by Mike Dobranski

The Villanova baseball team kicked off its season with a three-game series at Charleston Southern, unfortunately falling in all three games by a total of 12 runs to 5.

The series was altered by yet another winter storm, which hit the area and forced the teams to play a double-header Saturday afternoon.

All three of the games took place over the course of 27 hours.

Villanova lost the first game of the double-header 2-0, surrendering the runs back-to-back in the fifth and sixth innings.

Junior southpaw starter Josh Harris pitched well, but couldn’t keep Charleston Southern off the board without any run support from his lineup.

Opposing senior pitcher Tory Schroff struck out eight Wildcats over six scoreless innings, which was good enough for his first win of the season.

Sophomore third baseman Kevin Jewitt was the lone bright spot for the Wildcats offense, going two for three with a walk.

Senior center fielder Connor Jones and sophomore first baseman Max Beerman added the other two hits for the Wildcats.

Unfortunately,  Villanova was outhit eight to four during the game.

The two teams hit the diamond again just 45 minutes later for the second half of the double header.

The game ended with Villanova losing, 2-1.

Senior starter Max Almonte pitched seven strong innings, allowing only one run on three hits.

However, Charleston Southern pitchers senior Levi Mauldin, freshman Tyler Weekley and junior Austin Weekley combined to allow one run on 10 hits, silencing the Wildcats’ bats with eight total strikeouts along the way.

Despite the 10-5 advantage in hits, Villanova could only push one runner across the plate before Charleston Southern rallied to take the lead in the bottom of the 8th.

Sophomore designated hitter Luke Emling and sophomore shortstop Eric Lowe both had two hits, and senior Connor Jones drove in the only run with an RBI single in the top of the third.

The final game of the series was held on Sunday at 1 p.m., and saw Villanova lose for a third time by a final score of 8-4.

In contrast to the low scoring double-header the day before, this contest saw the two teams combine for 28 hits.

Charleston Southern did the majority of its damage in the third, chasing junior starter JB Kole from the mound with six runs.

Junior reliever Jeff Courter gave up three more over four innings, unable to quiet the potent bats of Charleston Southern.

Senior Chris Haggarty finished off the game for the Wildcats on the mound, pitching two scoreless innings of relief.

Jewitt impressed again, scoring two runs and going two for five from the plate.

Jones added two hits, and freshman infielder Todd Czinege drove home two RBIs on three of four batting for the day.

The offensive outburst on Sunday added some life to the low-scoring series at the expense of what was generally good pitching throughout the weekend.

Strong performances from both the starters and relievers seemed to be the story for the Wildcats, who were simply waiting for their offense to get going.

Jewitt, Jones and Czinege were the highlights on the offense, which does look to improve over the next few games.

After scoring only five runs on 25 total hits over the weekend, it seems that the Wildcats can get runners on base, but need some help bringing them home.

Villanova looks to fix this problem this upcoming weekend when it travels to Norfolk, Virginia for the Norfolk State Invitational.

The Wldcats will take on Quinnipiac, Buffalo and Norfolk State this weekend.


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