April 25, 2009
NORRISTOWN, Pa. - An eight-run sixth inning propelled first-place Rhode Island to a 14-7 win over the Saint Joseph's baseball team on Saturday afternoon at Latshaw-McCarthy Field. Juniors Brian Hartsell and Dewey Oriente each had three hits on the day to lead the SJU offense.
Rhode Island (28-13-1, 14-2 Atlantic 10) drew first blood in the contest, scoring a run on a two-out triple by third baseman Mike LeBel in the top of the second inning.
Saint Joseph's (14-21-1, 7-9 Atlantic 10) answered with a two-out run of its own in the bottom half of the frame. Hartsell led off with a single to shortstop, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, and then to third on a groundout. Mike Plakis then hit a ball towards the gap between the first baseman and the second baseman. Oliver Palmer ranged to his left to keep the ball in the infield, but the throw was not in time as Plakis reached on the infield hit and Hartsell scored to tie the game at one.
URI scored three in the top of the third, helped out by four walks and a single by LeBel. Fortunately for SJU, Ryan McDonald fired a rocket in from right field to catcher Phil Pursino, who applied the tag to Rob DeVeney for the third out.
SJU got two of the runs back in the bottom half, as David Valesente doubled to center and came around to score on an RBI triple by Oriente. Mike Blahusch grounded to shortstop, scoring Oriente to close the deficit to 4-3.
The Rams extended the lead to two on a single to left center by designated hitter Adam Derner. Rhode Island cracked the game open in the top of the sixth, scoring eight runs, including a bases-loaded double by Dan Haverstick, to take a 13-3 lead.
The Hawks scored a run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly to center by Plakis. Unfortunately for the Crimson and Gray, URI scored on a wild pitch by Chris Prescott to restore the double-digit lead.
Blahusch hit a sacrifice fly of his own to score Oriente in the seventh to make it a 14-5 game. In the bottom of the ninth, pinch hitter Ryan Kemp ripped a two-out double to center to plate a pair of runs and close the scoring for the afternoon.
Hawk starter Dominic Favazza (1-5) was tagged with the loss, giving up five runs in four and a third innings. Nick Greenwood improved to 4-3 with the win, giving the Rams six innings of work and allowing four runs on 10 hits.
Oriente and Hartsell were both 3-for-5 with a pair of runs scored; Oriente also drove one in. Valesente singled in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 19 games, one shy of the Saint Joseph's school record. McDonald added a second outfield assist in the ninth inning, gunning down a runner at third.
The teams will contest the series finale on Sunday at noon. A.J. Holland will be on the hill for the Hawks, opposed by Eric Smith for URI. Live stats and streaming audio will be available at SJUHawks.com.