Baseball slugs way through Bash weekend

Stephen Buzka

After being held silent in the first game of the Villanova Baseball Bash, the Wildcats’ bats made some noise against their next three opponents, putting up impressive offensive numbers. Coupled with solid pitching the ‘Cats took two of the three Bash games. They followed up the Bash with a 15-8 blow-out of Saint Joseph University.

The Villanova Baseball Bash, a weekend series which includes games against local teams, kicked off last Friday with ‘Nova against the Peacock of St. Peter’s. Junior starting pitcher Kevin Mulvey held the Peacocks to just three earned runs in his complete game. However, the ‘Cats were only able to muster up two runs from four hits, leaving Mulvey with the loss despite his posting of solid eight strikeouts.

The Wildcats let the aluminum ping loudly over their next two games, putting up a total of 19 runs on Saturday and Sunday to round out the weekend. In Saturday’s game against the St. Francis (N.Y.) Terriers, Villanova crossed the plate 14 times to coast to a 14-3 victory. The ‘Cats’ batters hit for an unusually high amount of triples (four) including a school record (two) by senior centerfielder Kris Molloy.

Molloy carried his great hitting into the next game following up his 5-for-5 performance with a 2-for-3 showing on Sunday with a double and three RBI’s against the Long Island Blackbirds. Leadoff hitter Ryan Arcadia followed his 3-for-5 game on Saturday by going 3-for-4 on Sunday. Cleanup hitter Jeremy Hunt hit a solo shot in the fourth inning. Starting pitcher Ted Aust settled down after a bumpy first inning in which ‘Nova surrendered a run to hold the Blackbirds to just five hits over the next seven innings for the 5-1 victory

On Wednesday, in a sloppy 15-8 win over Saint Joseph’s in which the Hawks and the Wildcats each committed four errors, ‘Nova continued to out-slug their opponents, this time with 19 hits and 15 runs scored. All nine Wildcat hitters got a hit and either scored or drove in a run. Sophomore Derek Shunk led the way with a 5-for-5 afternoon including three scores and two RBI. Jeremy Hunt and Craig Mirsky each knocked in three runs. The ‘Cats offense was enough to overcome a less than stellar pitching performance in which ‘Nova pitchers gave up eight runs on 11 hits.

On Tuesday, center fielder Kris Molloy was named the Philadelphia Diamond Five Player of the Week and to the Big East Honor Roll for the games played during the week of March 13-19. During the four games in which Villanova went 2-2, Molloy hit .714 going 10-for-14 with eight RBI, two doubles and two triples even hitting safely in six consecutive at-bats. This is the second time he has been named to the Big East Honor Roll this season. He currently leads the team with a .429 (24-for-56) batting average.

“Over the past week or so I have been able to stay disciplined and relaxed at the plate, and when you can do those things your going to make solid contact.  Luckily the ball has been falling in the right place for me, but that is what happens when you are on a hot hitting streak,” said Molloy, who is only eight hits shy of surpassing his hit total from last year and, including his 2-for-4 performance against St. Joseph’s, is batting .750 in his last five games.

The team begins their Big East schedule with a three-game series starting today at 2:30 p.m. at Villanova Stadium in Plymouth against St. John’s. The team looks to kick-off their conference games on the right foot and build on their modest three-game win streak.

“We just need to be relaxed and not look at it as pressure,” Molloy said. “If we play good defense and hit like we have been hitting, we will give ourselves a chance to win each game.”