Villanova University swept the University of Richmond baseball team in its three-game series on March 25, 26 and 27.
The Spiders, however, hit well throughout the series. Graduate student Dom Toso extended his hitting streak to 20 games with a double on March 27’s game, and senior Johnny Hipsman also crushed a grand slam in Saturday’s game.
The first inning on March 25 started out fast when Villanova’s Wildcats center-fielder blasted a solo home run in the first at-bat of the game. The Wildcats got another run with a run-batted-in single bringing the score to 2-0 in Villanova’s favor.
The Spiders fought back with base hits from graduate student Christian Beal and junior Alden Mathes leading to a three-run homer by Toso in the bottom of the first to take a 3-2 lead. Villanova responded with a run in the second.
Starting pitcher junior Jeremy Neff played for 6.2 innings, allowing three runs on five hits and striking out a season-high nine batters.
Toso got another hit in the bottom of the fourth when he made it to second base on an error and sent first-year D.J. Pacheco across home plate, advancing Mathes to third.
Sophomore relief pitcher Josh Willitts took over on the mound for Neff in the seventh inning and was able to retire the side.
The Wildcats had a strong eighth inning and scored four runs on a double and multiple wild pitches, finishing the game with a score of 7-4 in the Wildcats’ favor.
The Spiders started out hot in the second game of the series, with a double from Beal to right-centerfield, followed by a single from Toso to bring Beal home. Sophomore Jared Sprague-Lott hit a single down the middle. Freshman Jake Elbeery continued the inning when he knocked a double to center-field and Toso and Sprague-Lott were able to score.
Villanova’s offense remained silent until the top of the third when the Wildcats sneaked in two runs against the Spiders starting pitcher graduate Brock Weirather.
Weirather worked on the mound for four innings before senior Brenden Argomaniz took over for 1.2 innings of play.
The Spiders responded in the bottom of the third with a sac fly from graduate student Andrew Papantonis, sending Sprague-Lott across the plate after his triple and making the score 4-2 Spiders.
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Villanova took control of the inning in the fourth when they scored five runs on a total of five hits.
UR tightened the score a bit when Pacheco flew out to bring graduate student Shane Gipson across the plate.
First-year Esteban Rodriguez pitched the final three innings for the Spiders and entered the mound with the bases loaded, allowing only one run to score before retiring the side with a strikeout. Rodriguez had a career-high total of nine strikeouts and only walked two batters.
Beal created action in the bottom of the sixth with a single to third base. Mathes came to the plate and knocked a homer to left field, closing the score to 14-7. Toso extended the inning by hitting a single. Sprague-Lott was hit by a pitch. Gipson was walked making the bases loaded when Hipsman slammed a grand slam to right field bringing four runs across the plate. The score changed to 14-11 in the Wildcats’ favor.
The Spiders’ luck ended there, and they fell to the Wildcats 14-11.
Sunday’s game started out slow with no runs until the third inning when Villanova scored after a walk while the bases were loaded. The Spiders quickly responded when Sprague-Lott brought Toso across the plate with a single to leftfield.
Starting pitcher Mathes kept the Wildcats stagnant until the fourth when the Wildcats added five runs to the board. Mathes allowed six runs on three hits while hitting two batters in just over three innings of work.
The Wildcats continued to add to their runs, but the Spiders answered in the bottom of the sixth when Gipson hit an RBI single, sending Sprague-Lott home. Hipsman has been on a six-game multi-hit streak and extended that with another single to right field.
The game ended with a final score of 15-4 Wildcats after a crushing ninth inning when the Wildcats scored a total of six runs in the top of the ninth.
The Spiders play at 4 p.m. on March 29, 2022, on the road against the University of Virginia.
Contact sports writer Lucia Helmers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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