‘Cats sweep doubleheader against Moutain Hawks behind strong offense

Kate McAvey

The softball team swept the Lehigh Mountain Hawks in the double header home opener this Saturday at the Villanova field. The ‘Cats have now won nine of their last ten games and continue to play strong against all opponents.

The first game of the double header ended with a score of 8-3 after ‘Nova dominated with the bats. The offensive burst started early in the game and didn’t stop. The Mountain Hawks picked up one run in the top of the first to start the scoring, but the Wildcats responded quickly.

In the bottom of the second inning, Villanova loaded the bases with one out. Sophomore Christina Botkins tied the game with an RBI single, and senior Danielle Maricle drove in two runs with a double down the left field line. The fourth run of the rally came off the bat of freshman Tessa Braga, who singled.

The runs didn’t stop there. The team was able to pick up two more runs in the bottom of the third with a sacrifice fly from freshman Kristi Burlin and a double from Botkins. Morese drove in two more runners with RBI singles in both the third and the sixth innings. Juniors Eryn Teague and Jessica O’Boyle each drove in a run to account for Villanova’s 8-run total.

The Mountain Hawks added a run in the fifth and one in the seventh but it just wasn’t enough to catch the ‘Cats. Freshman starter Caitlyn Delahaba recorded her eighth win of the season, striking out six batters over four innings. Senior Megan Hord earned the save, fanning five in her three innings of relief work.

The second game of the afternoon went just as well for the Wildcats. They beat Lehigh again, this time by one run with a final score of 2-1. Villanova started the scoring off the bat of Morese with an RBI double in the bottom of the first.

The ‘Cats picked up their second run in the bottom of the third when Senior Jackie Dempsey crossed the plate on a wild pitch. In the fifth inning, the Mountain Hawks were able to squeeze in a run, but good defense and solid pitching kept the ‘Cats in the lead. Even though the Mountain Hawks slammed eight hits in the game, freshman pitchers Molly Manning and Delahaba held them to just one run.

Villanova is off to a tremendous start this season, posting a 13-4 nonconference record. Now that conference play has begun, the season is truly off and running. The Wildcats hope to continue their winning streak when they take on USF in Tampa at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Villanova returns home on April 1 to take on the Georgetown Hoyas after a series on the road against the Delaware Blue Hens.