PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - Penn's struggles in the fourth and fifth innings on Wednesday proved insurmountable as the Quakers fell to Big 5 rival Villanova by a 17-5 margin in Plymouth Meeting
The game started off with promise, as starter Vince Voiro used just eight pitches to send down the Wildcats in the first. Penn also was unable to score, garnering one hit in the inning. Neither team was able to do anything until the bottom of the fourth inning.
Villanova finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth. Three of the first four runners reached, and a sacrifice fly made it 1-0 with two down. The Wildcats appeared to be done but a single on an 0-2 count by Paul Rambaud extended the inning and opened the flood gates. A single, hit-by-pitch followed by another single made 4-0 and the runs kept coming until the Quakers found themselves in a 7-0 hole.
After Penn went down in the fifth, Villanova recorded five hits and took advantage of a Quaker miscue and an unfortunate bounce on their way to another seven run inning. The Red and Blue got a hit in the top of the sixth, but no runs and three run shot by Steve Shrenk made it 17-0 in favor of the Wildcats.
The Quakers finally got on the board in the top of the seventh. First baseman Spencer Branigan led off with a single through the middle and William Gordon followed with a soft single to center to put two on. Branigan came around to score on a one-out hit by sophomore James Mraz. A flyout and a strikeout ended the inning.
Penn continued where they left off in the eighth, as Emilio Pastor led off with a walk. He moved to second on a wild pitch and scored from second on a single by Dan Williams. Gordon reached on an error with two down and Grant Saunders followed with a RBI single, scoring Williams.
Mraz continued the run with a single through the middle as Gordon came around from second. Vigoa followed with a base knock to bring Saunders home and make it a 17-5 game. Trey Jennings shut down the Wildcats in the bottom of the eighth, striking out the side. In the ninth, Penn put one on but didn't score.
Voiro and Jennings were two of the eight pitchers to go to the mound for Penn in the game. They, along with seniors Todd Roth and Reid Terry all kept Villanova at bay in their inning of work.
Mraz led the team with a 3-for-4 performance and also added a pair of RBI. Tom Grandieri and Williams both had two hits, as Penn registered 11 as a team.
The Quakers return to action on Saturday when they take on Lafayette in a doubleheader with first pitch scheduled for noon.