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Baseball Hits the "Rhode" for Weekend Series with Rams
Courtesy: SJU Athletic Communications  
Release:  04/14/2011

April 14, 2011

KINGSTON, R.I. - The Saint Joseph's baseball team heads to New England this weekend for a pivotal three-game set with Rhode Island. The Hawks will look to build off of Wednesday night's 7-1 win over Lafayette as they take on the Rams starting on Friday at 3:00 p.m.

Saint Joseph's (12-20, 3-6 Atlantic 10) aims to bounce back from a four-game conference skid after last weekend's sweep at the hands of Charlotte. On Wednesday night, the Hawks pounded out 13 hits en route to a 7-1 victory over visiting Lafayette at Campbell's Field. Six Hawk pitchers combined to hold the Leopards to a season-low three hits in the game as the team erased the bad taste from the weekend and built some confidence heading into the series at Rhode Island.

"It was a big thing, getting the game in tonight," said shortstop Anthony Cirillo, referencing the inclement weather that threatened to wash out the midweek contest. "We have some confidence going into this weekend. At the end [against Lafayette] we started extending the lead...bringing that momentum into Rhode Island this weekend will hopefully help us out."

Cirillo led the way for SJU, going 2-for-5 in the second spot in the order, scoring twice and driving in three. Mike Coleman notched three hits and scored a run as well.

Greg Kumpel sits at the top of the statistical ledger for the Hawks, leading the squad in batting average (.411, good for second in the conference), hits (44), doubles (10), RBI (19), slugging percentage (.533) and on-base percentage (.480). Kumpel currently has an eight-game hitting streak, while Cirillo is right behind, having hit safely in his last seven contests.

Joe Cook and Kevin Kratochwill have crossed the plate 17 times apiece to lead the team; Kumpel and Cirillo are hot on their heels with 16 runs scored each. Cook also paces the squad in free passes; he has drawn a team-best 20 walks in 2011.

Kratochwill has found himself tied for the team lead in runs scored and among the leaders in walks and stolen bases despite missing 13 games due to injury. He made his return to the lineup on Wednesday night, scoring a pair of runs against Lafayette.

On the mound, sophomore righthander Kyle Mullen has dazzled, posting a 2.83 earned run average with a pair of complete game shutouts in eight starts. He struck out 10 49ers in last Saturday's game against Charlotte, pitching well for six and a third innings of work. The squad's leader in innings (54.0) and strikeouts (39), Mullen has held opponents to a .245 average while posting a nearly 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Also exceeding on the hill this year for SJU has been redshirt senior captain Chad Simendinger. The righthander has made seven starts and has a 3.93 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 36.2 innings of work. Simendinger has also picked off eight runners, good for second in the league.

Out of the bullpen, head coach Fritz Hamburg has relied heavily on a mix of experienced veterans and talented freshmen. Six Hawks have made double-digit appearances this season; three are upperclassmen and three are freshmen. Leading the way has been rookie Daniel Thorpe, whose 14 appearances lead the way. Also pitching well have been seniors Dominic Favazza and Bryan Penalo.

At the backend, freshman Brett Koliani (three) and junior Ryan Kemp (two) have combined for all five of SJU's saves.

Rhode Island (17-13, 5-4 Atlantic 10) comes into the weekend after playing a Thursday afternoon game against Bryant. The game between the Rams and the Bulldogs was postponed due to rain on Wednesday.

URI's offense is led by outfielder Jeff Cammans. He sports a .393 average, having played in all but one contest thus far. As a group, the Rams hit .290, fourth-best in the Atlantic 10.

Power is at a premium in college baseball this season, but the Rams have scored over 6.2 runs per game in 2011. Cammans has scored 26 runs to lead the squad, but Tom Coulombe and Mike LeBel are right behind him at 25 and 24, respectively. Cammans has also swiped a team-best 16 bases on the year, with Coulombe (14) and LeBel (10) also in double digits.

Production-wise, Rhode Island counts on outfielder Kyle Borden's bat to provide the fireworks, as Borden is the only Ram with more than one home run; he has hit five so far in 2011. Coulombe leads the team with 30 RBI, tied for fifth in the league, while Greg Annarummo has driven in 21 in his first year in Kingston.

The URI pitching staff is headed by senior righthander Ken Graveline. Graveline leads the team in ERA (3.72), strikeouts (32) and innings (48.1) and is tied for second in wins (three). He has also allowed just two walks against those 32 strikeouts.

In the bullpen, Dan Johnson leads the squad with three saves while Anthony Pisani is 4-0 in 10 appearances and 26.1 innings. He has fanned 27 while allowing six walks and an opponent batting average of just .216.

The series is set to begin at Bill Beck Field in Kingston, R.I. on Friday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. Live stats will be available via Gametracker at SJUHawks.com.