all-time wins list, with 69.
Syracuse will now face Notre Dame for a chance to play Seton Hall in Saturday's championship game. Seton Hall secured one of the slots in the championship game thanks to a 2-1 win over the Irish in the day's first game.
Villanova had split its regular season meetings with the Orange, including a 10-2 win, but was not able to complete its rally for a chance to play Notre Dame.