Softball: Ward no-hits Friars in walk-off win on Sunday



Kate McAvey

Although the softball team only had one win this past weekend, its one victory was a sweet one, as it beat the Providence Friars with a 1-0 victory on a no-hitter pitched by senior Nicci Ward on April 20. This game followed a tough 2-0 loss to the Friars in the first game of the doubleheader. The previous day’s agenda had other tough outcomes, as the Wildcats lost to the UConn Huskies in two games.The Wildcats were shutout in the first game, losing to the Huskies 2-0. The ‘Cats got two on base in the fourth, with singles from senior Jackie Dempsey and junior Meghan Morese, but the runners were left stranded at the end of the inning. The Huskies picked up two runs in the sixth, enough for the shutout. The second game of the day was just as upsetting for Villanova, as it was unable to conquer UConn, taking a 5-1 loss. All of the Huskies’ five runs came in the first inning. The Wildcats picked up their lone run in the sixth with a single off the bat of sophomore Danielle Maricle, who crossed the plate on an error by the Huskies. Ward had an impressive outing, throwing seven innings with no earned runs and eight strikeouts. The first game on April 30 against Providence turned into another 2-0 loss for the ‘Cats. The game was scoreless until the fourth, when Providence earned a run on an RBI double from Mary Rose Sheehy. The Wildcats tried to respond with a single by Morese to start the bottom of the fourth, but she was then forced out on a fielders’ choice. Sophomore Jess O’Boyle singled in her at bat, but the ‘Cats left runners stranded to end the inning. In the fifth inning the Friars earned their second run. The inning started with a lead-off double, followed by a single up the middle to send the runner home, giving Providence the 2-0 lead. After the runner scored, there was a 40-minute rain delay before the game resumed. The Wildcats did not pick up any runs after that, handing Providence the win.The highlight of the weekend came in game two when the Wildcats salvaged a sweep of their weekend slate in the Providence doubleheader as Ward pitched her first career no-hitter against the Friars, earning the 1-0 win for the ‘Cats. Ward’s outing, where no runner passed second base for the Friars, was the 19th no-hitter in school history. The senior did not give up her first base runner until the third inning when she surrendered a one-out walk to catcher Teresa Bartels. Ward regained her composure and retired the next two hitters.The biggest threat for the Friars came in the fifth inning when right fielder Justine Stratton reached base on a wild pitch while striking out. After a sacrifice bunt, Ward walked designated hitter Julie Fowler. The senior hurler was able to get out of the jam by striking out lead-off hitter Katelyn Revens. She walked only three batters and struck out eight to earn herself the win, her fifth of the season and second in the Big East schedule.The game was very tightly contested. With no score going into the bottom of the seventh, the Wildcats ignited a two-out rally when sophomore Eryn Teague hit a single to right field to get on base. Freshmen Kirsten Jelinski came to the plate amid the pressure and rifled an RBI double to give the Wildcats the walk-off win and seal Ward’s no-hitter. Villanova had a total of five hits in the game, with two coming from the first baseman Teague. The Wildcats have a busy next wo days. The team will travel to New Jersey to play a doubleheader against Seton Hall at noon on Saturday. The following day, the team will play two games at St. John’s.