April 19, 2008
CINCINNATI, Ohio - David Valesente was 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs and Matt Barnathan went 3-for-3 and drove in two runs as Saint Joseph's used a five-run seventh inning and five Xavier errors to topple the Musketeers, 10-9, on Saturday afternoon. With the win, the Hawks matched last season's conference win total with 13 A-10 contests remaining.
Xavier (15-20, 9-5 Atlantic 10) got on the board first on an RBI double by Zac Richard in the first inning.
Saint Joseph's (14-22, 6-8 Atlantic 10) responded in the top of the second with a tally of its own. Ben Wendle reached on an error and then advance on an infield single by Valesente. However, Mike Boyland had a line drive speared by first baseman Bobby Freking, who stepped on first to double up Valesente. A single by Dewey Oriente put runners on the corners with two outs for Barnathan, who singled to right center to tie the game.
The Musketeers poked their noses back in front on an RBI groundout in the third by Steve Brown. Barnathan knotted the game once again in the fourth as his two-out single to left center brought home Oriente, who had doubled one batter earlier.
XU seemed to break the game open with four runs in the bottom of the fifth to chase starter Dominic Favazza from the game. After a leadoff single and a sacrifice bunt, a double by Adam Posono put Xavier up 3-2. He then came around to score on a passed ball and a balk to double the lead. After another pair of singles, Chad Simendinger replaced Favazza. A Jordan Conley double made the score 6-2 before Simendinger got out of the inning.
SJU came right back in the sixth to cut the lead in half. Wendle led off with a single before Valesente's third home run of the season left the Hawks trailing by two at 6-4.
The tide of the game turned towards the Hawks for good in the top of the seventh. Mike Coleman led off with a single, Jeremy Jakubowski reached on an error, and Kenny Pustizzi had a bunt single to load the bases with nobody out. Wendle laced a single to center to score Coleman before Valesente drew a walk to force in Jakubowski with the tying run. Pustizzi came around to score the go-ahead run as Boyland hit into a double play.
Oriente then reached base on an error by the shortstop, bringing home Wendle. After a walk by Barnathan and a wild pitch, a balk by pitcher Mike Creevy allowed Oriente to score and put Saint Joseph's ahead, 9-6.
Freking led off the home half of the seventh with a single and scored on another RBI double by Richard to cut the lead to two. Richard then came around to score on a sacrifice bunt by Billy O'Conner to make it a 9-8 game after seven.
In the eighth, SJU padded its lead with an RBI by Valesente. The Musketeers tacked on another run of their own in the bottom of the inning, but would not come any closer.
Andrew Powers (1-0) got the win for SJU, and Creevy (5-2) took the loss for Xavier. Chris Prescott notched his fourth save of the season by working a scoreless ninth. The four saves tie him for the fifth-highest single-season total in program history, while his six career saves put him in a three-way tie for third all-time.
The teams will play the rubber game of the series Sunday at 11:00 a.m. at Hayden Field.