It had been 42 years since the Wildcats saw two different players hit two home runs in the same game. Kathie Beisel and PJ Beatty did it on April 21, 1980 in a 22-4 win over Penn State-Ogontz and stood alone in the Villanova record book until Rauch and Giampolo mashed their way through Quakers pitching in Wednesday’s contest. The game in 1980 was the first time that the Wildcats ever hit five home runs as a team in one game; since then, the feat has been matched in 2017 against Seton Hall and in 2020 against Oakland.
The first home runs of the day for Rauch and Giampolo came with one out in the top of the first inning as Villanova raced out to a 4-0 lead. Rauch hit a solo shot to straightaway center field and Giampolo clubbed a three-run shot to left-center to set the tone for the day. Freshman starting pitcher Kelsey White (Taunton, Mass.) doubled to the gap in right-center field and senior shortstop Megan Kern (Royersford, Pa.) singled ahead of Giampolo’s three-run shot which was the only one of the five home runs that came with runners on base.
Penn got on the board with an unearned run in the bottom of the third inning but Giampolo immediately got that run back when she led off the fourth inning with a home run over the left field fence. It is Giampolo’s first career multi-homer game and she becomes the 24thth player in school history to hit at least two home runs in a game. In the top of the seventh inning, Franz and Rauch went back-to-back as the Wildcats scored their final two runs of the game. The last Villanova teammates to hit back-to-back home runs were Julia DaCosta and current senior catcher Ryan Henry (Ramsey, NJ) who did so last season against St. John’s on April 24, 2021.
The only Wildcats run that did not score on a home run was in the top of the fifth inning when Rauch tripled with one out and scored on Kern’s sacrifice fly to center. Rauch is the first Villanova player since current junior Ally Jones (Brielle, NJ) last season to have two home runs and a triple in the same game. It is the fourth time in school history that a player has amassed 11 total bases in a single game.
Wednesday’s victory improved the Wildcats record in the all-time series against Penn to 44-23-2, including 21-12-1 in road games during the series. The history between the teams dates back to Villanova’s inaugural varsity season in 1977.
Three pitchers combined on a five-hitter in the circle. White got the start and gave up just an unearned run over three innings while striking out four. Sophomore Caroline Pellicano (Norristown, Pa.) pitched two scoreless innings of relief and Rauch took over for the final two frames during which she struck out four while giving up an unearned run on two hits.
Villanova and Penn each partner with Team IMPACT and welcomed their respective matches Addie (Villanova) and Charlie (Penn) to the field for the game. Team IMPACT is a national nonprofit organization that pairs children with serious illnesses or disabilities with collegiate athletic teams in their local communities to help them tackle emotional trauma and social isolation experienced because of their medical diagnosis.
In December 2021, Villanova Athletics has a formal two-year partnership with Team IMPACT to strengthen existing programming, add new matches, and maintain the current level of support to help Team IMPACT achieve its mission and goals. Villanova University Vice President and Director of Athletics leads the Team IMPACT Athletics Advisory Board.