Baseball Knocks Off Villanova 8-2 in Liberty Bell Classic
March 27, 2007
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - Lafayette scored eight runs on 13 hits and received strong pitching performances from Jeremy Atkins and Kevin Reese to secure an 8-2 win over Villanova on Tuesday afternoon at Villanova Ballpark.
The victory propels Lafayette (8-9) into the second round of the Liberty Bell Classic an annual tournament in which the championship game is played at the Philadelphia Phillies' Citizens Bank Park. The Leopards advanced to the title game in 2006.
Lafayette staked its rookie starting pitcher, Atkins, to a 5-1 lead after the first two innings. Junior Tom Hayes (2-for-5) doubled in James Conrad (hit by pitch) and Jeff Butler (single), and Mike Raible followed with a sac fly to give the Leopards three runs in their opening at-bat.
Villanova (9-9) answered with a run in the bottom of the first following a Joe Rosati lead-off double and Ryan Arcadia's sac fly.
Lafayette extended its margin to 5-1 with two more runs in the second inning. Lafayette benefited from a throwing error that put Dave Drechsel on second base. Daniel Bierce plated Drechsel with a single to left centerfield. A second Villanova error put Bierce on third, and the Leopards took advantage when Conrad brought him around with a groundball.
Atkins went unscathed in the third and fourth innings, but ran into a spot of trouble in the fifth inning. A lead-off walk to Justin Bencsko resulted in the Wildcats' second and final run. He eventually scored on a sac fly.
The Lafayette bats added two more runs in the seventh thanks to Chris Luick's two-run single. In the eighth inning, Raible (2-for-4) laid down a two-out bunt that scored Butler (2-for-5) to put the score at 8-2.
Reese took over the mound duties in the sixth inning and did not allow a Villanova baserunner to move past second base in four innings of work. He scattered three hits and struck out three while earning his first save of the season. Atkins improved to 2-1, giving up two runs on five hits and two walks. Ellis Jordan was the losing pitcher, responsible for five runs (three earned) on six hits in 5.2 innings.
Lafayette will return to action on Thursday in a 3 p.m. tilt at Wagner. Lafayette will play its first home game of the season on Saturday, hosting a four-game series with Army. First pitch at the Class of 1978 Stadium is scheduled for noon.