Wildcats survive long innings

Raynor Denitzio

Working over-time has become a common theme for the Villanova Wildcats’ Baseball Team this year. After dropping the first game of their weekend series with the Pitt Panthers 6-2, the ‘Cats bounced back to take game two 9-8 in extra innings.

Game one starter Nick Allen struck out nine in his six innings of work, but the Panthers were able to get to Allen for six runs to rally for a 6-4 win. The loss dropped Allen to 5-2 on the year.

First basemen Jeremy Hunt and left fielder Alan Day were responsible for driving in all of the Wildcats’ runs on the day.

In game two, the ‘Cats again needed extra frames to decide a winner. Starter Mike Loree pitched seven strong innings, striking out a career high 10 batters. Loree left with an 8-5 lead thanks to a big day by third baseman Angelo Petracca, who was three for five with six RBIs on the day including the game winner, but the bullpen was unable to hold it and the game moved to extra innings.

In the top of the tenth, the Wildcats scored the go-ahead run on Petracca’s RBI single to take a 9-8 lead.

In the bottom of the tenth senior Mike Grodecki worked a one, two, three inning to earn his the year.

In the rubber match, Villanova’s poor defense spelled doom for ‘Nova as they fell 8-3.

The seventh inning proved to be unlucky for the ‘Cats as the Panthers scored four runs on two ‘Cats errors. After starter Kevin Mulvey left the game with runners at first and third and no outs, a wild pitch by reliever Jim Baxter tied the score.

Junior Ted Aust then entered with two down and forced a grounder, but two errors and a hit broke the game open and put the Panthers ahead for good.

Mulvey was charged for four runs and took the loss to drop to 3-1 on the year. Returning back to the Main Line, the Wildcats next took on non-conference foe Rider at Plymouth Meeting.

The Wildcats found themselves ahead 10-3 in the fifth thanks to a six run second inning. With the score 10-4 in the top of the eight, Rider rallied for six runs off of the ‘Cats’ bullpen to tie the score.

The ‘Cats reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the eighth. A two run home run by right fielder James Dolbier and an RBI single by left fielder Alan Day proved to be the difference.

Senior Mike Grodecki, who came on to stop the bleeding in the eight, worked the ninth to pick up the win.

After all these close games, the Wildcats were finally able to breath easy Wednesday as they easily handled LaSalle 11-1 in Plymouth Meeting.

Right fielder James Dolbier led the team with three RBIs and Robert Parks and Jeremy Hunt each contributed two RBIs in the win.

Sophomore Nate Hall worked eight strong innings, striking out three and scattering five hits to earn the win.

The Wildcats are back on the road again this weekend, traveling to South Bend, Ind. to take on conference foe Notre Dame in a three game series.