Feb. 18, 2011
NORFOLK, Va. - Opening Day was not kind to the Saint Joseph's baseball team, as the Hawks dropped their season opener at Old Dominion, 7-5, on Friday afternoon. The Hawks held a three-run lead in the seventh inning, but were not able to fend off a late charge by the Monarchs. Kevin Taylor and Mike Muha led the charge for the Hawks, driving in two runs apiece in the game.
Old Dominion (1-0) started the scoring off in the bottom of the second. SJU starter A.J. Holland retired the first two hitters quickly before issuing back-to-back walks to Brent Frazier and Josh Tutwiler. Kenny Stoneback followed with a single up the middle to score Frazier with the game's first run.
Saint Joseph's (0-1) had a prime scoring opportunity in the top of the fourth, but failed to convert. Joe Cook led off the frame with a single and stole second base before Quinn Renner was hit by a pitch. The runners advanced on a wild pitch, but with two outs, ODU hurler Kyle Hald retired Muha on strikes to escape the jam.
The Monarchs doubled their lead in the bottom half of the inning as Nathan Hartman led off with a single and scored on a sacrifice bunt by Stoneback.
The Hawks broke through in the top of the fifth, scoring a pair of unearned runs to knot the game. Mike Coleman reached on an error to start the inning and advanced to second on a single by Anthony Cirillo. After a wild pitch left runners on second and third for the second consecutive inning, Cook reached on an error by Frazier at third that allowed Coleman to score the first run for SJU and the 100th of his Hawk career. Taylor followed with an RBI single to left, plating Cirillo to tie the game.
The Crimson and Gray took its first lead of the season in the top of the seventh, scoring three times to go ahead, 5-2. With one out, Kevin Kratochwill singled through the left side and then stole second before Cook reached on an error by ODU shortstop Joshua Wright to put runners at the corners with one out. Taylor then lofted a sacrifice fly to right to score Kratochwill with the go-ahead run.
A single by Greg Kumpel and a walk by Renner loaded the bases with two out for Muha, whose single to left scored Cook and Kumpel and pushed the Hawk advantage to three.
ODU answered right back in the bottom of the inning, however, as Christopher Baker blasted a two-out, three-run home run over the right field fence to tie the game at five.
The Hawks loaded the bases with one out in the top of the eighth, but ODU reliever Mike Ney got out of the jam without allowing a run to keep the game tied.
The Monarchs made the Hawks pay for the missed opportunity, going ahead to stay in the eighth. A single by Stoneback and a triple by Wright gave ODU the 7-5 lead.
Ney was credited with the win, pitching a shutout eighth, allowing no hits and three walks. Hald threw seven innings, allowing five unearned runs on eight hits. He struck out eight and allowed three bases on balls. Adam Wisniewski worked a scoreless ninth for the save.
Holland went four innings for the Hawks, allowing two earned runs on four singles, striking out two and walking three. Daniel Thorpe threw three innings, allowing three runs on three hits, with three walks and three strikeouts. He also picked off a pair of runners at first base in his collegiate debut.
Brett Koliani took the loss, allowing two runs on three hits in the bottom of the eighth.
The teams will return to the Bud Metheny Complex tomorrow for a doubleheader beginning at 1:00 p.m. Live stats are available at SJUHawks.com.