VILLANOVA, Pa. – An all-around team effort lifted the Villanova Wildcats to a final score of 8-4 against the Iona Gaels on Friday night to open the series.
Senior midfielder AJ Hansen smashed a leadoff solo home run over the left wall in the bottom of the first to put the ‘Cats on the board. Graduate third baseman Steve Grober had a good day on the plate 2v4 with two hits, one run and two runners coming into play.
Entering the game for starters Chic DeGaetano was Luke Dziados. The seniors carry 2.1 innings allowing only one run while hitting one and earning the day’s win. The standout pitcher of the game was Stefan Turzai, Franklin & Marshall’s Graduate Transfer. Turzai came in to end the game for the final 2.2 innings. He had five punchouts and didn’t allow any hits or runs throughout his time on the mound. Turzai fanned out the game’s final three straight batters to end the win for the ‘Cats.
The Gaels hit blood first to start the game with two men, Jake Field had a powerful strike down the middle to score the game’s first run. Villanova made it through a practiced double play from the front. A leadoff homer by Hansen got things going, allowing the Wildcats to level at 1-1 by the end of the first game.
Iona responded with Luca Lotito’s own home run to start the second inning. Iona extended her lead to 3-1 with a single from Anthony Zollo to right center to score second-place Josiah Ragsdale. Villanova managed to get two runners into scoring position, but they went without runs at the end of the inning.
With nothing down the line for the Gaels at the head of the third, Villanova had a chance to win the game back. First Base Player Jack O’Reilly sporadically to the right center to get on with an out. short stop Craig Larsen reached first place by fielder’s choice and O’Reilly was safe in second due to a second baseman field error. John Whooley, the designated batsman, walked to charge the bases. The Gaels starting pitcher Teo Torrado scored Shane Solari at the pitch to bring O’Reilly home. Grober hit a big single through the right side to hit both Larsen and Whooley and take the 4-3 lead. catcher Will Reiner went too and Solari scored a four on the wild bad luck ball. Torrado was replaced by Loncey Conyers, who went three straight batters for the ‘Cats to take a 7-3 lead against the Gaels to end the third.
After a great third innings for the Wildcats, the Gaels were able to cut the lead to a 7-4 game when Jayson Gonzalez hit a sacrificial fly to left field to hit Anthony Febo. Villanova was kept scoreless by new pitcher Michael Lorenzetti, who came on for Conyers to pick Iona out of the third innings. Lorenzetti pitched for 2.1 innings and hit three ‘Cats during his time on the mound.
Both Villanova and Iona remained scoreless until the end of game eight when Solari hit a deep sacrificial flight into midfield to find Larsen in the game to extend the Wildcats’ lead to a comfortable 8-4. Turzai finished the game 1-2-3 and the ‘Cats earned their third win of the season.
“I thought we took the opportunities we had on offense. Um, I liked how the bullpen came in and threw strikes. I liked how the bullpen competed, especially Steven Turzai who came in and shut the door for us. I thought he did a phenomenal job,” said the head coach Kevin Mulvey. “It was a great team win. Good start to the weekend, two games left. I’m looking forward to it on Sunday.”
NEXT: The ‘Cats return for a doubleheader to wrap up the series against Iona on Sunday, Match 26. Game one, first pitch scheduled for 12 p.m. Streaming will be available on FloSports.
“I felt great. Uh, lots of credit Will Reiner also behind the plate. And Coach Weaver did a great job calling pitches and, uh, all three of us ran together, and, uh, the defense was good behind me. Clutch, double play when I walked in. So, whole team effort and, uh, hopefully you can get two more this weekend. “#28 Stefan Turzai (Jug)
“First on the shot felt good. I was looking for a good pitch to hit early in the count, he gave me one and I put a good swing on it. I wish we had a better day overall offensively, but we keep working and getting better every day.” #1 AJ Hansen (Midfield player)