Softball Goes 2-3 in Boca Raton


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Junior centerfielder Tess Cites had the ‘Cats’ lone RBI in their game against Boston College Sunday.

Katie Lewis, Staff Writer

This weekend, Villanova’s softball team took the fi eld in the Joan Joyce Classic in Boca Raton, Florida, finishing the tournament 2–3.

The Wildcats claimed wins over Power Five teams North Carolina and Boston College. The Wildcats now hold a 6-9 overall record.

“[This is a] step in the right direction,” head coach Bridget Orchard said.

On Friday, the Wildcats kicked off the tournament with a 5–1 victory over North Carolina. Bats were hot across the lineup, with four players — junior Tess Cites, freshman Lilly St. Jean, sophomore Ava Franz and senior Ally Jones — each notching two hits, including a sixth-inning home run from Jones.

Graduate student Peyton Schnackenberg also pitched a complete game, striking out two and allowing North Carolina only four hits and one run.

In the second game of the day, Villanova fell, 5–2, to the host team, Florida Atlantic. Freshman Kat Gallant was perfect through the first eight batters, until the fourth inning, when FAU scored three runs off four hits and an infield error.

The Owls’ lead stretched to three in the fifth inning, and the Wildcats lacked the firepower to stage a comeback.

“With pitchers throwing 65 to 67 miles per hour, we’re not used to seeing that type of speed and it was good for our hitters to be challenged by that,” Orchard said.

On Saturday afternoon, Villanova took another loss, falling 3–2 to Wisconsin. Schnackenberg again took the mound for the Wildcats, holding back the Badgers with eight strikeouts and allowing just three runs on five hits and two walks.

Junior utility player Brooklyn Ostrowski led off the second inning with a single, eventually scoring Villanova’s first run of the game on an RBI from her sister, freshman outfielder Madison Ostrowski. St. Jean muscled a double, bringing home Franz for the Wildcats’ second run.

However, despite a strong effort at the plate, Wisconsin tied the game in the fifth inning, and took the lead for good in the seventh, handing the Wildcats their second loss of the weekend.

On Saturday night and Sunday morning, the Wildcats played back-to-back games against Boston College to finish the tournament.

Gallant led the Wildcats from the mound during the first game, throwing a two-hit, complete game shutout for a 5–0 win.

Another key player in the first matchup against Boston College was graduate catcher Ryan Henry, who smashed two home runs and earned all five of Villanova’s RBIs.

However, the Wildcats did not see the same hitting and pitching success in their rematch against the Eagles the following day, as they fell, 5–1, and were handed their third loss of the weekend.

The game remained scoreless for the first two innings, until a string of Villanova miscues in the third inning — including an error, wild pitch and passed ball in the frame — all of which gave Boston College opportunities to score and gain a 4–0 lead.

Although Cites, Henry and senior third baseman Chloe Smith delivered four hits for the Wildcats throughout the game, only Smith reached the plate in the seventh inning to finish the last game of the tournament.

As the Wildcats head into another week of training before going on the road again to the West Coast next weekend, standout rookie performances on both off ense and defense demonstrated the team’s potential.

“This weekend we definitely showed some improvements,” Orchard said. “Hitting is pretty contagious, and every game they’re getting more experience. Those were sparks of what we’re capable of doing.”

The Wildcats will head to Stanford, California this coming weekend for the DeMarini Invitational, where they will take on Miami University on Friday, March 3.