Baseball Hands UConn First Conference Loss


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

John Whooley (above) had all four RBIs in Villanova’s win on Saturday

Loghan Hirkey, Staff Writer

Villanova picked up just one win in the Big East showdown against No. 15 UConn this past weekend, dropping its overall record to 15-20-1.

On Friday, the ‘Cats lost to the Huskies, 4-1, after going through six scoreless innings. Junior catcher John Whooley had his seventh multi-hit game of the season, going 2-for-3 with a single and a double. He was the only Wildcat to have a multi-hit game and the only one to score. 

Senior pitcher Cole Patten had seven hits with four runs, including three earned, while walking four batters. The loss gives him a 2-6 record on the year. 

On Saturday, the ‘Cats answered with a 4-1 win. Whooley had all four RBIs, a season-high for him, and only the second time he has achieved this in his career. Graduate pitcher Tyler Arella held the Huskies scoreless for seven innings. He is only one strikeout away from moving into the top 20 on Villanova’s career strikeout leader. Junior Danny Wilkinson came on in relief and finished the game with his second save of the season. 

Graduate student Joey Castellanos and junior Jack O’Reilly also had multi-hit games with two hits each. 

Not only was this an important Big East win, but it also snapped the Huskies’ 12-game winning streak, handing them their first conference loss of the season. 

The final game in the series resulted in a close match that the Huskies ultimately won, 2-1, on a walk off sacrifice fly after both teams were scoreless until the sixth inning. 

Junior AJ Hansen had the only Villanova run of the game with a leadoff home run in the top of the seventh, his third homer of the season.  

The bullpen saw a lot of action, and it began with junior Chic Degaetano being the opener for the ‘Cats and pitching five innings. In those five innings, he gave up three hits and two walks, while recording four strikeouts.

Sophomore Patrick Montfort relieved Degaetano but was quickly replaced in the same inning after the Huskies scored a run to tie the game. Junior Cole Vanderslice was next up to the mound and produced a scoreless inning. Sophomore Devin Rivera got the ‘Cats out of trouble with two outs and runners on base in the seventh. 

Tension built in the eighth when both teams left a runner on base with Castellanos reaching on a single for the ‘Cats. 

Graduate Jonathan Cole would run into trouble in the ninth when he had runners on the corners and only one out. He gave up a sacrifice fly to center field, which scored the walk-off run for the Huskies. 

At the end of this series, the ‘Cats hold a 5-7 record in conference play, with their next Big East matchup at home against last place St. John’s this weekend. The first pitch of the series will be at 3 p.m. on Friday, Apr. 29. 

The final few weeks of the regular season all build up to the Big East conference tournament, being held May 26 through May 29. Perhaps the Wildcats have a rally in their bones after beating UConn, the conference frontrunner.

Throughout this season, the ‘Cats have appeared to have a different mindset on the mound and at the plate and are producing better results than they have in past seasons. With strong multi-hit game hitters and strong consistent pitching, anything is possible for the Wildcats.