BSEBL: Last inning comeback lifts ‘Nova over Cornell

Carolyn Brown

The baseball team (8-5) is off to a good start, ending its spring break with a home game against Cornell. Villanova made a comeback in the bottom of the ninth and won the game 10-9. A strong offensive team this year, the ‘Cats have been able to win many games on efforts from the whole lineup.

“The Cornell game went back and forth,” said junior third baseman Derek Shunk. “We came out a little flat for the first few innings. Everyone contributed, and it was a great team win that we can take with us and learn from as we get into Big East play.”

Spring break travels began with a trip to West Palm Beach, Fla., a tournament the team was a part of for the first time, as it usually travels to Sarasota. The Wildcats saw tough competition; they first faced nationally-ranked Florida Atlantic University. Recording seven hits wasn’t enough to capture the win, as Florida Atlantic scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth and continued their strong offense with a final score of 12-3. Senior Jim Gillin went 2-for-4 with one run scored, and juniors Dan Terpak and James Dolbier both scored a run to account for the three runs that crossed the plate.

Mount St. Mary’s was the next opponent on the schedule, and Villanova was able to record its fourth win of the season. Offense proved to be key in this game as the Wildcats were able to score early, allowing breathing room for the pitchers throughout the entire game. Shunk started the scoring rally with an RBI single, while sophomore Matt McFolling hit a grand slam and Dolbier hit a two-run shot to the outfield. Shunk finished the day 4-for-5, and McFolling recorded two hits and two runs to go along with the four runs scored on his grand slam. Sophomore pitcher Josh Eidell recorded his first win of the season as he was able to hold his ground against many rallies produced by the Mount St. Mary’s squad. The final score was 11-8 in this first showing. In a second showing against Mount St. Mary’s later in the week, the Wildcats easily finished with a win, 11-2.

Offense was strong for the second game in a row as the Wildcats were able to score early in the game to hold off Maine. In the first two innings, Villanova put runs on the board when McFolling scored from second base on an attempted pick-off throw that went to the outfield, while Gillin doubled home a run. The second inning started when junior Tim Poydenis got hit by a pitch and junior Ryan Arcadia had an RBI single. Shunk hit successfully once again and drove in two runs off a single. Junior Gus Guida recorded the save and pitched a scoreless ninth inning with two strikeouts.

“Hands down, we are the best offense Coach Godri has ever had here,” Shunk said. “We can score very quickly because of not only our hitting, but our speed as well. Players like Ryan Arcadia, Joe Rosait, James Dolbier and Joe Cotter can really run and steal bases. We also have Matt McFolling and Dan Terpak, who can drive the ball out of the park. Also, our freshmen have been very productive.”

An old Big East rivalry was renewed when the Wildcats faced Boston College, now of the ACC. The Eagles took an early 4-0 lead, the first time in 10 games this season that Villanova has allowed a run in the first inning. The Wildcats were able to rally and come back to within one, the score now 5-4, when Terpak led off with a double and scored off a hit from Arcadia. Later in the sixth, Terpak again led the team by hitting a home run when there were two outs in the inning and was followed by a single from sophomore Joe Roasati and an RBI double from Poydenis. The score went back and forth, but the Wildcats were unable to hold on when the Eagles took the game away in the bottom of the ninth.

The Wildcats traveled home, ending their series of games in Florida with a 3-2 record. Bad weather moved their two home games to La Salle, where they played Iona and Cornell to wrap up spring break. In the first home game of the season, Villanova trailed 2-0 until Poydenis hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth and another run scored off an error to tie the game 2-2. Villanova broke the game open in the sixth inning when Terpak led off with a triple to center field, and Poydenis hit his first career home run in a Villanova uniform. Arcadia hit a triple and scored off a wild pitch and Shunk also recorded a triple, making the final score 6-2.

“In order for us to be successful in the Big East we need to continue to get better in all areas of the game,” Shunk said. “Everyone on the team was very disappointed with our record in the Big East last year. We know we are one of the top eight teams and that we should make the playoffs this year. We need to stick to our team’s philosophy of taking one game at a time. We need to continue to show people how tough of a team we are and prove that when a team comes to play Villanova, they are going to be in for a tough series.”