The Sycamores got a huge boost from senior starter Michael Manus (1-0), who pitched six and two-thirds innings of scoreless baseball to pick up the win. Manus gave up just four hits while striking out nine batters and walking just three. David Gurbach also threw well in relief for the Sycamores, as he allowed no hits while striking out two batters in an inning and a third of work.
“We had a great team effort today and that led to success,” said head coach Lindsay Meggs. “Michael pitched extremely well in his second start of the season and gave us a chance on the mound. From there, we got some timely hitting and played solid defense to get a strong win against a quality opponent in Villanova.”
ISU tacked on three runs in the second inning to take a 3-0 lead. Brian Jett scored the biggest blow in the inning, as he launched his second home run of the season to put the Sycamores up 2-0 early. Later in the inning Brady Shoemaker doubled and then scored on a throwing error as Villanova’s third baseman attempted to throw out Luke Fieser on a grounder.
After a goose egg in the bottom half of the inning for the Wildcats, the Sycamores tacked on three more runs in the top of the third inning. Pascual Del Real, Nick Ciolli and Shoemaker each singled to load the bases to start the inning. Catcher Tyler Graham was up next and ripped a single of his own to plate Del Real and Ciolli as Shoemaker advanced to third. Fieser would come up later in the inning and score Shoemaker on a fielder’s choice ground out to make the score 6-0.
Both teams went cold at the plate until the seventh inning, when the Sycamores added three more runs to take a 9-0 lead. Del Real was hit by a pitch to start the inning and later advanced to second base on a balk. With one out, Shoemaker walked and Graham doubled which scored Del Real to make the score 7-0 and leaving ISU with runners on second and third. Fieser then added a sacrifice fly which scored Shoemaker from third base to make the score 8-0 as Graham advanced to third. Graham ended the three-run inning as he scored on a wild pitch to make the score innings of play.
The Wildcats tacked on three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to cut the ISU lead to 9-3, but the late inning rally was not enough. With the win, ISU is off to its best since the 1995 season when the Sycamores started the year 8-1.
ISU returns to action tomorrow for a Saturday double header at the Palm Beach Classic. Game one will start at , with ISU taking on Mount St. Mary’s. Following the completion of that game, the Sycamores will re-take the field at approximately against St. Bonaventure.