May 13, 2007
NORRISTOWN, PA - An early 7-0 deficit proved too much for the Saint Joseph's baseball team to overcome as the Hawks fell 7-6 to visiting Richmond on Sunday afternoon. The Hawks scored three in the fifth, one in the sixth, and two in the ninth, but could not complete the comeback. Sophomore Ben Wendle continued to lead the Hawks, launching a three-run home run in the bottom of the fifth.
Richmond (30-23, 18-6 Atlantic 10) drew first blood in the top of the second inning on a three-run home run to left by right fielder Matt McKenna. A double to the gap in left center by designated hitter Vince Riggi plated two more in the top of the third to give the Spiders a 5-0 lead. An RBI single by center fielder Joe White two batters later pushed the lead to six.
Saint Joseph's (10-36, 6-18 Atlantic 10) had a runner on third base with two outs in both the second and third innings but failed to capitalize on either opportunity.
The Spiders added a singleton in the fourth when second baseman Benji Marshall laced a line drive to right center past a diving Tim Smith to score McKenna. In the bottom half of the inning, SJU freshman Matt Barnathan hit a long fly ball to deep right, but McKenna made a spectacular catch against the fence to prevent a run.
The Hawks got on the board courtesy of Wendle's seventh home run of the season. Junior Jeremy Jakubowski hit a one-out single to center and stole second before second baseman Mike Blahusch singled over the head of the Richmond third baseman to put runners on the corners. Wendle followed with a mammoth home run to right to cut the lead to 7-3.
SJU scored again in the sixth when Smith crossed the plate on a two-out RBI single Jakubowski. The Hawks threatened to cut the deficit further in the bottom of the seventh. With runners on second and third after a two-out wild pitch, freshman Mike Boyland drilled a line drive to right center. However, White tracked it down and made the catch on the run to end the inning.
The Hawks got a leadoff single in the eighth from catcher Ken Pustizzi, but could not score. That set the stage for a ninth-inning rally, as Barnathan hit an RBI single with one out to cut the deficit to 7-5. The Spiders then summoned closer Brian Alas from the bullpen to shut the door. Pinch hitter Drew Smith slapped an RBI single of his own to make it a one-run game, but Alas induced a groundout from pinch hitter David Valesente to end the game.
Freshman Mark Dolaghan struggled early on the mound for the Hawks, working just 2.2 innings and surrendering six runs, all of them earned. Freshman Pat Monaghan came on and was strong in relief, striking out the side in both the fifth and sixth innings. He gave up just one run and four hits in 6.1 solid innings. Monaghan struck out nine hitters, including five in a row at one point, and walked just one.
Dolaghan took the loss, falling to 0-4 on the year. Josh Horn got the win for the Spiders, improving to 6-3. Alas recorded his league-leading 13th save.
Saint Joseph's will host the Rhode Island Rams for a three-game set to close out the 2007 season. The series begins on Thursday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. at Latshaw-McCarthy Field.