PHILADELPHIA - The Penn baseball team looks to get the best of Villanova on Wednesday afternoon at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth, beginning at 3:15 p.m. This is the first of two matchups between the Quakers and Wildcats within the next week, as 'Nova will make the trip to Meiklejohn Stadium next Tuesday for the opening game of the Liberty Bell Classic on Tuesday, March 27. The two squads did not meet in 2011. Though a game was on the docket, it was postponed due to weather and a make-up date was never reached.
Last Time Out
Penn was on the wrong side of an unfortunate set of circumstances on Sunday. The Quakers trailed 5-1 to Charleston Southern in the finale of a three-game series against the Buccaneers, but had scored three runs in the sixth inning and had the bases loaded with no outs in the inning. But due to lightning in the area, the game was postponed. And with the delay dragging on and the team due to fly back to Philadelphia post-game, there was no choice but to abandon the game where it was. With five innings in the books, the game was declared an official contest and the score reverted back to 5-1. With the win, CSU took two out of three contests against Penn. The Quakers now stand at 4-8 on the young season.
Following Wednesday's Action
Live stats for Wednesday's game will be provided by Villanova here, while @pennbaseball will continue to provide photos and updates throughout the game on Twitter. Audio for Wednesday's game is available through Nova Nation All-Access but requires a monthly subscription of $9.95.
Scouting the Wildcats
Villanova begins the week with an overall record of 13-7 and will travel to La Salle on Tuesday before facing Penn. The Wildcats have won four of five and eight of the past 10.
Hitting: Matt Fleishman is undeniably the heart and soul of the Villanova attack, but he has received plenty of help as well. Fleishman, a senior outfielder, has won two Big 5 Player of the Week already this season and last week was part of the Big East honor roll during a week in which he hit .600 and had six consecutive extra-base hits during one particular hot stretch. He leads the team in batting average (.455), slugging pct. (.740), and home runs (3) while starting all 20 games thus far. Another full-time starter, Tyler Sciacca, bats .434 and leads the team with six stolen bases. A total of six Wildcat regulars bat over .300.
Pitching and Defense: With the La Salle game the day before playing Penn, Villanova will likely look to its bullpen to manage a large chunk of the innings on Wednesday. Kyle Helisek has made six appearances (four of them being starts) and worked 18.2 innings, but opponents are batting .329 against the senior left-hander. Max Almonte might also get a look against the Quakers. A sophomore right-hander, Almonte threw five innings and picked up the win in Villanova's last Wednesday afternoon game, a 4-1 win over University of the Sciences. The Wildcats are generally sound on defense, sporting a .969 fielding percentage as a team. Opponents have managed 27 stolen bases in 38 attempts so the Quakers might be looking to move when given the opportunity.
Derek Vigoa has been red-hot since the Quakers returned from Florida. The senior infielder has racked up eight hits in his past 13 at-bats, and with two walks and a HBP in that stretch, has racked up an on-base percentage of nearly .700 in the last four games. This current stretch has catapulted Vigoa to the team lead in batting average at .359 and OBP at .422.
Austin Bossart has provided a stable presence behind the plate since taking the place of graduated All-Ivy catcher Will Davis at catcher. Bossart has started 11 of 12 games behind the dish for the Quakers and is batting .308 with a pair of doubles and five RBIs.Thenewcomerhas also stolen three bases while picking three runners off and throwing out seven on attempted stolen bases.