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Softball Goes 1–2 at Weiler Invitational in VA

Courtesy of Villanova Athletics
Senior pitcher Alyssa Seidler recorded a career-high eight strikeouts in Villanova’s close 6–5 loss to George Mason on Friday, Feb. 16. The Wildcats finished the weekend in Virginia 1–2.

Villanova softball took part in its second tournament of the year, the Weiler Orthodontics Invitational in Harrisonburg, VA, this past weekend and finished with a record of 1–2. 

In their first game on Friday, Feb. 16, the Wildcats fell to James Madison, 8–5.

James Madison started hot in the bottom of the first, plating two runs on back-to-back RBI singles before adding another on an error.

Villanova scored its first runs of the game in the top of the second, when senior centerfielder Tess Cites was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, forcing home graduate first baseman Victoria Sebastian. Later that inning, the Wildcats tied the game, 3–3, when junior shortstop Ava Franz singled, sending home sophomore left fielder Madison Ostrowski and graduate catcher Ally Jones.

JMU regained the lead in the fourth on a run-scoring single. 

In the sixth inning, Ostrowski put the Wildcats back in the lead, 5–4, when she crushed her first career home run. It was a two-run shot that scored redshirt sophomore pinch runner Alexa Raphael.

“[Ostrowski] has gotten bigger, faster, stronger,” head coach Bridget Orchard said. “She put a lot of work in the off-season and she practices really hard so I think her confidence is up there. She was excited about it and it put us in a position to win the game, which was a big deal for us.”

JMU loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh with a single, double and hit batter before Duke’s catcher Bella Henzler stepped to the plate. Henzler connected on a walk-off grand slam to centerfield, delivering Villanova a disappointing defeat to open the tournament.

Sophomore pitcher Kat Gallant took the loss after giving up four runs on three hits and a walk in 1.1 innings of work.

In the Friday nightcap, the Wildcats were narrowly defeated by George Mason, 6–5. 

The Patriots got on the scoreboard first scratching two unearned runs across in top of the first inning.

Villanova got one run back in the bottom of the first when redshirt junior first baseman Brooklyn Ostrowski knocked in senior left fielder Cites with an RBI double. 

George Mason responded in the top of the second with four more runs of their own. A home run, an RBI double, a sacrifice fly and a run-scoring single made the score 6–1. 

Villanova got back two runs in the bottom of the second. Junior right fielder Kelsey White scored on a fielder’s choice and Cites scored on a sacrifice fly into foul territory from B. Ostrowski.

The Wildcats narrowed the margin to one run in the bottom of the fifth when sophomore second baseman Maddie Burrows blasted her first career home run, scoring graduate DP Chloe Smith.

The Wildcats put the tying run on and brought the winning run up to bat with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, but Franz was punched out to end the game.

For Villanova, White took the loss, allowing six runs (three earned) on six hits in an inning and two-thirds in the circle. Senior Alyssa Seidler recorded a career-high eight strikeouts during her 5.1 innings in relief.

Games against Lehigh and James Madison scheduled for Saturday were both canceled due to cold weather.

Instead, Villanova took on George Mason on Sunday afternoon to wrap up the Invitational. The ‘Cats defeated the Patriots, 10–7.

Villanova got the scoring started in the second inning when Cites knocked in junior right fielder Elaina Wagner. Wagner scored later in the inning on an RBI single from Franz, making the score 2–0.

The Wildcats added another run in the third, when Smith singled home redshirt sophomore pinch-runner Alexa Raphael with her 200th career hit. Another run came in the fifth when sophomore DP Lilly St. Jean doubled home White. 

“[Smith] is just steady,” Orchard said. “I mean it’s crazy we didn’t even know [her two hundredth career hit] was happening until after the fact. Definitely a big deal for her and for our program.”

George Mason put its first runs of the game up in the bottom of the fifth on a two-run homer, trimming the Villanova lead, 4–2.

The Wildcats responded with four more runs in the top of the sixth on a mammoth grand slam by Jones, her first home run of the year.

The Patriots were not done yet, as they took advantage of multiple Wildcat errors in the bottom of the sixth, adding five more runs and trimming the Villanova lead, 8–7. 

The Wildcats added two insurance runs in the top of the seventh when Cites launched her first home run of the season, driving home Burrows and pushing the lead back to three. 

Senior pitcher Caroline Pellicano went out to pitch the bottom of the seventh and picked up the save with two strikeouts and a pop-out.

Gallant recorded the win for the Wildcats, allowing five runs (three earned) on four hits over 5.1 innings of work.

Villanova will be back in action at the Duke Invitational in Durham, NC starting this Friday, Feb 23. 

“[Durham] is going to be a good one for us playing two [of the] top 25 teams,” Orchard said. “Boston University and Duke are now both in the top 25. So as far as a growing experience that’s great. Any of these games we get in now are getting us ready for our conference play is kind of what our mindset is.”

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