Baseball Sweeps Richmond

Loghan Hirkey, Staff Writer

Villanova had a successful time at the University of Richmond this past weekend when it won 7-4, 14-12 and 15-4, improving to 6-13-1 on the year. These wins came at a great time to snap the Wildcats’ five-game winless streak. This was also their first sweep since May 2021, when they defeated Georgetown in three straight contests.

On Friday, graduate Chris Rotondo started the game with not only a hit on the first pitch to continue his hitting streak but also his fifth home run of the season. Junior Jack O’Reilly hit a double a few batters later, and graduate Joey Castellanos hit a single to bring O’Reilly home and give the ‘Cats a 2-0 lead.

The Spiders answered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the first to make the score 3-2. However, in the top of the second, the Wildcats responded when senior Will Reiner and Rotondo got on base with a couple of walks. Graduate Pat O’Neil then singled to bring Reiner home. 

The bottom of the fourth saw the Spiders score two runs to give them a 4-3 lead, and the next three innings were scoreless until the ‘Cats exploded in the eighth. 

Castellanos opened the inning with a single and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Cameron Hassert. Junior John Whooley cracked a double down the left-field line to bring Castellanos home and make the score 4-4. Junior AJ Hansen and freshman Connor Hale both walked to load the bases, and a wild pitch from the Spiders allowed Whooley to come home and give the ‘Cats a 5-4 lead. Another walk to Rotondo loaded the bases again, and, after a bullpen change for the Spiders, Hansen and Hale scored on wild pitches.

Senior Cole Patten received the win as he was able to strike out six batters with only three earned runs in six innings. Junior Danny Wilkinson relieved him in the seventh and only allowed two hits in his two and 2/3 innings. Graduate Cole Mathes rounded out the day in the bottom of the ninth with a bases-loaded strikeout to secure the win. 

On Saturday, the Spiders started out strong with a 3-0 lead at the bottom of the first. After two scoreless innings, the ‘Cats got on the board with a sacrifice fly from O’Reilly, sending O’Neill to third and Hale home. Castellanos whizzed a single up the middle to bring O’Neill home and cut Villanova’s deficit to just one. The Spiders tacked on another run in the bottom of the third to make it 4-2 before the Wildcats erupted in the fourth.

With the bases loaded, Rotondo extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a two-run single to tie the game 4-4. O’Neill had a groundout, scoring Hale and giving the Wildcats their first lead of the game. O’Reilly hit a single to score Rotondo, and Castellanos worked a walk before the Spiders went to the bullpen with two ‘Cats on base and two outs.

Even with a new pitcher, the hitting continued as Hassert cracked a single that scored O’Reilly, giving the Wildcats a 7-4 lead. 

In the bottom of the fourth, the Spiders tacked on a run to try and close the gap. However, that didn’t discourage the ‘Cats from scoring more runs in the top of the fifth when Hansen hit a blistering home run, Hale hit a double, and O’Neill secured a single to send Hale home. A double from O’Reilly brought O’Neill home and made the score 10-5.

Four more runs were tacked on by the Wildcats in the top of the sixth. With the bases loaded, Whooley, Reiner and Hansen reached home from a multitude of walks, passed balls and hit by pitches. Castellanos made the score 14-5 with an RBI single. 

The Spiders turned up the heat in the bottom of the sixth, scoring six runs, including a grand slam, to cut Villanova’s lead to 14-11.

The seventh and eighth innings went scoreless for both teams with one more run tacked on by the Spiders in the bottom of the ninth. However, it was not enough, as the ‘Cats won, 14-12. 

Graduate Tyler Arella received his first win of the season going three and 2/3 innings and only allowing five runs while striking out three. Sophomore Devin Rivera picked up the save, going three innings and giving up just one earned run.

On Sunday the ‘Cats finished out the series with their highest score affair yet, winning, 15-4. They walked a season-high 14 times. Eight Wildcats tallied at least one RBI, with Rotondo leading the pack with five RBIs as well as two home runs. His hitting streak has now extended to 19 games, and he has 29 hits on the season. 

Junior Brandon Siegenthaler picked up his first win of the season, pitching six innings and striking out a season-high seven batters. Mathes relieved him for two innings with two strikeouts. Wilkinson relieved Mathes for one inning and had a strikeout, and sophomore Patrick Montfort finished out the game to secure the win. 

With a multitude of hits, home runs and walks, the ‘Cats appear to be heating up. The ‘Cats pitching also improved during this series with multiple strikeouts and very few hits given up. 

The Wildcats hope to keep up the momentum this week as they open up Big East play against Georgetown.