Pioneers Hold off Villanova For 3-2 Victory

Pioneers Hold off Villanova For 3-2 Victory

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa.—The Sacred Heart University baseball team picked up a 3-2 win over Villanova on Friday afternoon. The Pioneers (4-8) struck early and were able to withstand the Wildcats (4-9) late rally at Villanova Ballpark. 

The non-conference victory was also head coach Nick Restaino's 200th   as a collegiate head coach. 

It was a pitcher's duel to start between Thompson and Villanova's Ryan Doty, holding the combined hit total through the first four innings at three.

SHU finally got going in the top of the fifth inning as redshirt sophomore Jake Frasca opened the inning with a walk. After a flyout, co-captain Cody Doyle stepped up to the plate and ripped the 0-1 offering down the left field line for the RBI triple for the 1-0 lead. Sophomore Stephen Thibault knocked Doyle in with the RBI single from the leadoff spot to give SHU the 2-0 lead.

Villanova responded in the bottom half of the eighth inning as Pat O'Neill started off with the one-out single. Josh Kim followed up with a 3-2 triple against freshman Thomas Pinto to get the Wildcats on the board. D Gulati then walked against Freshman Matt Aufiero, prompting a change to junior Jackson Aldam. The southpaw picked up two strikeouts to escape the jam. 

The Pioneers picked up back-to-back singles by sophomore Austin Markmann and Frasca to open the ninth. After a sacrifice bunt by freshman Danny Glendon, Doyle earned the walk to load the bases. Thibault lifted the 2-1 pitch to right field to score Markmann from third and give SHU the two-run cushion. 

The Wildcats battled all the way to the last out as Jeff Manto recorded the two-out single to keep the rally alive. Brandon Campos went first pitch swinging against Aldam and delivered the RBI triple to left field to cut the lead to 3-2. With the tying run 90 feet away Aldam was able to get O'Neill to chase the 2-1 offering for the fly out to right field. 

Thibault registered multiple RBIs for the second straight game and was one of seven Pioneers to record a hit. The sophomore has produced six runs in the last three games. Schock led the Pioneers at the plate with his sixth multi-hit game of the season, he has recorded a hit in six straight games.

Thompson earned his first collegiate win as he surrendered just one hit in five shutout innings of work. Pinto pitched two and a third innings allowing just one run on four hits. Aldam earned his second save of the season, allowing just one run in an inning and two-thirds while striking out three.

The Pioneers continue the weekend in Pennsylvania tomorrow afternoon with a matchup at Saint Joseph's. First pitch from John W. Smithson Field is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.