May 1, 2009
CINCINNATI, Ohio - Three eighth-inning runs were the difference on Friday afternoon as the Saint Joseph's baseball team fell, 9-6, to the Xavier Musketeers at Hayden Field. SJU held a 5-1 lead after four innings but could not hold on for the win.
Saint Joseph's (14-24-1, 7-11 Atlantic 10) benefitted early on from a pair of Musketeer miscues on the same play to take a first-inning lead. XU starter Nathan Mutsch walked the bases loaded and with two outs, Brian Hartsell reached on an error by right fielder Neil Lindgren. Another error on the play by first baseman Ben Thomas allowed Hartsell to reach third and all three runs to score, staking SJU hurler Chris Prescott to a 3-0 lead before he even took the hill.
Hawk center fielder Mike Coleman hit his first career home run, a shot over the left field wall, to extend the lead to 4-0 in the top of the second.
Xavier (25-17, 11-8 Atlantic 10) got on the board in the bottom half of the frame with a solo home run of its own off the bat of designated hitter Zac Richard. The Hawks built the lead back up to four in the fourth as Chris Hildreth scored from second on a two-out single by Matt Barnathan.
The Musketeers threatened in the bottom of the fourth as Lindgren led off with a double and advanced to third on a wild pitch, but Prescott induced Richard into a groundout to end the inning.
Xavier was back in business once again in the fifth as the first two batters reached base on a single and a hit batsman. After an infield fly, Dominic Favazza replaced Prescott and struck out Billy O'Conner before Drew Schmidt singled up the middle to score both runs. Favazza then retired Lindgren on a called third strike to end the threat.
XU would tie the game up in the bottom of the sixth as Thomas led off with a solo home run and O'Conner drew a two-out, bases-loaded walk from Ben Wendle to score left fielder Steve Brown with the equalizer. Xavier went ahead, 6-5, one inning later on an RBI single by Richard off of Ryan Kemp.
SJU looked to mount a rally in the eighth as Hildreth reached on an error to lead off the frame. Coleman sacrificed him to second and a Mike Plakis groundout left a runner on third with two out for pinch hitter Ryan McDonald. Unfortunately for the Crimson and Gray, McDonald went down on strikes to end the inning.
A wild pitch with the bases loaded and one out in the home half of the eighth doubled the Musketeer lead before Jordan Conley drew a bases-loaded walk two batters later to push the score to 8-5. Richard was then hit by a pitch to plate the third run of the inning. Kemp was able to limit the damage as the next two batters popped out to send the game to the ninth.
Dewey Oriente was retired on a fly out to start the inning before David Valesente and Drew Smith hit singles to put runners on first and second with one out. Conley, the Musketeer shortstop/closer, then took the mound to try and secure the victory. He retired Hartsell on a fly ball before Mike Blahusch singled in a run to cut the lead to 9-6, but that would be all as pinch hitter Kevin Taylor grounded out to end the contest.
Brian Muransky got the win for the Musketeers, improving to 5-2. He threw four scoreless innings in middle relief while allowing just four hits and one walk to go with five strikeouts. Kemp took the loss, dipping to 1-3. Conley notched his seventh save of the season by recording the final two outs.
The teams will return to action tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 p.m. Live stats will be available via Gametracker at SJUHawks.com.