March 13, 2009
NORRISTOWN, Pa. - The Saint Joseph's baseball team jumped ahead early on Friday afternoon against Saint Peter's and weathered two ties before a ninth-inning single from Dewey Oriente gave the Hawks a 7-6 victory in their first game this season at Latshaw-McCarthy Field.
Saint Joseph's (3-8) has now won two games in a row. Saint Peter's fell to 2-11.
The Hawks got on the board in the first inning with a pair of runs. With two outs and runners on second and third, Drew Smith hit a ground ball that was mishandled by SPC starter Andrew Costello, allowing Matt Barnathan to score. Oriente then singled home Ryan McDonald to extend the lead to 2-0.
The next batter was Mike Blahusch, who was hit by a pitch for the 26th time in his career, setting a new Saint Joseph's record. He also had a pair of base hits on the day, giving him 99 for his career.
SJU added three runs in the second after Barnathan and McDonald drew walks to set up David Valesente, who hit a rocket over the left field fence for his first home run of the season and a 5-0 Saint Joseph's advantage.
Saint Peter's would finally get on the board in the sixth, scoring an unearned run on an error by Valesente. The Peacocks would plate four more in the top of the seventh, including three on a dropped fly ball by Mike Plakis with two outs and the bases loaded.
The Hawks did not dwell on the turn of fortune, however, and Plakis make amends for his error by hitting a sacrifice fly to left to score Oriente and give SJU a one-run lead, 6-5.
Unfortunately, that lead did not hold up either as SPC catcher John Lynch ripped a single through a drawn-in SJU infield with one out in the ninth to knot the contest at six. Chris Hildreth (1-0) came in from the bullpen to get the final two outs of the inning and keep the game tied.
Smith led off the bottom of the ninth inning by ripping a double down the right field line. Oriente then came to the plate and sent the second pitch from Anthony DeLeo (0-2) back through the infield and into center, allowing Smith to come around with the winning run.
Senior starter Chris Prescott had a strong performance, throwing six-plus innings and allowing just two runs, one earned. He gave up a single in the first and did not cede another hit until the sixth inning. Oriente led the Hawk offense with three hits, a run scored and a pair of runs batted in, including the game-winner.
Saint Joseph's will host Manhattan on Saturday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. at Latshaw-McCarthy Field. Gametracker will be available at www.sjuhawks.com.