Junior pitcher Pat Young recorded 18 strikeouts, the most for any Div. I pitcher in last two years. (Celina Wildemann/The Villanovan)
by Ryan Peloquin
The Wildcats hosted the Big Five baseball tournament this weekend in Plymouth Meeting, Pa. Villanova took on Chicago State on Friday, and took on Marist in a doubleheader on Sunday.
The Wildcats have struggled thus far as they came into the weekend with a 4-12 record, including a three game losing streak.
Friday was dominated by junior Pat Young, as Villanova defeated Chicago State 8-2.
Young put on one of the best performances in Division I history, striking out 18 over seven innings while only surrendering three hits.
Young fanned the first nine hitters he faced and struck out the side in the fourth, fifth and sixth. His 18 K’s are the most by any Division I pitcher in two years.
“It was just one of those days where everything was working,” Young said. “We went right after the hitters and I was able to hammer them with a lot of fastballs, get into counts where I could use my slider and I was just able to rack up the strikeouts.”
Freshman Max Beermann finished off the game, allowing two unearned runs and striking out the side in the ninth.
Beermann and Young combined for 21 strikeouts while facing 34 batters. The pair did not allow an earned run or walk.
The runs came early for the Wildcats, who scored seven runs in the first three innings. Junior John Cialone started the onslaught with an RBI double in the first.
Freshman Eric Lowe extended his six game hitting streak with two hits and three RBIs. Sophomore Brandon Carr and freshman Kevin Jewitt chipped in with two hits apiece.
Cialone finished the day with two hits as well. Chicago State helped the cause by issuing seven walks.
After a snow-out on Saturday, the ’Cats were forced to play a doubleheader on Sunday. The ’Cats split the two game series with Marist.
Game one was a 1-0 loss. The only run came on an RBI single by Zachary Passerelle of Marist on a 2-1 delivery from Villanova starter Josh Harris. The shot to right center drove in Mike Orefice, who had singled after a nine pitch battle with Harris.
The RBI single was the only blemish on Harris’ afternoon, which included a stint of retiring 15 straight batters.
Harris threw all nine, surrendering only four hits while striking out seven and walking no one.
Unfortunately for the ’Cats, Marist’s starter Brett Houseal was just a bit better. Houseal went the distance as well, striking out six in the process and allowing four hits.
The Cats best scoring opportunity came in the seventh when junior Connor Jones reached on a bunt single. However, the late rally was ended after sophomore pinch hitter B.J. Bochicchio flew out to right.
The Wildcats fared better in game two of the doubleheader, which had much more excitement than the earlier game. Villanova won 4-3 in the 10-inning thriller.
The ’Cats spread the run production around in this one. Their scoring started in the third for the Cats as senior Paul Rambaud singled, stole second and eventually scored on a bunt single by Eric Lowe.
Villanova grabbed another run in the next inning on an RBI single by freshman Kevin Jewitt, which scored fellow freshman Luke Emling. The third ’Nova run came in the sixth when Emling scored on a error by Marist shortstop Zach Shank.
Marist had three runs of their own thanks to RBIs from Orefice, Jake Berry and Joey Aiola. A two hit Marist seventh tied the game up at three, pushing it into extra frames.
Emling’s hot afternoon was capped off by a game winning RBI single in the 10th. The walk off hit was set up by a Max Beermann single.
Beermann advanced to second after a walk to Jones, then was pinch ran for by Derrick May Jr. May Jr. scored on the Emling single, making the final score 4-3.
The ’Cats were anchored by a solid performance from Stephen Ostapeck, who went six and a third, tallying three K’s and allowing three earned on five hits.
Chris Haggarty and Matt Meurer came in relief of Ostapeck. Haggarty threw one and a third, while Meurer closed out the game and earned the win.
The home stand continues for the Wildcats this Tuesday as they take on La Salle. La Salle is 4-12 as well and has been paced by senior Dan Klem, who boasts a .381 batting average and slugging .429.
Villanova will look to right the ship in these upcoming weeks as four of their next five are at home.
First pitch of the La Salle game is slated for 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday.