Softball Splits Doubleheader with Delaware


Courtesy of Peter Licopantis/Villanovan Photography

Softball earns first home win of the season on Sunday vs Delaware.

Aphrodite Dimopoulos, Staff Writer

After a 24-hour delay due to inclement weather, Villanova softball took on the Delaware Blue Hens at home on Sunday afternoon. Villanova went 1-1 in the double header, winning its first match, 2-0, and falling just short in game two, 3-1. 

Senior pitcher Paige Rauch led the Wildcats defensively in game one, pitching a three-hit shutout and keeping Delaware far from home plate. Rauch, now 6-4 for the season with a 3.24 ERA, didn’t falter through all six innings and retired 12 of the final 13 batters in Delaware’s lineup. 

Sunday’s matchup was Rauch’s second shoutout of the season and 15th overall in her Villanova career. Rauch’s success on the mound was greatly supported by her teammates in the field, as they pulled together many impressive defensive plays to keep Delaware at bay. 

In the first inning, Delaware’s leadoff batter Hanna Garber went to first on a walk but was caught stealing on a double play after a strikeout, orchestrated by junior center-fielder Sydney Hayes. Hayes’ throw to the plate not only stopped Garber from scoring but also marked the fifth outfield assist of the season for Hayes and the fourth runner she has thrown out at the plate just this year. 

Delaware’s pitcher Emily Winburn, 7-5 for the season with a 2.89 ERA, made the Wildcats work in the batter’s box. The Wildcats started strong offensively in the first inning. Rauch walked on four pitches and Ally Jones followed up with another walk. With two outs in the inning, senior shortstop Megan Kern hit a hard line drive through the left side for an RBI double. The hit reached the fence and gave Villanova the early lead. On the next pitch, sophomore right-fielder Tess Cites brought in Jones, bringing Villanova to its early 2-0 lead. 

Villanova held control for the rest of the game as Rauch allowed just one more base runner. Overall, the Wildcats earned two runs on four hits while being walked four times and striking out six times. The team headed into game two with another win in the books. 

While the team was not able to pull together another win in Game two, the Wildcats strung together some major hits and kept the lead until late in the sixth inning. Starting off strong, Villanova’s first inning brought about a one-run lead that carried the ‘Cats through until the very end. Junior third baseman Chloe Smith and senior catcher Ryan Henry had two hits each throughout the matchup. 

Throughout the game, Villanova had opportunities to extend its lead. Hayes and Henry each had consecutive singles to start the second inning, but the remainder of Villanova’s lineup could not get a hit off of Graceyn Frost, Delaware’s freshman pitcher. Again in the fourth inning, Henry and Hayes reached the bases but were left at second and third by the remainder of the offense. This got Frost on a roll, as she then retired the final 11 batters she encountered. 

Defensively, the ‘Cats had a decent performance. In the early and middle innings, the Blue Hens were unable to score, mainly because of sophomore starting pitcher Caroline Pellicano and senior pitcher Sara Kennedy who came in in relief. Pellicano got the team out of a difficult situation with Delaware on base in the first inning and kept it up as the game advanced. Kennedy caught a line drive bunt attempt in the fourth inning and later closed out the inning by stopping a hard one-hopper in front of the circle. While the game ended in a loss, Kennedy put on a strong performance throughout, giving up just five hits and not allowing any walks. 

This week, the Wildcats will play at Princeton on Wednesday before getting ready to face Big East opponent St. John’s next weekend.