Villanova Looks to Add to Win Streak Versus Crosstown Rival Saint Joseph's

Wildcat Baseball Game Notes

Shortstop Brian Trotta

Shortstop Brian Trotta

March 18, 2003

Villanova baseball game notes for Tuesday's game featuring the Villanova Wildcats (3-8) playing the Saint Joseph's Hawks (1-8) at Drexel Field in Philadelphia, with first pitch scheduled for 3:00 p.m. Click on the pdf link below for the complete game notes.

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MARCH 18, 2003

3:00 P.M.




-Senior centerfielder Chris Graziano was named Co-Big East Player of the Week after batting .556 and stealing seven bases in three games last week.

-Sophomore right-hander Nick Allen struck out a career-high nine batters in seven innings at Maryland Eastern Shore to pick up his second win of the season.

-Junior third baseman Danny Poydenis, a first year Wildcat who transferred to Villanova from Brevard Community College, has made a big impact thus far batting .395 with two doubles, one triple, one home run and six RBI.

-First-year Wildcat Mitch Mitchell, a transfer from Oklahoma State, is leading the team in RBI with nine. The senior 1B/OF also has three doubles and one home run through 11 games.

-Junior left-handed reliever Mike Ciccotelli picked up his first career save on Sunday, March 16, at Maryland Eastern Shore.

-Senior pitcher Tom Kandybowicz moved into a tie for ninth place on the Villanova all-time wins list as her notched his 14th career victory on Saturday.


GRAZIANO NAMED CO-BIG EAST PLAYER OF THE WEEK: On Monday, March 17, Villanova senior centerfielder Chris Graziano was named Big East Conference Co-Player of the Week after leading the Wildcats to two victories in three games last week. Graziano was the offensive catalyst behind two Villanova wins this past weekend at Maryland Eastern Shore. In three games, he batted .556 (five-for-nine) with one double, five runs scored, two RBI, two hit by pitches, and was a perfect seven-for-seven in stolen base attempts. His on-base percentage for the week was .636, as the senior centerfielder reached base in seven of 11 plate appearances. In the first two games of the series against Maryland Eastern Shore, Graziano stole two bases in each contest. On Sunday, he stole three bases, each coming in the same inning. After a bunt single in the fifth inning, he stole second, third and home to manufacture his own run.

ALLEN SHARP VERSUS MARYLAND EASTERN SHORE: Wildcat pitcher Nick Allen was very impressive in his only start of the week on Sunday, March 16, at Maryland Eastern Shore. The sophomore right-hander picked up his second win of the season, allowing just two runs on five hits in seven innings, walking one and striking out a career-high nine batters. He threw 89 pitches in the contest, 60 of which were strikes.

MAKING AN IMPRESSION: Villanova junior third baseman Danny Poydenis, a transfer from Brevard Community College, has made quite an impression in the No. 2 spot in the batting order for the `Cats. Through the first 11 games of the 2003 season, Poydenis is batting .395 (15-for-38) with one double, one triple, one home run and six RBI. He has also been one of the team's top defensive players making a number of incredible plays at the hot corner. Another newcomer, senior 1B/OF Mitch Mitchell, has also made an tremendous impact thus far for the Wildcats. He is leading the team with nine RBI, in addition to recording three doubles and one home run. Mitchell transferred to Villanova from Oklahoma State following the 2002 season.

CICCOTELLI EARNS SAVE AS `CATS WIN SERIES: With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth, and Villanova leading Maryland Eastern Shore 8-3, junior left-hander Mike Ciccotelli came into the game and got Joel Maher to ground into the game-ending 1-2-3 double play. Ciccotelli earned the save for the `Cats, the first of his career, as Villanova held on for the 8-3 win and won the series two games to one against the Hawks. For the season, Ciccotelli has a team-best 1.80 ERA, allowing just one run on four hits in five innings, striking out five.

KANDYBOWICZ MOVING UP WIN LIST: Senior right-hander Tom Kandybowicz gave Villanova an outstanding start to pick up his first win of the season on Saturday at Maryland Eastern Shore. The Hawks offense was held in check by Kandybowicz all afternoon long, as he struck out five and allowed just one run in five innings to pick up the win. With the victory, the 14th of Kandybowiz's career, he moved into a tie for ninth place on the Villanova all-time career wins list.

RUSSELL HITS NCAA RECORD: Villanova senior pitcher James Russell set an NCAA record on Feb. 22 at UNLV. Unfortunately for the Wildcat right-hander, it was not his record of choice. Russell hit five Rebel batters in one inning to break the NCAA record for hit batters in an inning. His five hit batters in the eighth inning against UNLV broke the old NCAA mark of four held by Matt Cobb of Northern Iowa who hit four on April 11, 1999 against Iowa State, and Lucas Solomon who drilled four batters on March 9, 1997 versus Nevada.

RUNNING MAN: Senior centerfielder Chris Graziano, a 2003 Preseason All-Big East first team performer, ran into the Wildcat record books last season. Graziano had an outstanding junior campaign for the `Cats in 2002 batting .270 with 38 runs scored, nine doubles, four triples, 20 RBI and 38 stolen bases. His 38 stolen bases put him among the nation's top base stealers for the second consecutive season. Graziano broke his own Villanova single season stolen base record (37) last season set just one year earlier. In addition, he surpassed the all-time Wildcat career mark for stolen bases, stealing his 62nd career base on March 24 at St. John's to break Brian Fili's (1994-97) old record of 61. Through three-plus seasons, he already holds the Villanova career record for thefts with 91. Graziano's play has not gone unnoticed. In Baseball America's recent preseason predictions, the senior was voted to have the best tools in the Big East in three separate categories, including fastest runner, best baserunner, and best defensive outfielder.

PROSPEROUS PRESEASON FOR RUSSELL: Senior pitcher James Russell has had quite an off-season. The national spotlight shown brightly on Russell during the preseason, as the tall right-handed closer accumulated honor after honor. He was named a preseason first team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA), and also earned All-America accolades from Collegiate Baseball as a Louisville Slugger Preseason third team All-American. In addition, Russell was named to the Preseason All-Big East first team as well as to Baseball America's Preseason Big East All-Conference team. A native of Rochester, N.Y., Russell was named to the NCBWA All-America third team and the All-Big East second team last season. He led the Big East in saves in 2002 for both overall games (15) and conference games (8). Russell also finished the season tied for third in the nation in saves. He ended the 2002 campaign with a 2.33 ERA in 22 appearances, allowing just 12 runs (seven earned) on 25 hits in 27 innings pitched, striking out 35 and walking eight. Russell broke the single season Villanova save record in 2002, as well as setting a new Wildcat career mark.

WILDCAT WALK-ON WONDER: Junior OF/RHP Adrian Schau was not recruited to play baseball at Villanova University. He made the team as a walk-on as a freshman and has since developed into one of the Big East Conference's top all-around players. During his freshman season of 2001, Schau made a name for himself as a tough middle reliever out of the bullpen. One season later, he earned the starting nod in leftfield and continued to frustrate opponents with his pitching out of the pen. At the plate, Schau batted .310 with 11 doubles, seven home runs and 30 RBI. On the mound, he posted a 4-1 record with one save and a 3.00 ERA. In 21.0 innings of work, the native of Novato, Calif., gave up only 10 earned runs on 18 hits, striking out 26 and walking 11.

YEAGER'S MASTERY ON THE MOUND: Senior right-handed hurler John Yeager has been masterful on the mound for the Wildcats. In his last two seasons, Yeager has been the team's most consistent starting pitcher. As a sophomore in 2001, he led the team with seven wins, going 7-3 with a 4.55 ERA. One season later in 2002, Yeager continued his development into one of the Big East's best control pitchers. Despite battling injuries last season, he posted a 3-3 record and a 3.21 ERA. In 42.0 innings in 2002, Yeager struck out 24 batters and walked only seven. He led the Wildcats with two complete games and held the opposition scoreless in two of his seven starts. Yeager enters the 2003 season as Villanova's number one starter.

THE KANDY MAN CAN: Senior right-hander Tom Kandybowicz entered the Villanova starting weekend rotation as a freshman in 2000 and hasn't looked back since. Head Coach Joe Godri says of his senior that, "Tom possesses as much experience as any other pitcher in Villanova history coming into his senior season." The Massapequa, N.Y., native gets the tough pitching match-ups week in and week out and gives the Wildcats a chance to win every time he takes the mound.

ALLEN TOWN: As a freshman in 2002, Nick Allen led the Villanova team in victories with six and went on to earn Louisville Slugger Freshmen All-America honorable mention by Collegiate Baseball. The young right-hander finished the year 6-1 with a 5.28 ERA, striking out 31 batters in 46 innings. Allen came to Villanova as a highly touted high school pitcher out of Green Lane, Pa., and Boyertown Area High School. During his high school career, he went 16-4 with a microscopic 0.75 ERA. With his early success for Villanova last season combined with injuries to the pitching staff, Allen moved into the weekend rotation for a time and showed tremendous promise.

TRANSFERS BRING ADDED BATS TO `CATS: With the graduation of sluggers Rob Cafiero and Brendan Mannix who combined for 33 doubles, 24 home runs, and 89 RBI last season, the Wildcats were in need of some added offense. Enter Mitch Mitchell and Danny Poydenis. Mitchell came to Villanova from Oklahoma State where he batted .273 (12-for-44) with two doubles, one home run and six RBI in 2002 and helped lead the Cowboys to a 37-21 overall record. He will be Villanova's primary designated hitter, but will also see time in the outfield and at third base. Poydenis joins the Wildcats after transferring from Brevard Community College in Florida where he put up outstanding numbers as a sophomore last season despite missing 16 games due to a wrist injury. He batted .384 with 23 stolen bases and a .500 on-base percentage in 2002. In addition to a starting role at third base, Poydenis will add depth at second base as well.

ALL IN THE FAMILY: Freshman first baseman Freddie Thon has quite the family history in baseball. His uncle, Dickie Thon, played 15 years in the Major Leagues for the Angels, Astros, Padres, Phillies, Rangers, and Brewers. His father, Frankie, is a scout for the Astros and a former pro player. Hailing from Guaynabo, P.R., Freddie was drafted in the 43rd round of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft by the Houston Astros but bypassed the professional ranks to come to Villanova. Thon has already begun to draw attention as he was named Big East Preseason Freshman of the Year by Baseball America and was listed among the Top 50 freshmen in the nation by Baseball America. He possesses tremendous power potential and appears ready to make an immediate impact for the 'Cats in the middle of the lineup.

HOME SWEET HOME: The Villanova baseball program will have a new home beginning this season as its brand-new baseball complex in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., will give the Wildcats one of the finest facilities in the Big East Conference. The Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth Community Center is located just off Germantown Pike within Plymouth Township, Pa. The Villanova baseball program had been playing its home games at Richie Ashburn Field in Philadelphia since 1998 when the Wildcats' field on campus was leveled to make room for new residence halls. Villanova's new field in Plymouth is approximately seven miles from the Villanova campus. The field dimensions are 320 down each of the lines, 370 to the gaps and 400 to straight-away center. The field contains a blue grass infield and an outfield made from a Pennsylvania rye blend.

MIDDLE MEN: Juniors Adrian Schau and Dan Farino, teammates and roommates, give the Wildcats a tremendous one-two punch out of the bullpen. Last season the two appeared in 17 games apiece and combined for over 55 innings pitched. Schau was 4-1 with one save and a 3.00 ERA, while Farino posted a 2-2 record with an ERA of 3.41. Farino started three games early in the season but found his niche as a middle reliever for the `Cats. Schau is an everyday starter for Villanova in leftfield in addition to his pitching duties out of the bullpen.

BIG SHOES TO FILL: The 2003 Wildcats must make up for some big losses, as four players from last season's squad went on to pitch at the next level. Villanova lost two weekend starters from last season in Brian Slocum and Bob Grzenda. Slocum, a junior in 2002, was drafted in the second round of the 2002 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft by the Cleveland Indians, while Grzenda played professional baseball for Regensburg Legionaere of the German Professional Baseball League. The Wildcats will also have to overcome two huge losses at the corner positions with the graduation of first baseman Rob Cafiero and third baseman Brendan Mannix. Both had tremendous senior campaigns combining for 33 doubles, 24 home runs, and 89 RBI, and each went on to play at the next level with Cafiero getting drafted in the 32nd round by the Philadelphia Phillies and Mannix signing a free agent contract with the New York Mets.

CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK: Villanova catcher Greg Fater is walking in his father's footstops. A graduate student and second year starter for the Wildcats, Fater is a second generation Villanova catcher. His father, Greg Sr., caught for the `Cats between 1969-72. The younger Fater, a Wildcat team captain, had his best season at Villanova in 2002. He started in 30 of the 37 games in which he played batting .277 (26-for-94) with 16 runs scored, and posting three doubles, one triple and 11 RBI. Fater had six multi-hit games and two three-hit games last season.

THE HIT DOCTOR: Villanova assistant coach and hitting instructor Doc Kennedy is no stranger to developing baseball talent. A well known baseball mentor in the area, Kennedy came to Villanova from Phoenixville High School in Phoenixville, Pa., where he was the head varsity baseball coach for 20 years and taught for 35 years. During his tenure at Phoenixville, he helped lead the baseball team to six league championships and three district titles. Nine players were drafted during his tenure, including current Mets' catcher Mike Piazza. Kennedy possesses a wealth of baseball experience. In addition to his duties at Villanova, he has also spent the last three summers coaching the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod League.

RECRUITING CLASS RANKED AMONG NATION'S BEST: Collegiate Baseball Newspaper announced its annual compilation of the top recruiting classes across the USA. The Villanova baseball team and second year head coach Joe Godri's 2002 recruiting class was ranked among the top 75 classes in the nation at No. 61. "Having a national publication recognize back-to-back recruiting classes is a big step for our baseball program here at Villanova," said head coach Joe Godri. "We will use this as another building block for our program to help re-establish Villanova as a Big East baseball power. Our class is ranked above 11 NCAA Regional teams from 2002 and third is the Big East, which is a big statement for our program's recruiting efforts." Godri's 2002 class includes eight freshmen: Jim Gillin, Jake Wolff, Freddie Thon, Thomas Rinaldi, Darren Griffith, Nick Castelli, Ted Aust, and Omar Saade. Villanova's 2002 recruiting class also includes two outstanding transfer players in Danny Poydenis from Brevard Community College and Mitch Mitchell from Oklahoma State.

`NOVA PICKED NINTH IN BIG EAST: The Villanova baseball team was picked to finish ninth in the 2003 Preseason Big East Conference Standings. The Wildcats, who finished 30-23 overall and 12-13 in the Big East last season, received 29 points in the 2003 Preseason Standings just 13 behind eighth place Pittsburgh. The poll, along with the Preseason All-Big East squad, was voted upon by the league's head coaches.

Preseason Big East Standings
Team	Points	2002 Record
1 Notre Dame (9)	98	50-18 (18-8 BIG EAST)
2 Virginia Tech (1)	85	33-26 (18-8)
3 Boston College (1)	80	30-25 (15-11)
4 Rutgers	75	35-22 (15-11)
5  John's 	58	29-23 (14-12)
6 Seton Hall	55	25-28 (11-15)
7 Connecticut	44	28-22 (13-12)
8 Pittsburgh	42	36-16-1 (14-11)
9 Villanova	29	30-23 (12-13)
10 West Virginia	27	24-26 (9-16)
11 Georgetown	12	9-47 (2-24)

`CATS INK EIGHT DURING EARLY SIGNING PERIOD: Villanova University head baseball coach Joe Godri announced the signing of eight players to national letters of intent during the NCAA's early signing period. These eight players - Alex Bardeguez, Chris Cancro, Nate Hall, Billy Hoffman, James Ladio, Mike Loree, Kevin Mulvey, and Andy Wendle - will join the Wildcats as part of Godri's 2004 recruiting class. "I feel that we really solidified our pitching staff with this group of players and they should make an immediate on the mound next season and for seasons to come," added Godri about the Wildcats' signings. "Over time, I feel that they will develop into pro prospects. Our position players address some of our immediate needs and should aid greatly in improving our overall depth as a ball club. The talent that we brought in this season should increase the overall quality of the Wildcat baseball program and help us to continue to move forward in the Big East Conference."

Name	Pos.	B/T	Ht./Wt.	Hometown/HS
Alex Bardeguez	IF	S/R	6-1/190	Coram, N.Y./ Longwood
Chris Cancro	OF/1B	L/L	6-0/195	Clark, N.J./ Seton Hall Prep
Nate Hall	RHP	R/R	5-10/180	Longmont, Colo./ Skyline
Billy Hoffman	RHP	R/R	6-0/170	Poughkeepsie, N.Y./ Our Lady Lourdes
James Ladio	IF/OF	R/R	6-4/200	Wilmington, Del./ Concord
Mike Loree	RHP	R/R	6-6/215	Gillette, N.J./ Delbarton
Kevin Mulvey	RHP	R/R	6-1/185	Parlin, N.J./ Bishop George Ahr
Andy Wendle	C	R/R	6-2/195	Lincoln University, Pa./ Avon Grove

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