The 2016 season began the much the same way the 2015 came to a close for Villanova. The Wildcats ventured out on the road and were prompty sent home following losses of 13-1, 4-0 and 10-3 against a nationally ranked Houston unit. They have now lost six-straight games dating back to last season when it was swept in the final series of the campaign against Creighton.
For a team that is looking to finish at .500 for the first time since 2012, the Wildcats are not off to the greatest of starts. In fact, there really isn't much further they could have fallen during the season's opening weekend. It is also worth mentioning that by digging themselves an 0-3 hole, the Wildcats already have to start climbing quickly in order to have a winning record at any point this season, something they have failed to do in each of the last three swings through the schedule.
Doom and gloom surround this team right now, but there are a few slight silver linings. Silver might be too bright, actually. Let's call them copper linings or bronze. I'll let you decide.
First, Todd Czinege raked in the first three games. Scratch that, he raked in one game. He went 4-for-10 with a home run, two RBI and nine total bases for the weekend, but pretty much all of that production came in the series finale when the second-baseman went 4-for-4 with a home run, two runs and two rib-eyes.
Ryan Doty was the only pitcher that found any level of sucess during the weekend. He had his pitches working and did a good job avoiding Houston's bats. He threw five innings of five-hit ball, allowing three runs while striking out nine. After giving up two hits and two runs in the first, he settled down and mowed down eight-straight batters before getting into some trouble in the fourth. He tip-toed out of danger that inning, but lasted just one more.
Where to begin?
Villanova's offense was anemic. Doty was tagged with the loss on Saturday because the team mustered one hit all afternoon, coming on a third-inning single from Emmanuel Morris. Through three games, Villanova is batting .140 as a team, while striking out 26 times and collecting six walks. Left fielder Adam Goss is hitless in a team-high 12 at-bats and shortstop Eric Lowe has one hit in 11 tries. Not a great showing for the table-setters at the top of the lineup.
Even though Doty did alright, the rest of his pitching friends were nowhere near the word alright, aside from Jonathan Rosero, who struck out four batters and pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings of relief. Making the start on Friday, Hunter Schryver got yanked after 3 1/3 innings in which he gave up six runs, four earned, and allowed six hits. On Sunday, Mike Sgaramella was lit up for six runs as well, but he lasted just 2 2/3 innings. In all, manager Joe Godri used 12 pitchers during the three-game series. The dozen arms was only good for an 8.62 ERA.
Kevin Jewitt and Lowe did little to help the staff, turning the left side of the infield into a sieve. Jewitt comitted three errors during the weekend at the hot corner and Lowe booted two chances. When pitchers aren't missing bats, you can't let the ball start missing gloves.
Villanova will continue its long road trip to start the season, as it takes part in the Snowbird Baseball Classic in Port Charlotte, Florida this weekend. The Wildcats will clash with Chicago State, Dartmouth, Boston College and Indiana State during the four-day event. Hopefully a few of those games will lead to wins or else its going to be a long spring in Plymouth Meeting.