Softball Goes 2–1 to Win Seton Hall Series


Brian Lupps/Villanovan Photography

The Wildcats are currently ranked No. 3 in the Big East.

Katie Lewis, Staff Writer

This weekend, Villanova’s softball team (32–20, 15–6 Big East) returned from a series on the road with two wins and a loss against Big East No. 2 Seton Hall. 

Following this second-to-last series in the team’s regular season, the Wildcats currently maintain their third-place position in the Big East conference. 

  Villanova opened the series with a 6–2 victory in the first half of Friday’s double-header. 

  Freshman Kat Gallant earned the win for the Wildcats, striking out three and surrendering just five hits during her 5.1 innings in the circle. Junior Caroline Pellicano relieved, allowing only one hit. 

  After a scoreless first two innings, the Wildcats recorded four runs in the third. Senior outfielder Dani Dabroski hit a leadoff single, then a walk and single by senior third baseman Chloe Smith loaded the bases. Another hit by senior catcher Ally Jones brought in the first run. With two outs and a 1–2 count, sophomore infielder Ava Franz cleared the bases with a powerful double. 

The Wildcats then opened the fifth inning with back-to-back singles from Smith and Jones. Another hit from graduate catcher Ryan Henry gave Smith an opportunity to sprint home, adding another run. 

In the sixth inning, junior center fielder Tess Cites doubled to score a runner, putting Villanova up, 6–0. Seton Hall responded with a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning, but the Wildcats maintained their lead in a scoreless final inning. 

Friday’s second game resulted in another win for the ‘Cats as they won, 4-2.  

Sophomore Kelsey White picked up the win, pitching five innings and striking out two, while allowing just three hits. Pellicano returned to the circle in relief, recording two more strikeouts. 

The Wildcats racked up an early lead, with a leadoff walk and Smith single putting runners on the corners. Jones singled to bring in Villanova’s first run of the game, followed by two more walks that resulted in another run. Jones took advantage of a wild pitch to gain a 3–0 lead. 

In the third inning, Franz blasted a home run to bring the advantage up to four. 

A fourth-inning home run and a pair of fifth-inning hits put two Seton Hall runs on the board. Pellicano earned the save, preventing the Pirates from scoring again in the last two innings. 

“We jumped on them early and scored runs that got the momentum going right away,” head coach Bridget Orchard said. “But in the third game, we couldn’t get anything started, got behind quickly, and it stayed that way.” 

The final game of the series was on Sunday when the Wildcats took the field in poor weather conditions, falling, 9–1, to the Pirates in five innings. 

Gallant was Villanova’s starter and received the loss, surrendering four runs. White and graduate pitcher Peyton Schnackenberg each appeared in the circle for one inning of relief. 

Despite two strikeouts by Gallant, a pair of doubles brought the Pirates a 1–0 lead in the first inning. 

The Wildcats notched their only run of the game in the second inning after a Franz double and White sacrifice fly. 

In the third inning, Seton Hall increased the lead to 4–1 following a base hit, Villanova error, and two-run homer. 

The Pirates added four more runs in the fourth inning, despite a rain delay that interrupted play. The game ended in the fifth inning, when a single and three walks allowed Seton Hall to score a final run, inducing the eight-run rule. 

The Wildcats finished the weekend with two Big East accolades.Franz was awarded Player of the Week and Pellicano was awarded Pitcher of the Week. 

Looking ahead to the rankings, there is still an opportunity for the Wildcats to rise to second place in the Big East. 

“We’re still holding out hope for Seton Hall to lose one of their games against Butler this weekend, and we’ll have to sweep Providence as well to be the two seed,” Orchard said. 

Villanova’s last series before entering the Big East Tournament will take place at home next weekend against Big East No. 7 Providence. 

  “All the six teams in our conference are pretty even, so it’s going to be pretty much anyone’s tournament to win,” Orchard said. “We’re playing well at the right time, so we just have to hope everything comes together in the next few games.”