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Softball Finishes Duke Invitational 1–4

Courtesy of Villanova Athletics
Villanova picked up a win over Michigan State and recorded losses to Boston University and Elon, and two losses to No. 6 Duke.

The Wildcats traveled south to Durham, NC to compete in the Duke Invitational this past weekend, finishing with a record of 1–4.

Villanova picked up a win against Michigan State and recorded losses to Boston University and Elon, and two losses to No. 6 Duke.

The team started the invitational falling, 8–1, to Boston University on Friday, Feb. 23. 

The Wildcats struck first when senior center fielder Tess Cites led off the game with a solo home run to straight away center field in the top of the first.

BU responded in the home half with three runs on a couple of RBI doubles and an RBI single to go up, 3-1.

Neither team would score again until the bottom of the fifth, when Boston University added five more runs on a Wildcat error and a walk, along with a series of singles.

Both teams put up zeroes the rest of the way, with the ‘Cats recording only four hits for the game.

Senior pitcher Caroline Pellicano took the loss, allowing three runs on five hits in four innings.

On Friday evening against Duke, the Wildcats offense again struggled, falling, 8-0, in five innings.

Duke led, 1-0, after three innings. The game ultimately unraveled for the ‘Cats in the fourth when the Blue Devils added seven more runs on a three-run double, an RBI bunt single, and a three-run homer.

The game was called due to the mercy rule at the top of the fifth.

Senior pitcher Alyssa Seidler was saddled with the loss, surrendering eight runs on six hits in four innings. She also walked three batters and struck out five.

In the Saturday morning tilt against Elon, the ‘Cats suffered a tough, 7-6 loss in extra innings. 

Villanova started the scoring in the bottom of the first when graduate catcher Ally Jones walked with the bases loaded, scoring Cites.

Elon would take the lead in the top of the second, adding a pair of runs on a two-run home run.

Villanova then tied the game at two in the bottom of the fourth, when junior shortstop Ava Franz knocked in fellow junior and right fielder Elaina Wagner on a run-scoring double.

Elon went up by two runs in the top of the seventh when two runners scored on a single.

Villanova sent the contest to extra innings in the bottom of the inning. The ‘Cats knotted the game at four when freshman second baseman Grace Reed was hit by a pitch to score graduate third baseman Chloe Smith. Sophomore Madison Ostrowski recorded a pinch-hit walk to score redshirt junior first baseman Brooklyn Ostrowski.

Elon added three runs in the top of the eighth on a pair of run-scoring singles and an RBI groundout.

In the bottom half of the eighth, Franz knocked in Cites with a double. Franz later scored on a single from Smith, who had been substituted to DP, putting the Wildcats within one run.

However, the rally was stifled when B. Ostrowski struck out and Jones grounded out to end the game.

Pellicano suffered the loss, allowing five runs (two earned) on seven hits in three innings pitched.

In the Saturday nightcap, Villanova secured its first win of the tournament, defeating Michigan State, 2–1.

Villanova scored the first runs of the game in the fourth inning, when B. Ostrowski scored on a wild pitch and Reed crushed her second home run of the season, a solo shot off the scoreboard. By the end of the inning, the Wildcats were up, 2-0.

“[Reed’s] power is huge, especially as a freshman,” head coach Bridget Orchard said. “We’re facing a lot of power five teams that have pitchers that are throwing high sixties velocity. She’s been able to really hold her own and we’re very excited about her potential.”

Michigan State threatened to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh when it trimmed the Wildcats’ lead to one on a sacrifice fly and put the tying runner on with a walk.

Seidler ended the game on a groundout, recording the complete game victory. Seidler allowed just one run on five hits and two walks while striking out seven in seven innings of work.

“[Seidler] was able to pitch three times through the [Michigan State] order and only hold them to one run, which obviously kept us in the game,” Orchard said. “But we were able to score two, so I think that was big for her confidence and it was big for our team.”

In the final game of the Invitational on Sunday, Villanova fell to Duke, 11–5, in a game that was called due to time constraints.

Villanova would get on the scoreboard first when catcher Jones doubled home Cites.

Duke responded by plating four runs in the bottom of the first inning and taking a 4–1 lead.

The Wildcats moved within one run in the second when Cites launched a two-run home run, knocking in sophomore pitcher Kelsey White after a long at-bat that featured seven foul balls.

Neither team would score again until the bottom of the fourth, when Duke added two more runs, lengthening its lead to 6-3.

Villanova got back within two in the top of the fifth. Franz smacked a solo home run and freshman pinch-hitter Elizabeth Gray knocked in redshirt sophomore pinch-runner Alexa Raphael with a single, making the score 6-5.

Duke increased its lead by adding three runs in the bottom of the fifth and another two in the bottom of the sixth, before the game was called due to a hard cutoff time.

White took the loss for the Wildcats after allowing six runs (four earned) on seven hits with one strikeout in four innings.

The Wildcats will return to action in the USF Tournament beginning Friday, March 1 in Tampa, Florida.

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