April 27, 2008
NORRISTOWN, Pa. - Four early runs helped the Massachusetts Minutemen hold off the Saint Joseph's baseball team, 6-4, on Sunday afternoon at Latshaw-McCarthy Field. On the positive side, David Valesente had his team-leading 13th multi-hit game of the season, while pitcher Don Werner had his longest outing of the year, working into the ninth inning. With the loss, the Hawks fell into a tie in the Atlantic 10 standings with the Minutemen.
After loading the bases in the top of the first inning, Massachusetts (14-19, 7-11 Atlantic 10) scored a run on a sacrifice fly by first baseman Andy Teutken to take an early 1-0 lead. UMass tacked on another run after a dropped fly ball and a single by designated hitter Andrew Black brought home catcher Ben Kessel with the second run of the game. The Minutemen then scored twice in the top of the third on four singles and a throwing error.
Saint Joseph's (15-26, 7-11 Atlantic 10) cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the third. Center fielder Tim Smith led off with a single and shortstop Joe Cook followed with a walk. After Mike Coleman drew a four-pitch walk of his own, SJU had the bases loaded with nobody out. A Brian Hartsell sacrifice fly and a Ben Wendle fielder's choice scored Smith and Cook to put SJU on the board.
The Hawks got within one in the fifth inning after Coleman led off with a single through the left side. A groundout by Hartsell eventually advanced Coleman to third, allowing him to score on a wild pitch two batters later to cut the lead to 4-3.
A fielding error and a single by Adam Tempesta put the Minutemen up 5-3 in the seventh. A squeeze bunt with the bases loaded and one out in the top of the ninth brought in an insurance run and pushed the lead to three.
SJU mounted a ninth-inning rally attempt against the Massachusetts bullpen that ultimately came up short. Kenny Pustizzi led off with a walk and was replaced on the bases by Chris Cashman before pinch hitter Matt Barnathan singled through the right side, leaving first and third with nobody out. UMass closer Mitchell Eilenberg replaced reliever Aaron Smith and promptly induced Cook into a fielder's choice that scored Cashman. Cook then moved up when Coleman was hit with a pitch. Unfortunately for the Crimson and Gray, right fielder Garrett Glashoff made a diving catch on Hartsell's line drive to right center before Wendle went down on strikes to end the game.
Massachusetts starter Mitchell Clegg (2-4) notched the win after retiring 11 straight batters in the late innings to keep the Hawks off the scoreboard. He worked eight innings, allowing three runs on six hits while walking four and striking out three. Eilenberg got out of the ninth-inning jam to record his fourth save of the year.
Don Werner (2-5) went eight-plus innings for Saint Joseph's, allowing just three earned runs and 10 hits, striking out five Minutemen.
The Hawks will have four days off before returning to action with a pivotal conference series at Rhode Island. The first game of the series is scheduled for Friday at 3:00 p.m.