May 16, 2007
PHILADELPHIA - The Saint Joseph's Hawks will conclude the 2007 baseball season this week with a three-game Atlantic 10 series against the Rhode Island Rams. SJU will look to close on a strong note, having won three in a row before dropping two to Richmond this past weekend. The Hawks have a 10-36 overall record, and are 6-18 in Atlantic 10 play. The Rams currently sit at 19-28, and are 13-11 in the conference.
Last time out, Saint Joseph's fell into a 7-0 hole early before clawing back into the game in the late innings. However, the rally fell just short, as the Hawks were downed 7-6 by the Richmond Spiders. SJU scored twice in the ninth inning and had runners on first and second with two outs but were not able to score the winning run. Outfielders Jeremy Jakubowski and Ben Wendle each had three hits and one run scored in the game. Jakubowski drove in a run, and Wendle hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning to account for his three RBIs. Freshman pitcher Pat Monaghan worked 6.1 spectacular innings in relief, giving up one run on just four hits, while striking out nine (including five in a row and six out of seven) and walking one. For their efforts, Wendle and Monaghan were named the Philadelphia Big 5 Baseball Player and Pitcher of the Week, respectively.
Rhode Island suffered a tough 16-12 extra-inning defeat to Hartford in their last game on Tuesday. Junior catcher Zach Zaneski had three hits, including a home run, and five RBIs in the losing effort. Freshman southpaw Nick Greenwood allowed just one run on three hits in 5.1 innings of relief. Despite this performance and a six-run lead in the seventh, the Rams could not hold on. Hartford scored one in the seventh, one in the eighth, and four in the ninth to send the game to extra innings. In the bottom of the eleventh, Hartford's Ryan Crowley, whose two-run home run tied the game, hit a one-out walk-off grand slam to send the Hawks home victorious.
Zaneski (.308) is one of two Ram regulars with a .300-plus batting average. Senior outfielder Eric Larson is batting .314 with a team-leading 54 hits, 37 runs scored, three triples, nine home runs, and 32 RBIs. Larson is also URI's top base-stealing threat, swiping 12 bases in 16 attempts. Senior infielder Ryan Cunningham also has 32 RBIs, and leads the squad with 14 doubles.
On the mound, Rhode Island will likely start senior lefthander Adam Perkins, senior righthander James Norcott, and junior righty Brett Palanski. Juniors Matt Miranda and Jamie Degidio lead the Rams with earned-run averages of 3.12 and 3.71, respectively. Degidio leads the staff with 20 appearances and has inherited the closer's role, saving three games on the year. Freshman Tim Boyce has made 19 appearances and has four saves.
Wendle has been the most productive Hawk at the plate in 2007. He leads all everyday starters with a .329 average, and leads the entire squad in hits (56), runs (30), doubles (17), home runs (seven), RBIs (38), total bases (94), and slugging percentage (.553). His 17 doubles tie him for sixth on the program's all-time single-season list, leaving him seven shy of Kevin Kirkby's 24 in 1999. Wendle also has a six-game hitting streak, his second longest of the season. Jakubowski is currently maintaining a seven-game streak, and has bumped his average up to .324 for the season. Jakubowski also leads the team with 12 stolen bases. Freshman catcher/designated hitter Drew Smith has come on strong over the last month of the season, seeing an increase in his playing time and his batting average. Smith now has a .372 average and ranks second behind Wendle with a .512 slugging percentage.
The Hawk pitching staff has been dominated by freshmen in 2007. Lefthander Randall Mower has been steady, leading the team in wins (three), starts (14), innings (62.0), and strikeouts (41). Pat Monaghan struggled early in the season as a starter, but has improved tremendously since moving to the bullpen. Last week he pitched 9.2 innings and allowed just two runs while striking out 11 hitters. That performance allowed Monaghan to lower his season ERA by over two runs.
Junior Andrew Powers has been steady in relief, leading the staff with a 4.76 ERA. He recorded his first decision of the season in last Friday's 9-7 win over Richmond. He also recorded his second save last Tuesday when he pitched the final three innings in SJU's 12-1 rout of Rider. His two saves tie him with sophomore Chris Prescott for the team lead.
The series begins Thursday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. at Latshaw-McCarthy Field in Norristown, PA. Friday's game is scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m., while Saturday's first pitch is slated for noon. The Hawks will celebrate Senior Day on Saturday, honoring the team's five senior players for their contributions to the program over the last four years. First baseman Mike Gentile, outfielder/designated hitter Matt Godusky, infielder Adriano Petrutz, first baseman Kevin Walsh, and pitcher Jeff Williams will be honored prior to the game.
Streaming audio for all three games will be available at www.sjuhawks.com.