Baseball Goes 2-1 Against Butler


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Will Reiner (above) had three RBIs in Villanova’s 6-4 win over Butler.

Loghan Hirkey, Staff Writer

This past weekend, Villanova improved its record to 11-16-1 with two wins against Butler in a three-game series. The Wildcats won the first two, 13-3, 6-4, before dropping the final, 11-3. Not only was this momentum for the season but also for Big East play, but this was also the first win at home for the ‘Cats against Butler since 2016. 

The first game of the series involved a lot of runs and excellent pitching by senior Cole Patten and junior Danny Wilkinson. They pitched a combined eight innings and only gave up one run which came in the first off Patten, who finished with six strikeouts. Graduate Jonathan Cole finished off the pitching in the last inning, giving up two runs. 

In terms of offense, the Wildcats were led by junior Jack O’Reilly and graduates Chris Rotondo and Joey Castellanos. Rotondo hit a homer in the bottom of the third with two people on base due to walks. Castellanos shot a rocket over the left-field wall scoring two in the bottom of the seventh, and O’Reilly had a grand slam in the eighth.

The seventh inning was not just successful for Castellanos but also for graduate Pat O’Neill, with a two-run single after the bases were loaded by walks. A wild pitch towards O’Reilly in that same inning scored Rotondo and put the ‘Cats up, 7-1. The homer by Castellanos ended the inning, 9-1. 

O’Reilly’s grand slam in the eighth shut the Bulldogs down for good, giving Villanova a 13-1 lead. The two runs scored by Butler in the ninth were not enough and ended the game, 13-3. 

In the next game, by the bottom of the fourth inning, the Bulldogs were up by two. The only run until that point was by senior Will Reiner on an RBI single. 

The ‘Cats heated up in the bottom of the fifth with back-to-back singles from Rotondo and O’Neill. O’Reilly was able to score Rotondo with another single to make the score 3-2. Castellanos also had a single to bring in O’Neill to tie the game. Reiner switched up the scoring pattern with an RBI double, giving the ‘Cats a 5-3 lead. One more single by junior AJ Hansen brought the score to 6-3. 

Four scoreless innings led to the Bulldogs trying to rally in the ninth with one run scored. However, it wasn’t enough and secured the 6-4 win for the ‘Cats. 

Graduate pitcher Tyler Arella had his longest outing of the season with only three hits allowed in six innings. Graduate Cameron Mathes relieved Arella in the eighth for his second save of the year.

Although the last game of the series resulted in a loss, the ‘Cats still tacked on three runs. All three runs were in the bottom of the first from Castellanos and junior John Whooley. Castellanos was able to score a run with one of his three hits for the day, extending his hitting streak to 13 games. Whooley had a season-high 2 RBI. 

There was a lot of rotation within pitching for the final game against the Bulldogs. Junior Brandon Siegenthaler opened the game but ran into trouble in the fifth when the Bulldogs started to make a comeback. Two runs were scored on him, bringing Wilkinson in from the bullpen. He too had difficulties in the seventh when four runs scored, causing sophomore Devin Rivera to enter. Graduate Jonathan Cole relieved Rivera in the eighth and allowed a run to score, making the score 7-3 Bulldogs.  

The top of the ninth brought junior Cole Vanderslice in to try and finish the game. It soon became a 9-3 ballgame, and the final pitcher was brought out, freshman Marcus Labuda. The ‘Cats were scoreless the rest of the game and ended in an 11-3 loss. 

Head coach Kevin Mulvey discussed the future for the team in terms of Big East play. 

“The team overall needs to stay focused,” Mulvey said. “This weekend, we did a great job on the two games and stayed focused. I’m very happy with going 2-for-3 for the conference. Moving forward, an improvement would be mental focus as well as mental toughness, which means sticking with the plan of success even though there will be failures. Focusing on the present whether on the mound or at the plate is essential, rather than thinking of a past at-bat or past at mound.”

The ‘Cats hope to implement the focus this weekend in another Big East matchup against Xavier after playing one game versus Bucknell.