Entering the day with a 10-game winning streak, the Villanova Softball team extended it to 11 games with a win in a doubleheader against UMBC. The Wildcats won the first game, 12-2 but struggled to carry the momentum into the second game, with UMBC winning 5-2.
The ‘Cats were led by freshman right-fielder Tess Cites in the victory. Cites hit two home runs in the game, including a two-run shot in the top of the third, followed by a grand slam in the fourth inning. This is the 30th time a Wildcat has recorded a multi-homer game in school history and the third time this season, the other two coming from senior Paige Rauch and junior Ryan Henry.
The ‘Cats led the whole game, but the real power was on display in the fourth inning when the Wildcats scored six runs with two outs, including Cites’ grand slam and an RBI single from sophomore Dani Dobroski.
Cites was not the only Wildcat to go deep in the game. Sophomore third basemen Chloe Smith opened the game with a three-run homer to give Villanova a 3-0 lead in the first inning.
Villanova benefited greatly from the depth of its lineup, with the bottom four batters combining for 8-11 hitting with six runs scored and seven runs batted in.
Dobroksi, batting in the ninth spot, finished the game 2-3 with a double, run scored and an RBI. Sophomore catcher Ally Jones, batting sixth, went 2-2 with two singles, a walk and two runs scored in the fourth during the ‘Cat’s six-run scoring burst.
Rauch finished the game with seven strikeouts and zero walks, improving her record to 8-2 on the season in her seventh complete game.
With the win in the first game, the Wildcats tied the third longest streak in program history with 11 straight victories. The other two longest streaks came in a 17-game stretch in 2016 and 21 consecutive wins in 2001.
The second game got off to a slow start with neither team scoring until the top of the third inning. UMBC started its star pitcher, Courtney Coppersmith (7-1, 0.78 ERA) who led the nation in ERA last year. Coppersmith gave up six walks in the first four innings, giving the ‘Cats opportunities to score and allowing them to have a 2-0 advantage in the bottom of the fifth inning.
UMBC scored three runs in the fifth inning on a throwing error by Villanova, taking a 3-2 lead. Senior pitcher Anissa Amarillas got the ‘Cats out of the inning, but the ‘Cats were unable to score in the sixth, leaving the score at 3-2.
Amarillas finished the game allowing two earned runs and tallying seven strikeouts, just one short of her career high. This loss gives Amarillas her first loss on the season, falling to a record of just 2-1.
UMBC hit a lead-off single followed by a two-run blast in the bottom of the sixth to take a 5-2 lead. Amarillas was replaced by freshman pitcher Caroline Pellicano, who closed out the inning with three straight outs. This was Pellicano’s fourth straight relief inning without allowing a run.
The ‘Cats finished the game with just two hits against Coppersmith coming from Cites and Smith. Rauch was able to reach base twice on a walk and a hit-by-pitch, but the ‘Cats struggled to get an offensive groove facing the power of Coppersmith. The ‘Cats scored their two runs on a throwing error and a pass ball.
Villanova is set to play its next game on Tuesday April 6, with a home doubleheader against the Delaware State Hornets.