Villanova totaled 11 runs on 14 hits in its best offensive output of the season. The contest was reminiscent of the type of games the Wildcats seemed to routinely play last year, as the teams were scoreless through three innings before Villanova poured on an onslaught of offense in the middle and late innings to pull away for the victory. Six runs in the top of the fourth inning and five more in the seventh turned the tables in the three-game series between the top two teams in the 2021 BIG EAST standings. The host Blue Demons had won each of the first two games of the weekend by a combined 16-2 margin.
Graduate second baseman Angela Giampolo (East Windsor, NJ) singled to left-center field leading off in the fourth inning. Jones batted with one out and drove a 1-0 pitch to left for the first runs of the game. Hayes followed with a double to left field which chased DePaul starting pitcher Julyana Gomez, but the Wildcats had runner at the corners with still only one out after junior left fielder Dani Dabroski (Cedar Grove, NJ) beat out an infield single against relief pitcher Erin Hocker who pitched the first game of the series on Friday afternoon.
Villanova followed with four straight run-scoring hits to break the game open. Smith delivered an RBI single to right, graduate right fielder Paige Rauch (Windsor, NY) and senior shortstop Megan Kern (Royersford, Pa.) hit consecutive RBI doubles and freshman pitcher Kelsey White (Taunton, Mass.) singled home the final run of the inning for a 6-0 advantage. The six runs and 11 batters sent to the plate in the inning were both season highs for the Wildcats lineup, as were the 14 hits and 11 runs scored in the game.
The floodgates were open for both teams in the fourth inning and the Blue Demons got two runs back in the bottom of the fourth when Nicole Sullivan, Tori Meyer and Anna Wohlers led off with three straight doubles against White. A sacrifice bunt moved Wohlers to third with one out, but senior pitcher Sarah Kennedy (Newtown, Conn.) entered the game at that point and retired two batters while stranding Wohlers at third base.
DePaul eventually got as close to 6-3 on a sacrifice fly by Carly Alvers in the bottom of the sixth inning before Villanova put the game out of reach with another big rally in the top of the seventh. The inning started the same was as the fourth inning did as Giampolo led off and singled up the middle. Senior offensive player Ryan Henry (Ramsey, NJ) and Jones each singled to load the bases with nobody out and set the table for a big inning. Hayes’ two-run double to center field gave the Wildcats an 8-3 lead and Smith homered to right field two batters later to bring home three more runs.
White started the game in the circle for Villanova and was charged with two earned runs on four hits over 3 1/3 innings pitched. Kennedy (3-6, 3.82 ERA) earned her third win of the season with 2 2/3 strong innings. She allowed only an unearned run in the sixth inning and did not give up a hit to any of the 14 batters she faced. Kennedy did not allow an earned run over 5 2/3 innings while making a start and a relief appearance over the final two games of the series. Rauch pitched a scoreless seventh inning to close out the contest.
Villanova will play a midweek road game at Penn this Wednesday at 4 pm before hosting a BIG EAST series versus Georgetown next weekend.