Softball Sweeps St. John’s for No. 4 Conference Spot


Brian Luppy/Villanovan Photography

The Wildcats now hold a 25–18 overall record and a 10–5 conference record.

Katie Lewis, Staff Writer

Last weekend, Villanova’s softball team claimed three victories over St. John’s.

The sweep comes off another conference win last weekend against Butler, and the team sits in fourth place in the Big East, with a 25–18 overall record and a 10–5 conference record. 

To kick off the weekend, the Wildcats clinched the first game of the series with an 8–3 win on Friday, April 14th. 

Freshman Kat Gallant was the starting pitcher for Villanova and reached a career high of eight strikeouts. Junior Caroline Pellicano shined in relief to deliver four outs, earning the save. 

After the Red Storm took a 1–0 lead to open the game, the Wildcats struck back in the fourth, tallying four runs after a scoreless second and third inning. Junior center fielder Tess Cites was the first to get on base with a shot to left field for a double. A single and stolen base by senior third baseman Chloe Smith put both players in scoring position. Senior first baseman Victoria Sebastian then notched a two-RBI double to even the score. 

Later in the fourth, graduate catcher Ryan Henry smashed a ball out of the park to add three more runs, for a 4–1 Villanova advantage. 

The Wildcats scored again in the sixth inning. Freshman utility Kendall Spivey pinch-ran after senior Ally Jones’ single, scoring after two St. John’s wild pitches and a passed ball. 

The Red Storm scored two runs in the bottom half of the inning, but Villanova still led, 5-3. 

In the last inning, freshman Maddie Burrows singled for her first career hit, scoring after another Cites hit. A Jones line drive brought Cites home, and Smith reached first base after a St. John’s outfield error. The Wildcats’ final run came off Sebastian’s second hit of the game to score Smith. 

On Saturday, April 15th, the Wildcats mercied the Red Storm, 12–0, in five innings. 

White was in the circle for the first four innings, holding back the Red Storm with four strikeouts and allowing just two hits. Junior Alyssa Seidler finished the game for the Wildcats with two strikeouts. 

Villanova bats were hot from the first inning, with singles from Cites and Jones and Sebastian’s second double of the weekend, for a 2–0 lead. 

After a scoreless second inning, the Wildcats recorded six more runs in the third. Cites duplicated her first hit with another single up the middle, and Smith muscled a double to put her in scoring position. Sebastian delivered a center-field single to score Smith. 

Henry then blasted her second home run of the weekend, to add three more runs. Sophomore infielder Ava Franz followed Henry with another home run, putting Villanova up, 8–0, going into the fourth. 

In the fifth, St. John’s loaded the bases with Villanova runners after two hit-by-pitches and a walk. Junior pinch-hitter Emily Orr scored one, earning an RBI.  

Cites smashed a three-run homer to end the game early. 

“We finally put it all together, and on Saturday there was production up and down the lineup,” head coach Bridget Orchard said. 

Game three was the most highly-contested of the weekend, with the Wildcats finishing the series on top, 2–1, in eight innings. 

Gallant was Villanova’s starting pitcher, striking out two and surrendering St. John’s only unearned run during her four innings in the circle. White replaced Gallant, striking out one in her 1.1 innings pitched, before Pellicano came in to record two strikeouts and pick up the win. 

Both teams struggled to bring runners home in the scoreless first three innings. In the fourth, St. John’s was the first on the board with a 1–0 advantage. 

Despite multiple Villanova hits, St. John’s held their lead until the seventh inning. After outfielder Dani Dabroski landed on base from being hit by a pitch, utility redshirt sophomore Brooklyn Ostrowski singled to left field. Dabroski sped home to tie the score on two outs. 

The Wildcats clinched the series in extra innings, with an RBI double from Henry earning the team another run, enough to stage a comeback victory. 

“They showed true grit and found a way to win, which was awesome,” Orchard said. 

The series featured outstanding performances across both Villanova’s offense and defense, and at the end of the weekend the Wildcats racked up three Big East awards. Cites was recognized as Big East Player of the Week, Gallant as Rookie of the Week, and Sebastian landed on the Big East Weekly Honor Roll. 

Orchard maintains the team’s ambition of arriving in the second-place conference position, which requires winning all the remaining conference games and would grant Villanova a playoff bye.  

“We’re definitely capable if we play like we played this weekend,” Orchard said. 

The end-of-season pressure is on for the Wildcats following the successful weekend with an away-game against Lehigh on Wednesday, April 19th, and the next conference matchup against DePaul at home on April 21st through April 23rd.