Coming off of two wins against Delaware last Wednesday, Villanova softball carried its momentum into its Big East doubleheader at home against Providence. The ‘Cats swept the Friars with a 6-1 win in game one and a 2-0 shutout in game two.
The Wildcats showed off their offensive power in the first game, led by senior Paige Rauch and junior Ryan Henry, who each hit a home run. The pitching for the ‘Cats was impressive in both games with Rauch pitching seven innings and allowing one run in the first game, followed by senior Anissa Amarillas pitching a seven-inning shutout in the second.
The scoring run started early for the ‘Cats in game one with a 3-0 lead after one inning. A lead-off single by Rauch followed by a double down the line by senior Angela Gaimpolo brought in the first run for the Wildcats.
The other two runs were brought in by a single from sophomore Chloe Smith to advance the runs and a sacrifice fly from senior Julia DaCosta to send the runners home.
The Friars responded in the top of the second inning, scoring their only run of the game on a one-run homer from junior Jessica Tomaso.
The Wildcats scored their next run in the bottom of the third behind two doubles from DaCosta and freshman Tess Cites to stretch the lead to 4-1.
Henry’s solo home run came in the bottom of the fifth to extend the lead even more to 5-1 entering the sixth inning.
Rauch’s dominant pitching performance shined through. She retired 11 consecutive batters after the Tomaso home run in the second, before walking a batter in the top of the sixth. Rauch did not waiver after the walk, retiring the next two batters to hold the 5-1 lead heading into the bottom of the inning.
Rauch made it 6-1 in the bottom of the sixth with her solo blast over the right field wall. This was Rauch’s sixth home-run of the season and 36th of her career. Rauch became the all-time home run leader in Villanova history when she notched her 35th home run on April 7 against UPenn. Rauch will continue to add to this record and stretch her total for the remainder of the season.
Providence was able to load the bases in the bottom of the seventh inning, but Rauch forced a fly-ball to center field, caught by junior Sydney Hayes, who then launched the ball home to Henry who tagged out the Friar’s runner to end the game.
Game two started slow for both teams with just two hits combined over the first two and a half innings.
The Wildcats ended the scoring drought in the bottom of the third with a lead off triple from Rauch. Smith came in clutch with a two-out RBI single to bring Rauch home and give the ‘Cats a 1-0 lead.
Amarillas rolled through the Providence batters in the fourth and fifth innings, allowing just one base-runner as the result of a Wildcat error. The Friars got one base runner in the sixth on a two-out single, but Amarillas was able to strike out the side and hold the 1-0 lead entering the bottom of the sixth.
Smith opened up the bottom of the sixth with a shot to left field, aided by the bright sun in the eyes of the Friar’s outfielder, which fell for a triple. DaCosta followed this up with an RBI double off the wall to give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead.
The Friars were unable to overcome Amarillas and the rest of the ‘Cats defense in the top of the seventh, allowing the Wildcats to end the game on an infield ground-out grabbed by sophomore first-basemen Victoria Sebastien.
The Wildcats will face Delaware State on Wednesday, April 21 in a doubleheader on the road.