Four Run Fourth Propels Baseball Past Villanova
April 8, 2014
EASTON, Pa. - Lafayette used a four-run fourth inning to take the lead and held on for a 6-3 victory over visiting Villanova on Tuesday afternoon at Kamine Stadium.
Eight different players registered a base hit for Lafayette, including multi-hit performances by Tim Lazor and Tyler Hudson, as the team improved to 8-16 on the year. With the loss, Villanova fell to 10-19 overall.
Making his first-career start on the hill for Lafayette, freshman Trevor Houck worked around a one-out walk in the first by inducing a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play.
Following a 1-2-3 inning for Villanova starter Jeff Courter in the Leopards' first trip to the plate, the Wildcats took advantage of an error at the start of the second inning that led to the first run of the game. Connor Jones moved to third base on a groundout, after swiping second base, and came in to score on Brian Trabulisi's line drive to center field. Houck benefitted from his second double play in as many innings with a strikeout and strong throw by rookie catcher Austin Maggin as Trabulisi tried to steal second.
Houck came out for his third and final scheduled inning of work and sent the Wildcats down in order to complete his outing. The righty surrendered one unearned run on one hit, while fanning one and walking another.
Cory Spera was first out of the bullpen in the top of the fourth for Lafayette and the first batter he faced, Emmanuel Morris, beat out an infield single on a ball hit off the end of the bat to shortstop. A sacrifice bunt and a balk sent Morris to third, before Jones turned on a pitch and sent it through the hole on the right side, pushing the Villanova lead to 2-0. Spera got out of the inning with a diving play on a foul popup on the first base line and then induced a groundout for the third out.
Trailing 2-0, the Leopards responded in the bottom half of the fourth. A leadoff double off the wall in left center by Alex Woinski and Tim Lazor's hard hit ball to left put runners on the corners with nobody out. Third baseman Tyler Hudson legged out a single to second that scored Woinski and a sacrifice bunt sent Lazor and Hudson into scoring position with one out. Alex Nickles delivered an RBI base hit between third and shortstop to tie the score at 2-2. Two batters later, pinch hitter Jackson Kramer ripped a two-run double into the gap in right center that gave Lafayette a 4-2 lead after four innings.
With a two-run cushion, Spera worked around two base hits and stranded a pair of runners in the Villanova fifth when Morris lined out softly to second base.
A line drive back through the box off the bat of sophomore Michael Coniglio finished Courter's afternoon on the bump. At that point, Kagan Richardson entered the contest and faced four batters, giving up a walk, two singles and a sacrifice bunt as Lafayette extended its advantage to 6-2. Lazor and Hudson each collected a RBI in the inning before Villanova reliever Chris Haggarty stranded two inherited runners.
In the top of the sixth, freshman Rob Ewald came in to pitch and was greeted with a leadoff double by Todd Czinege. Ewald fanned Jones, before Jewitt worked a 3-2 count and dropped a double inside the chalk down the left field line to bring around Czinege from second. A full-count walk to Trabulsi brought Ryan Callanan into the game with one out and runners on first and second. The southpaw did his job by getting a flyout to center and a groundball to Hudson, who tagged third himself for the last out.
Callanan and Connor McMahon tag-teamed the top of the seventh inning when they stranded a runner in scoring position. A highlight-reel diving stop by Nick Murray at second base and throw to first from the seat of his pants ended the inning to keep the score at 6-3.
McMahon pitched the last two innings, and struck out the side in both frames, claiming his second save of the season. The right-hander left the bases loaded in the ninth by getting Czinege looking for the final out. The sophomore set a new career-high with six strikeouts.
The Leopards continue Patriot League play on Saturday when Navy visits Kamine Stadium for the start of a four-game series. The two teams will play a doubleheader beginning at noon.
Ronald Sessa recorded his first-career hit with a single up the middle in the eighth inning.