Villanova Win In Second Game Eliminates Butler From Big East Tournament Spot
PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA. 5/17/2014 – There was drama at the final game of the season for the Villanova Wildcats and the Butler Bulldogs. After the Friday rain out the teams would meet in a double-header. Butler would need a sweep and a loss by Xavier at Creighton to get fourth place in the conference, and the last position in the upcoming conference tournament. Butler won game one in extra innings. Creighton posted a come from behind extra inning 7 – 6 win at Xavier. The second game at Villanova Stadium would decide if Butler or Xavier would go to the tournament.
The Bulldogs fell to the Wildcats 4 – 3, as right hander J P Kole gave up 2 runs and 4 hits, striking out 6 to get the win. Senior reliever Matt Meurer earned his 9th save getting the final four outs. Kole kept Butler from mounting a serious offensive threat over the his seven innings. The Wildcats had trouble solving the Bulldogs starter Bill Laing early as he set down the first eight batters. However, with 2 outs in the third Laing gave up walks to shortstop Eric Lowe and center fielder Connor Jones. Left fielder Adam Goss singled to left scoring Lowe for the first run if the game.
Villanova added another run in the fifth when Lowe worked another walk, stole second, and got to third on a wild pitch. He would score when Goss grounded into a double play. In the seventh the Wildcats got what proved to be the game-winner when pinch runner Mike Mecca stole second and got to third on a ground out by second baseman Todd Czinege. Mecca scored on an RBI sacrifice fly to right by Lowe. It was the second run batted in by Lowe who also scored twice.
Butler mounted a charge in the eighth as Kole walked the first two batters, Matt Lengel came into pitch for Villanova. After striking out center fielder Marcos Calderon, Lengel surrendered a single to designated hitter Quincy Quintero scoring two runs. Later in the inning with runners on first and second, Meurer came in to get right fielder Mike Fries to fly out to right to end the threat. Meurer set down Butler in order in the ninth. Laing suffered the loss.
In the first game the Bulldogs got 2 eighth inning runs (in a game scheduled for seven innings) to win 4 – 2 and set up the drama for game two. Pinch hitter Pat Guinane singled in second baseman Chris Maranto and pinch runner Dan Busch off Villanova reliever Chris Haggerty for the winning runs. Villanova tied the game in the seventh. Jones walked, stole second and got to third on a throwing error by catcher Will Amador. Czinege sent a deep fly to center off reliever Will Schierholz scoring Jones to tie the game. Schierholz was the eventual winning pitcher. Left fielder Brian Trabulsi had an RBI in the fourth scoring Lowe that gave the Wildcats a 1 – 0 lead.
The Xavier Musketeers got the fourth seed and will play the regular season champion and top seed Creighton Blue Jays. Butler finished the season 20 – 30, 7 – 11 in conference.
The youthful Villanova Wildcats ended the season 16 – 34, 5 – 13 in the Big East. The future looks promising for Villanova as the team improved over the season and a majority of their key players were freshman and sophomores.
“It’s about the growth of the ball club,” said Villanova Coach Joe Godri. “We’re working with one senior, four sophomores and three freshman. What we are able to see are the guys getting comfortable offensively in college baseball.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian