April 15, 2011
KINGSTON, R.I. - Trailing 3-1 with two outs in the eighth, the Saint Joseph's baseball team battled back to score four times in the final two innings en route to a 5-4 win at Rhode Island on Friday. Eddie Palmer hit his first career home run and drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth.
With the win, Saint Joseph's (13-20, 4-6 Atlantic 10) broke a 20-game skid against the Rams that stretched back to April 27, 2002.
Rhode Island (18-14, 5-5 Atlantic 10) took an early lead in the bottom of the second as Kyle Borden hit his sixth home run of the year to give the Rams a 2-0 advantage.
Palmer answered in the top half of the third inning, sending his first career home run over the wall in left to cut the deficit in half.
Jeff Roy hit an RBI single in the bottom half to score Mike LeBel and restore URI's two-run lead, which would hold until the Hawks struck again in the top of the eighth.
Kevin Kratochwill beat out an infield single with one out before advancing to second on a groundout. Greg Kumpel was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with two out for Kevin Taylor, who ripped a double to center to score both runners and tie the game.
The Rams threatened in the bottom half, putting runners on the corners with two away, but Ryan Kemp induced a fly ball from Ty Muller to keep the game tied.
In the ninth, Quinn Renner reached on a one-out single to set the table for Palmer to come through once again. This time the sophomore catcher doubled to right center, scoring Renner from first and putting the Hawks ahead. Two batters later, Kratochwill singled up the middle to plate Palmer with a key insurance run.
With Kemp still on the mound, URI's Kevin Stenhouse led off with a single before being lifted for pinch-runner Joe Landi. After a flyout, Landi reached third on a single by Pat Fortunato before coming in to score on a sacrifice fly by LeBel to shrink the lead to one.
With Rhode Island down to its final at bat, Fortunato stole second to get into scoring position. At the plate, Roy represented the winning run, but Kemp caught him looking to end the game.
Kemp notched the win, his first of the year, allowing a run on two hits in an inning and two-thirds. He walked one and struck out one as well. Kyle Mullen turned in another outstanding start, working six and two-thirds innings and allowing three runs on six hits with two walks and eight strikeouts, including striking out the side in the fourth.
Dan Johnson (1-2) took the loss, allowing two runs on three hits. Starter Chris Pickering kept the Hawks off balance for seven innings, giving up just a single run on only three hits while fanning five.
Palmer finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI while Kratochwill, a late-game substitution, went 2-for-2 with a run scored and a run driven in.
The series will continue on Saturday as Chad Simendinger takes the hill for the Hawks against URI's Ken Graveline. First pitch at Bill Beck Field is set for 1:00 p.m.