‘Cats off to fast start

Kyle Laskowski

A home loss to Cornell on Sunday in the second game of a doubleheader, couldn’t spoil a successful spring break for the Wildcats.

A solo home run by Cornell’s John Finch in the top of the ninth off Wildcat closer Adrian Schau snapped Villanova’s seven-game win streak and dropped its record to 10-4, which is still its best start since 1998 and an improvement over last year’s 5-9 start.

The home run came after a Wildcat rally to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth inning. With one out, freshman Frank Cirone hit a pinch-hit double to start the comeback.

Second baseman Craig Mirsky then singled up the middle, scoring Cirone. With two outs, rightfielder Alan Day lined a single to score Mirsky, which tied the game at two. Designated hitter Danny Poydenis grounded out to third to end the inning.

After Finch’s home run gave Cornell a 3-2 lead in the ninth the ‘Cats had another shot at a comeback. Leftfielder Brian Newbold hit a lead off double to start the inning, but was retired on the next play when Schau lined to second and Cornell completed the 4-6 double play. Brian Trotta grounded out to the pitcher to end the game.

Wildcat starter Mike Loree led the way to a 4-2 win in the first game of the doubleheader. Loree struck out seven in six plus innings.

“I wasn’t very concerned with striking people out,” Loree said. “I just wanted to make good pitches and get outs.”

The Wildcats jumped out to the early lead as Cornell starter Rocky Collis walked Kris Molloy and Angelo Petracca in the first inning. Poydenis then came up and drove in Molloy with a single up the middle, to give the ‘Cats a 1-0 lead.

Two innings later it was Molloy again who scored. After he stole second, Petracca grounded to short. Cornell shortstop Matt Miller tried to get Molloy at third but his throw was wild, allowing Molloy to score.

The Wildcats tacked on two more runs in the fourth. Two-out RBI singles by freshman catcher Andy Wendle and Molloy gave the ‘Cats a 4-0 lead.

Meanwhile Mike Loree carried a no-hitter into the sixth, where he surrendered his first hit to Cornell first baseman Ned Van Allen. He was able to get out of the inning and stayed in to pitch the seventh, but after a walk and a single senior Mike Ciccotelli came on in relief.

Ciccotelli gave up a two-run double, but stopped any further damage and got Dan Parant to ground to the mound to end the game. Ciccotelli recorded his first save of the year, and Loree’s record improved to 2-0 on the young season.

“Its nice to pitch when you have a great defense behind you and good run support,” Loree said. “It was exciting to have the opportunity to pitch on home opening weekend.”

In the first game of the weekend ‘Nova battled Army to a 4-3 victory. Schau’s single in the bottom of the eighth inning broke a 3-3 tie and was the eventual game winner for ‘Cats.

The home stand came after a successful spring break in Florida, where ‘Nova won five straight.

The 10-4 start to the season has also earned the ‘Cats some recognition. On Tuesday, collegebaseballinsider.com had Villanova ranked No. 14 in its weekly Northeast Region coaches poll.

Big East rival Notre Dame was ranked first.