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by Paul Regan

The Wildcats (10-28, 2-10 Big East) played a three-game series at Cincinnati (16-22, 4-11 Big East) this past weekend, dropping the first two games and winning the series finale.

Villanova lost the Friday night contest by a score of 5-1, scoring its only run with two outs in the ninth inning.

Cincinnati took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, capitalizing on three walks and two singles by the first five batters. The runs came on a blooper down the right field line by junior outfielder Justin Glass.

The Bearcats loaded the bases with nobody out, but Villanova’s junior pitcher Pat Young escaped without allowing any more runs.

In the bottom of the third inning, Cincinnati junior outfielder Matt Williams singled then stole second base.

He advanced to third and eventually scored on two wild pitches from Young, who recorded four strikeouts in the inning because of the last wild pitch.

Young was lifted after five 2/3 innings after allowing three runs on six hits while striking out eight batters and walking six.

Young’s counterpart, redshirt freshman pitcher Connor Walsh threw four scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and striking out five Villanova hitters.

Walsh was relieved by redshirt sophomore pitcher Matt Ring, who also threw four scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out five.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, four straight singles led to Cincinnati scoring the final two runs of the game. The runs were knocked in by Glass and freshman shortstop Ian Happ. Villanova’s lone run in the game came on a two-out RBI single by senior second baseman Tyler Sciacca in the bottom of the ninth. Both Sciacca and senior left fielder Steve Schrenk had two hits apiece.

Both teams were unable to capitalize with runners on base.

Villanova was 1-13 with runners in scoring position and left 12 runners on base. Cincinnati was 4-18 with runners in scoring position and left 13 men on base.

Saturday afternoon’s game was a pitcher’s duel between Villanova’s senior pitcher Stephen Ostapeck and Cincinnati’s freshman pitcher Mitch Patishall. The Bearcats came out on top by a score of 4-0.

Cincinnati’s hurler won the pitcher’s duel with a complete game three-hitter. Patishall struck out a career high five Villanova hitters while walking only two.

Cincinnati scored all of its runs with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Happ drew a walk and Glass scored him with a double down the right field line. This was the only extra-base hit of the game for either team.

Williams was then intentionally walked to put two runners on for the Bearcats. Cincinnati scored again on a throwing error by Villanova. Freshman catcher Russell Clark knocked in two more runs with a single.

The Wildcats threatened in the sixth and eighth innings with men on third base in each of the frames, but could not scratch out a run.  A popout ended the sixth and a 4-6-3 double play ended the eighth.

Villanova’s starter, Ostapeck, was lifted after six innings. He surrendered four runs (one earned) on six hits while walking three and striking out four.

Sophomore pitcher JB Kole threw a scoreless seventh inning and junior pitcher Matt Meurer pitched a scoreless eighth.

Villanova only managed three hits in the game, all of them singles from freshman infielder Adam Goss, senior centerfielder Paul Rambaud and junior right fielder Connor Jones.

Villanova’s offense woke up for the final game of the series, a Sunday afternoon affair. The Wildcats’ offense exploded for 12 runs on14 hits.

The Bearcats jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when Glass hit an RBI single to right center field in the bottom of the first inning.

Villanova’s bats came alive in the top of the third inning. The ’Cats scored seven runs on five hits in the frame.  Freshman first baseman Max Beermann hit a two-run double and Jones smashed a three-run home run.

’Nova tacked on another run in the next inning on an RBI single from Schrenk.

Cincinnati answered with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the fourth to make the score 8-3.

In the seventh inning, Jones’ RBI triple and Rambaud’s RBI single gave Villanova a commanding 11-3 lead.

Beermann capped off the offensive outburst for Villanova with a solo home run in the ninth inning.

Jones finished the game with four hits and five RBI and Beermann had three RBI and three runs scored.

Villanova sophomore pitcher Josh Harris scattered ten hits in seven 2/3 innings pitched, allowing two earned runs and striking out six Bearcat hitters.

The Wildcats will be back in action at home this weekend as they open a three-game series against Seton Hall.

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