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Hawk Diamondmen Improve in First Season Under Pender
Courtesy: SJU Athletic Communications  
Release:  08/05/2005

Aug. 1, 2005

PHILADELPHIA - The arrival of head coach Shawn Pender and his staff established a new direction for the Saint Joseph's baseball program in 2005. His no-nonsense approach to fundamentals and pro-style mindset were a welcome addition and made an immediate impact on an inexperienced Hawk squad. The team displayed steady improvement throughout the season and layed the foundation for future success.

While the team regularly field a lineup with just three upperclassmen, seniors Nick Baldasari, Al Braun and Ryan Hoagey provided the team with a veteran nucleus to build around.

Baldasari finished his career with a flourish. After spending the previous three seasons in the outfield, he returned to the infield, taking over at third base. He garnered Second Team All-Atlantic 10 Conference honors, becoming the first Hawk since 2003 to be recognized. At the plate he remained consistent, leading the team with a .313 batting average, 24 runs, 10 doubles, four home runs and 26 RBI.

Braun, the fifth-year senior, displayed his unselfishness and turned in perhaps his best all-around season by transforming himself into one of the Atlantic 10's top relievers after spending the previous three seasons as a starter. The co-captain posted a 2-1 record in 15 appearances and placed second on the team with a 4.20 ERA. He picked up A-10 Pitcher of the Week honors after throwing a complete game shutout in in his lone start of the season, the team's season finale.

Hoagey quietly closed out his career ranking among the most successful pitchers in program history. He led the team in wins and starts, while his innings pitched (86.0) and strikeout (66) totals placed among the top 10 single season efforts in Hawk history. For his career, the southpaw ranks second in career innings pitched (266.0) and third in strikouts (190).

Several sophomore hurlers, including Bob Unkel, Jeff Williams, and Adriano Petrutz, also made significant contibutions. Unkel emerged as a conference starter, while Williams became a workhorse in the pen, making 21 appearances and picking up three victories. Petrutz posted a team-best 3.86 ERA and recorded three saves, before an arm injury limited his time on the hill. He still managed to contibute at the plate, hitting .367 over the team's final 30 games.

Several other veterans held down regular spots in the lineup, including sophomores Matt Godusky and Mike Gentile, juniors Greg Mason and Dustin Onulak and senior Rob Pimpinella.

Among the newcomers, freshmen Jason Hessler, Jeremy Jakubowski and Andrew Heineman made the most immediate impact. Hessler was arguably the most impressive Hawk rookie pitcher in years. He posted a 5.33 ERA and tied for the team lead in wins, while finishing second on the club in starts, innings pitched and strikouts.

Jakubowski and Heineman took time to adjust to the college game offensively, but remained steady defensively holdong down key positions in centerfield and at shortstop, respectively. Jakubowski led the team in steals and finished second on the team with 21 runs, three round trippers and 21 RBI.

With an inexperienced roster and a first year head coach 2005 proved to be a season of growth and development for the Saint Joseph's baseball program. Still, the team displayed improvement throughout the year and laid the foundation for the future.