Feb. 18, 2012
CARY, N.C. - Brian O'Keefe posted the four runs batted in of his career on Saturday as the Saint Joseph's baseball team split a pair of games at the USA Baseball Complex. In the opener, the Hawks fell to Monmouth, 7-1, before routing Canisius, 10-2, in the second game.
In the first game of the day, Monmouth scored three runs in the first and three more in the third on the way to a 7-1 victory.
Monmouth (2-0) started the scoring early, posting a three-spot in the bottom of the first. Josh Boyd led off the game with a double down the right field line before advancing to third on a single by Jamie Rosenkranz. After an error allowed Boyd to score, an Owen Stewart single brought home Rosenkranz to double the early lead. An RBI groundout by Ed Martin would bring in the third run of the inning before starter Alex Pracher was able to get out of the inning with a pop-up.
MU struck again in the third, using an RBI double by Danny Avella, a groundout by Stewart, and a single by Tim Bickford to push the advantage to 6-0.
Saint Joseph's (1-2) got on the board in the top of the fifth as Kevin Taylor led off the inning with a single and came around to score on a single by O'Keefe.
Monmouth got the run back in the seventh on an RBI double by Bickford.
Pracher went five innings in his SJU debut, allowing six runs, five earned, on nine hits while walking three and striking out four. Dan Smith earned the win for Monmouth, allowing one run on four hits in six innings.
In Saint Joseph's second contest, an early deficit turned into a blowout win as O'Keefe and Chris Hueth drove in three runs each to power the Hawks past Canisius, 10-2. Steven Schuler got the win, allowing just one baserunner in two-and-a-third innings of scoreless relief.
For the third straight game, the Hawks fell into an early hole, as the Golden Griffins tallied a run in the top of the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Drew Pettit to take a 1-0 lead.
SJU starter Jordan Carter then settled in, retiring 10 of 11 hitters until a lead-off single in the fifth. He would finish with two runs allowed on five hits, with two walks and three strikeouts in five-and-two-thirds innings.
Canisius (2-1) doubled the margin in the fifth when a successful squeeze bunt by Manny Hernandez scored Mike Booth.
Saint Joseph's broke through in the sixth, scoring a pair to tie the game. Stefan Kancylarz led off the inning with a walk and after a hit batsman led to a pitching change, Hueth ripped a single to right center to score Kancylarz and advance Greg Kumpel to third. Taylor then hit into a double play that allowed Kumpel to score the tying run.
The Hawk bats came alive in the seventh as SJU sent 10 batters to the plate and exploded for six runs to take a lead they would not relinquish.
Anthony Cirillo drew a free pass from Alex Tufts (0-1) to start the frame; Tufts was then lifted in favor of Scott Whitehead, but Whitehead started off with a walk to Kevin Kratochwill to put two on with nobody out. Kancylarz followed with an RBI single to plate Cirillo and put the Hawks on top, 3-2.
Kumpel ripped a single of his own to drive in Kratochwill before advancing to second on a wild pitch. Hueth followed with a single to left to score Kancylarz and Kumpel and blow the game open. After a single by Taylor, O'Keefe drove in Hueth with a double to right before Cirillo's sacrifice fly scored Taylor and gave SJU an 8-2 lead.
The Hawks weren't finished, piling on two more in the eighth on an RBI single by O'Keefe.
Kevin Burum pitched a scoreless ninth to close out the contest and give the Hawks their first victory of 2012.
Saint Joseph's closes out its swing through North Carolina with a Sunday matinee at North Carolina State. First pitch in Raleigh is set for 1:00 p.m.