Feb. 27, 2009
NORFOLK, Va. - The Saint Joseph's baseball team was one out away from its first win of the season before a two-out two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth by Gerard Hall gave Old Dominion a come-from-behind 11-10 victory over the Hawks on Friday afternoon at the Bud Metheny Complex.
"It was a difficult day today, from a results standpoint," said Saint Joseph's head coach Fritz Hamburg. "I thought we did some things fairly well. Offensively, we put together a string of quality at bats and we need to continue to do that; we only really put things together for one inning."
Saint Joseph's (0-5) got on the board right away, scoring a run in the top of the first. With one out and junior Matt Barnathan on third, David Valesente poked a single up the middle to put the Hawks on top, 1-0.
Old Dominion (3-4) knotted the game up in the second and then went ahead on a solo home run in the third by Josh Wright.
The SJU bats awoke in the fourth as the Hawks pounded out seven runs. Drew Smith led off the frame with a double to left center and scored when Ben Wendle singled to tie the game. Three batters later, with runners on first and second, Mike Coleman notched his first hit of the year, an RBI single to right. Joe Cook advanced to third, putting runners on the corners. Then, on a double steal attempt, Cook and Coleman both came around to score on a throwing error by the catcher to put SJU ahead 5-2.
Barnathan then reached on an error and two batters later, Valesente singled him to third. That set the table for Mike Boyland to hit a three-run home run to give SJU a six-run cushion and chase ODU starter Chris Boggs.
The Monarchs got one back in the bottom of the fourth and climbed back to within 8-5 after Joe Velleggia took SJU starter Chris Prescott deep over the left field wall. An RBI single in the seventh by Austin Wright cut the deficit to two.
In the bottom of the eighth, Old Dominion completed the comeback and went ahead 9-8 when Donnie Corsner hit a three-run home run to dead center off of reliever Adam Rivera.
ODU looked to put the Hawks away in the ninth, but SJU had other ideas. After a leadoff single by Valesente, pinch hitter Mike Blahusch sacrificed him to second. Brian Hartsell then pinch hit for Smith and singled to put runners on the corners. After Wendle reached on a fielder's choice to load the bases, a strikeout brought Cook to the plate with the Hawks down to their final out. The shortstop came through in the clutch, looping a single into left to plate both runners and put the Hawks back on top, 10-9.
Rivera came back out for the ninth and got two quick outs before ODU leadoff hitter Max Most singled and stole second. Hall then followed with his first home run of the season to give the Monarchs the win.
Rivera (0-1) took the loss, giving up three runs on four hits in his one inning of work. ODU's Cory Toth (1-1) went 5.1 innings, giving up just two runs on five hits. Quentin Farr worked the middle innings for SJU, giving up three runs on just one hit in three innings. Prescott got another no-decision in his second start of the year, giving up five runs and seven hits in 4.2 innings.
Walks were once again an Achilles' heel for Saint Joseph's, as the Hawks yielded nine in the game.
"Extending innings with free passes is really hurting us right now," Hamburg said. "We have to get better on the mound. It's a process, but I thought we played pretty hard today. You have to give them credit; they executed and did what they had to do to win the game."
The Hawks will attempt to avenge the loss on Saturday as the teams will play a doubleheader. The first game will start at 1:00 p.m. Saint Joseph's will throw junior lefthander Randy Mower in the opener and Dominic Favazza in the nightcap while Old Dominion will counter with Brett Harris and Kyle Hald as their probable starters.