March 22, 2008
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Saint Joseph's baseball team helped open Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. on Saturday afternoon. The Hawks took on George Washington in the first game at the new stadium, the new home of Major League Baseball's Washington Nationals, and fell to the Colonials by a 9-4 score.
The Hawks and Colonials faced off in the first event held in the new facility, and during the game the sounds of construction crews at work could be heard as the finishing touches are being applied to the ballpark, which officially opens next Saturday, March 29.
George Washington (10-9, 2-1 Atlantic 10) opened up the scoring in the first inning on a pair of singles.
Saint Joseph's (8-12, 1-2 Atlantic 10) tied it up in the third after Matt Barnathan led off with a walk. David Valesente followed notched the team's first hit of the game on a single to left field, advancing Barnathan to second. A perfectly-executed delayed steal put runners on first and third with nobody out. Ryan McDonald hit into a fielder's choice to drive in Barnathan to tie the game, 1-1.
The Colonials took a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the third, and tacked on three more runs on two errors in the fourth to go ahead 7-1.
GW used four singles in the bottom of the seventh to extend the lead to 9-1.
SJU showed some life in the top of the eighth, plating a three-spot to cut the deficit to 9-4. Valesente's leadoff double, a hit batter, and a single Jeremy Jakubowski loaded the bases with one out. Joe Cook hit a sacrifice fly to left and the next batter, Drew Smith, laced a double off the right field wall to score two more runs. Unfortunately for the Hawks, they would not get any closer.
The Hawks managed just four hits against the GW pitching staff, while the Colonials pounded out 19. Eric Cantrell earned the win for George Washington, improving to 3-1 on the season. Jason Hessler took the loss for Saint Joseph's and falls to 1-2.
Saint Joseph's will return to action on Tuesday with a game at Delaware. The game is a first round matchup in the 2008 Liberty Bell Classic, the annual tournament pitting eight local college baseball squads against one another. The championship game will be played at Citizens Bank Park on April 8.