Softball Extends Win Streak to Nine


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Softball improved their record to 17-13 this past weekend.

Katie Lewis, Staff Writer

Villanova extended its winning streak to nine games this week, sweeping Towson and Delaware in two double headers on the road. 

On Tuesday, Villanova topped Towson, 7–5.  

Three Wildcats were in the circle throughout the eighth-inning contest, with sophomore Kelsey White as the starting pitcher, striking out three and allowing four hits, before graduate student Peyton Schnackenberg relieved for two innings. Freshman Kat Gallant came in to deliver the final out, earning the save. 

After a scoreless first inning, White and sophomore infielder Ava Franz began the hitting for the Wildcats with back-to-back singles in the second. With two outs, junior center fielder Tess Cites notched another base hit, scoring White and putting Villanova ahead, 1–0. 

Senior catcher Ally Jones was the first to get on base in the third with a leadoff single. Jones scored with a powerful hit by White, who sped to third during a Towson outfield error. Franz then secured her second hit of the day, launching a double into right field and scoring White. 

The Wildcats increased their lead to 5–0, adding two more runs in the fourth inning, following four straight two-out singles and RBIs from White and freshman shortstop Lilly St. Jean. 

Villanova prevented Towson from getting on the scoreboard until the sixth inning, when a leadoff walk and two-out triple brought the score to 5–1. The Tigers continued to fight back, adding four runs in the seventh inning to force extra innings. 

The Wildcats sealed the victory in the eighth, with a ground-rule double from Cites, a single from senior third baseman Chloe Smith and a wild pitch, putting the team up, 7–5. 

“We showed a lot of grit to be able to come back,” head coach Bridget Orchard said. “I was proud of how they hung in there and believed in themselves.” 

Coming off the momentum of the first game, Villanova clinched a 6–0 win for the second half of the double-header. Gallant led the Wildcats for all seven innings, pitching a three-hit shutout, striking out six and giving up no walks. 

 After a scoreless first four innings, graduate catcher Ryan Henry was the first to get Villanova on the scoreboard by blasting a home run in the fifth inning. 

The Wildcats continued to climb, tallying four more runs in the sixth, including two more home runs, from White and Franz. With runners on base due to a Jones single and a hit-by-pitch, the lead grew to 5–0 going into the seventh. In the final inning, Jones recorded her third hit of the game to score White, completing the sweep.

A scheduled Saturday game against Boston University was canceled, giving the Wildcats an extra day to prepare for another non-conference double-header against Delaware.

The Wildcats found themselves in extra innings once again during the first matchup against the Blue Hens on Sunday, claiming a 5–1 victory in the ninth frame. 

Three pitchers led the Villanova defense, with White as the starter, allowing one run in her four innings in the circle. Junior Caroline Pellicano came in to relieve, striking out three, before Schnackenberg picked up the save in the last two innings. 

Delaware was the first to score in the fourth inning. Down, 1–0, the Wildcats leveled the game when graduate outfielder Sydney Hayes smashed a triple, reaching home off an RBI from Cites.  

The game remained tied until the ninth inning, when St. Jean sparked a Villanova lead with a two-RBI double. A double by Henry scored St. Jean, and a Hayes RBI sent Henry home to add four total runs. 

“We saw our pitchers and our defense, especially in [the Delaware] games, play really well,” Orchard said. “We were in some tough situations with runners on third, and they were able to get some big defensive outs that made the game for us.” 

The intensity only increased throughout the second game against the Blue Hens, in which the Wildcats battled for eleven innings to come out on top, 5–3. 

Gallant was Villanova’s starter, throwing into the eighth inning and striking out six while allowing just two runs. Pellicano relieved, striking out two and earning her first victory of the season. 

The first four innings were scoreless for both teams, until the Blue Hens recorded its first run in the fifth. Despite strong efforts at the plate, the Wildcats were unable to catch up until the seventh inning, when a pinch-hit double by junior utility player Brooklyn Ostrowski and a Cites single resulted in a run, heading into extra innings. 

In the eighth inning, Villanova gained a 2–1 edge off a two-out single from Franz. In its half of the inning, Delaware responded with another run following a single on bases loaded. Pellicano then arrived to get Villanova out of the inning. 

It wasn’t until the eleventh inning that the Wildcats took advantage of a Blue Hen error to put batters on second and third. Freshman outfielder Madison Ostrowski put Villanova on top with an RBI, and a timely Jones hit scored two more on bases loaded. 

In the bottom of the eleventh, Pellicano and the Wildcat defense successfully held back the Blue Hens, which added one run but lacked the firepower to stage a total comeback. 

The Wildcats will play at St. Joseph’s on Wednesday, March 29th at 3 p.m. 

The Wildcats now hold a 17–13 overall record and will return into conference play on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for a three-game series at home against UConn.  

“I’m excited, and the girls are going to come out ready to play,” Orchard said. “Getting a lot of fans out to the games to cheer us on and that home atmosphere will be big.”