Extra-Inning Showdown Goes to Villanova, 5-3
April 11, 2012
EASTON, Pa. - For the second time in eight days, the Lafayette baseball team went down to the wire with Big East foe Villanova. And, once again on Wednesday at Kamine Stadium, it was the Wildcats who pulled through in the end with a 5-3 victory in 10 innings.
With the loss, the Leopards drop to 10-22-1. Villanova improves to 18-16.
Bobby Fargnoli went 4-for-5 in the contest with two doubles, a triple, two RBI and a stolen base. Andrew Ruck also knocked in a run with a first-inning single. Andrew Santomauro and Kevin Casey each doubled, and Parker Hills and Brian Davila rounded out Lafayette's nine hits with a single apiece.
Toby Schwartz started on the hill and worked five innings. The rookie southpaw scattered six hits, allowing just one earned run. Schwartz struck out four batters, walked two and uncorked a wild pitch.
Chris Boyce fired 1.1 innings of scoreless relief, while Jeff Snell posted 2.2 scoreless frames. Snell allowed baserunners to reach via two singles and wild pitch, but picked off two of the three Wildcats to keep the game tied.
Sean McGrath started the 10th frame and took the loss. McGrath (1-1) allowed two earned runs on a hit and three walks while recording two outs. Alex Farina faced and retired one batter to cap the Leopards' pitching performance.
After a 15-minute delay due to rain, Villanova started the scoring immediately. Marlon Calbi poked a lead-off extra-base hit to begin the game. When he attempted to stretch the stand-up double into a triple, Davila's relay throw sailed high and the Wildcats' shortstop went all the way around to score the contest's first run.
The Leopards responded to the unearned run with a two-out rally in the bottom of the frame. Casey worked a walk with two down to start-up the offense and moved into scoring position when Brad Hopek was hit by a pitch. Ruck followed with a single up the middle to plate Casey, and Fargnoli capped the scoring with a double down the left field line to knock in both baserunners and put Lafayette on top, 3-1.
The Leopards would not score in the ensuing nine innings however, as the Wildcats chipped away at the lead. After Schwartz struck out the side to work around a walk in the second frame, Villanova notched its second unearned tally in the third as a routine flyball found daylight between three Lafayette fielders to allow a run to score.
Still holding a 3-2 edge, the Lafayette left-hander pitched around a spell of bad luck in the fourth. An infield hit, a blooper to right field and a bunt single loaded the bases with two outs, but Schwartz got Calbi to sky a harmless pop-up to Davila at short to quell the threat without ceding a run.
Tyler Sciacca, who entered the week as the third-leading hitter in the Big East, drove in a single off of Schwartz in the bottom of the fifth - the first and only earned run allowed by the Leopards' starter - to knot the score at 3-3.
The Lafayette bullpen took over at that point, stranding the bases loaded in the sixth and leaving runners on second and third in the seventh to preserve the tie game. The Leopards also had their chances offensively, but Santomauro was stranded on third base with none down in the fifth and, after left-fielder Paul Rambaud robbed Hopek of extra bases leading off the eighth, Fargnoli hammered a triple - a rip that would have easily scored Hopek - but was cut down on a bang-bang play attempting to turn the knock into an inside-the-park home run.
After four scoreless frames each way with the score deadlocked, the Wildcats finally broke through in the 10th. With the bases loaded, Kevin Wager connected on a sacrifice fly to put Villanova back on top, and a double-steal with runners on the corners added an insurance tally for the visitors at 5-3.
The Leopards would not go quietly in the bottom of the inning. Casey roped a one-out double and Ruck walked with two outs to bring Fargnoli to the plate as the winning run. Fargnoli, who was 4-for-4 up to that point, made solid contact and appeared to have picked up at least one of the RBI, but left-fielder Rambaud made another diving catch to end the game and preserve the win.
Matt Meurer earned the win for the Wildcats with two innings of scoreless relief. Meurer (1-1) allowed two hits while working the eighth and ninth frames. Julian Diaz survived the 10th to record his second save of the spring.
Max Almonte started for Villanova, working the first 4.2 innings. Almonte surrendered three earned runs on five hits and one walk while striking out two.
The Leopards resume Patriot League play this weekend at Army. Lafayette, which is yet to host a league series, is 4-4 in league outings, while the Black Knights hosted and swept Lehigh last weekend to remain perfect at 8-0.