March 15, 2009
NORRISTOWN, Pa. - Saint Joseph's lefthander Randy Mower went seven strong innings, giving up one run on seven hits while striking out three as the Saint Joseph's baseball team earned its third win in four games, defeating Niagara by a 4-1 score on Sunday afternoon at Latshaw-McCarthy Field.
Niagara (3-11) jumped ahead right away as Matt Wietlispach took Mower's third pitch deep over the left field fence for a 1-0 lead. Mower struggled in the first, giving up three hits, but managed to escape the frame ceding just the one run.
Saint Joseph's (4-9) tied it up in the bottom of the first by scoring a run without a hit as NU starter Michael Kellar walked three batters and hit another, issuing a free pass to Matt Barnathan with the sacks full before striking out the last two batters of the inning. Three more walks and another hit batsman cost Kellar again in the second as Ryan McDonald hit into a fielder's choice with the bases loaded to score Phil Pursino and put the Hawks on top by a run, 2-1.
The Hawks got their first base hits of the game in the bottom of the third and turned them into a run as Brian Hartsell, Mike Boyland, and Joe Cook each hit a single, with Cook's hit to center bringing Hartsell in from third with a run. SJU extended the lead to 4-1 on a bases loaded sacrifice fly by Mike Coleman in the bottom of the fifth.
Mower settled into a groove in the middle innings, giving up just three hits over his last five innings of work. Unfortunately for SJU, the Hawk bats were not able to take advantage and extend the lead.
The Purple Eagles looked to threaten with one out in the eighth as Wynton Bernard singled and then stole second, but Chris Hildreth induced a fly ball to right and then caught Bernard trying to take third to end the inning.
McDonald finished 0-for-4 today, ending his hitting streak at 11 games. It is the first game he has played in this season in which he did not record a hit; he did, however, drive in what proved to be the winning run. David Valesente was also hitless in three official at bats despite his recent tear at the plate. Boyland, Hartsell and Pursino picked up the slack, each notching two hits and a run scored. Cook had a pair of hits as well. All nine SJU hits in the game were singles.
Mower picked up the win, improving to 1-2 on the year and dropping his earned run average from 6.72 to 4.32. Kellar took the loss, falling to 0-3.
Saint Joseph's will continue its homestand on Tuesday as Villanova rolls into Norristown for a 3:00 p.m. contest at Latshaw-McCarthy Field.