Last week, the 11-7 Villanova Softball team played a two-game series at home against the 10-6 Saint Joseph Hawks. The ‘Cats got the series sweep, 8-1 and 7-1, improving their record to 13-7 and giving them a 10-game winning streak, its largest winning streak since 2016.
In game one of the series, the Hawks got off to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Sarah Ostaszewski, who scored for Saint Joseph’s, got walked earlier in the inning by Villanova’s senior starting pitcher Paige Rauch. Ostaszewski stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by sophomore catcher Ally Jones. An RBI single scored Ostaszewski, but that run would go unearned for Rauch due to the throwing error by Jones.
In the bottom of the first, the ‘Cats responded with a leadoff home run by senior Angela Giampolo, her first home run of the season. Later in the inning, sophomore Chloe Smith walked, senior Julia DaCosta singled and Jones walked, loading the bases for the ‘Cats with two outs. Freshman Brooklyn Ostrowski then walked, scoring Smith and giving Nova a 2-1 lead.
The ‘Cats added onto their lead in the bottom of the second, with Smith grounding into a fielder’s choice scoring sophomore Dani Dabroski from third. With Smith on base, DaCosta hit a two-run home run, her third home run of the season, giving the ‘Cats a 5-1 lead.
The next three innings went scoreless, but in the bottom of the sixth, the ‘Cats once again extended their lead. With one out, Giampolo singled and Rauch singled, giving Nova runners on first and second. Smith then singled, scoring Giampolo, and with Smith advancing to second on a throw attempting to get a Wildcat out, Villanova had runners on second and third with only one out. The next batter, junior Ryan Henry, hit a single, scoring both Rauch and Smith and giving the ‘Cats an 8-1 lead.
Rauch pitched six innings, gave up one unearned run, struck out 12, had two hits and scored two runs. Henry had two hits, four RBIs and scored one run.
Villanova had 12 hits (two home runs), drew four walks, struck out 13 batters and had one error.
Game two of the series had senior Anissa Amarillas on the mound for the Wildcats.
In the bottom of the second with the game tied at zero, junior Sydney Hayes reached on a walk and stole second, and sophomore Victoria Sebastian walked, giving the ‘Cats runners on first and second with no outs. Dabroski then stepped to the plate and hit a single, scoring Hayes. Later in the inning, with two outs, Smith hit a single, scoring Sebastian and giving the Wildcats a 2-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth with two outs, Giampolo hit a solo home run, her second home run of the season, putting Nova up 3-0. Rauch and Smith then singled, putting Rauch on third and Smith on first. Smith stole second, and a two-run single by Henry extended Nova’s lead to 5-0.
The Hawks got on the board in the top of the fifth with a one-run triple by Ostaszewski, cutting Villanova’s lead to 5-1.
In the bottom of the sixth, the ‘Cats got some insurance runs. Giampolo walked to lead off the inning, and Rauch doubled, scoring Giampolo. Rauch advanced to third on a throw attempting to get Giampolo out. The next batter, Smith, singled, scoring Rauch and giving the ‘Cats a 7-1 lead. That score would go on to be the final as Villanova got the series sweep against Saint Joseph's.
Amarillas pitched five innings, giving up one run and striking out one batter. Smith had three hits, two RBIs and scored one run.
Villanova had 10 hits (including one double and one home run), drew five walks, struck out one batter and had one error.
The Wildcats’ next series is on Tuesday, April 6, a double-header at home against 8-6 Delaware State, which hits .247 as a team, and its opponents hit .310.