‘Cats manhandle Drexel, Cafiero breaks RBI record

Brad McCarthy

The Wildcat baseball team routed Big East conference leader Boston College last weekend at Veteran’s Stadium and pummeled the Drexel Dragons at Richie Ashburn Field Wednesday.

In their battle against Boston College, the Wildcats overcame early shortcomings to knock off the number one team. After losing the first of three games in a 10-1 blowout, Villanova rallied the troops and launched an all out counter-assault winning the following two games 11-10 and 3-2, claiming the series. After upping their Big East record to 8-8, the ’Cats dismantled the Dragons, taking a 10-4 victory that improved their overall record to 25-16.

After shedding the game one loss, the Wildcats used a blend of offensive power and skillful pitching to overtake Boston College. On the mound in game two for Villanova was Wildcat ace Brian Slocum who fought through a vigorous B.C. lineup to get the win. The ’Cats were depending on a solid performance from the junior starter.

“We knew we had Slocum coming up for us,” centerfielder Chris Graziano said. “He got up on them early and it was a big win.”

In the third game, Wildcat senior Bob Grzenda threw a six and one-third innings no-hitter against B.C. and allowed only two hits. The win improved his overall record to 5-2 and to 3-1 in conference play. Junior closer James Russell recorded the save, his 12th of the season.

A multitude of players stepped up at the plate for the Wildcats against Boston College. Chris Graziano was 2-for-3 in the first game with a double and rightfielder Brian Hearne went 2-for-3 driving in Villanova’s lone run. Hearne proved to be practically infallible at the plate going 4-for-5 with a triple, a homerun and three RBIs in the second contest. “Hearne has had a great career here,” Graziano said. “It’s no coincidence that we’re winning with him in the lineup.”

Following Hearne’s lead was ’Cats’ designated hitter Adrian Schau, who was 2-for-4 with a double and crushed a two-run homer that extended the Wildcat lead.

Facing Drexel on the mound Wednesday was Villanova starter Tom Kandybowicz. He threw a shutout through the first five innings and only allowed three hits. Kandybowicz recorded the win and improved his record to 3-3.

Villanova picked apart the Dragons’ pitching staff and scored seemingly at will. Hearne continued to be relentless at the plate, adding an eighth game to his hitting streak and going 2-for-4. Graziano was 1-for-3 with three runs scored and two stolen bases. The real story, however, was senior first baseman Rob Cafiero, who tied the Villanova career RBI record. With 183 RBI, Cafiero matched the former Wildcat All-American Gary Scott, who played from 1987-1989. Putting forth an outstanding offensive game he was also 2-for-4 at the plate with two doubles.

The ’Cats have once again proved that they can play with the best in the Big East. In defeating Boston College they not only overcame an early defeat but also showed that they refuse to lie down for anyone. Drexel proved to be no match for the Wildcats and they defeated them with the ease of a superior team. The ’Cats are on a roll and gaining speed and after defeating the top team in the Big East, more great games are sure to come. Up next for ’Nova will be a weekend tripleheader against Big East foe Pittsburgh, with games at noon and 2 p.m. tomorrow and a noon matchup on Sunday.