April 29, 2009
NEWARK, N.J. - The Saint Joseph's baseball team dropped its final non-conference game on Wednesday, falling to NJIT by a 10-7 score at Riverfront Stadium. The top of the Hawk order was 6-for-12 with six runs scored and five RBI, but it wasn't enough as the Highlanders scored all 10 of their runs in the middle three innings.
The game was scoreless until the fourth inning, when Saint Joseph's (14-23-1) opened things up with a pair of runs. Phil Pursino was hit by a pitch to start the inning and moved to third when David Valesente doubled to right. A Dewey Oriente RBI groundout scored Pursino before Valesente scored on a fly ball by Ryan Kemp that was dropped by right fielder Jeffrey Pizzi.
NJIT (4-25) tied things up in the bottom half of the frame on a pair of fielder's choices. SJU went back on top in the fifth as Mike Coleman singled, stole second, and scored on a double by Mike Plakis to nose the Hawks ahead. Pursino followed with a single to bring home Plakis and extend the lead to 4-2.
The lead would be short-lived, however, as the Highlanders posted a five-spot in the bottom of the fifth. Doug DiSandro (0-2) walked the bases loaded with one out before being replaced by Adam Rivera. After a sacrifice fly closed the gap to one and a walk re-loaded the bases, Kyle McCarthy cleared them with a triple down the right field line to put NJIT on top for the first time, 6-4. McCarthy would then come in to score on a passed ball to NJIT up by three.
The Highlanders would add three more in the bottom of the sixth on a bases loaded hit by pitch and a double to left by Vincent Del Vecchio to push the margin to 10-4.
The Hawks cut the deficit in half in the top of the eighth as Valesente sent an 0-1 pitch over the left field wall to score Plakis and Pursino.
Ryan McDonald pinch hit and led off the top of the ninth with a double, but he would not advance any further as NJIT's P.J. Saporito finished his complete game by inducing a pop up from Pursino.
Saporito gave up seven runs, all of them earned, on 12 hits while striking out eight to improve to 3-6 on the season. Bryan Penalo got the start for Saint Joseph's, going 3.2 innings and giving up two runs on two hits. The sophomore started off strong, striking out five of the first six hitters of the game; four of those were on called third strikes.
Saint Joseph's returns to conference action on Friday as the Hawks will begin a weekend series at Xavier. First pitch in Cincinnati is set for 3:00 p.m. Live stats will be available via Gametracker at SJUHawks.com.