Villanova scored three times in the top of the 10th inning to earn a 13-10 win over a game Norfolk State squad in the final contest of the Spartan Classic on Sunday afternoon at Marty L. Miller Field.
Villanova (2-4) never trailed, yet had to survive a pair of four-inning outbursts from a Spartan (1-5) team that had a flair for the dramatic all weekend.
The Wildcats led 5-0 early, capitalizing on some control issues from NSU’s pitching staff. The Spartan offense, meanwhile, didn’t get its first hit off hard-throwing VU starter J.B. Kole until Ross Cardwell’s one-out single in the fourth.
Trailing 6-1 entering the bottom of the fifth, NSU scored four times to chase Kole from the game. Denathan Dukes and Andre’ Moore walked, then Justin Lee reached on an infield single to load the bases. Robert Barefoot knocked in a run with a fielder’s choice, then Moore scored on a wild pitch to make it 6-3.
Cameron Day then hit a long RBI double to right, and Cardwell’s RBI groundout brought NSU to within 6-5.
The Wildcats scored three more times in their next four frames, though, and led 10-6 entering the bottom of the ninth. As they did in Saturday’s win over Quinnipiac, NSU had a ninth-inning rally up its sleeve. Zach Markel walked to start the frame and Day singled. Markel eventually scored on Justin Burrell’s RBI groundout, making it 10-7.
Strenn coaxed a walk from Wildcats’ reliever John Courter, and Dukes followed with a run-scoring single to make it 10-8. Pinch hitter Tyon Ore then singled on the first pitch he saw from Courter to load the bases. Lee followed with the biggest hit of the game, lining an 0-1 pitch from Courter through the middle to score Strenn and Dukes with the tying runs.
NSU had a chance to finish off the Wildcats in the ninth, but VU reliever Matt Lengel struck out Markel with the bases loaded to end the inning.
Villanova then pieced together a rally of its own in the 10th. Kevin Jewitt singled off NSU reliever Stephen Butt, the sixth Spartan pitcher of the day. Jewitt took second on a stolen base and third on a wild pitch before scoring the go-ahead run on Todd Czinege’s single through a drawn-in infield. Kevin Rojko added an pinch-hit RBI single on a hit-and-run, and pinch runner Derrick May scored on passed ball.
Lengel then retired NSU in order in the 10th to finish it.
Czinege was 2-for-4 with four RBI, and both Jewitt and Max Beerman had three hits each for Villanova. Lengel earned the win with 1.1 scoreless innings of relief.
Day was 3-for-5 and Lee was 2-for-5 for NSU. Both drove in a pair of runs. Markel and Barefoot scored two runs each. Butt (0-1) took the loss, allowing three hits and three runs, two earned, in one inning of work.
NSU returns to action at Duke on Wednesday at 4 p.m. in Durham, N.C.