March 18, 2009
NORRISTOWN, Pa. - The Saint Joseph's baseball team got in a huge hole early but kept scratching and clawing back into the game as the Hawks ended up tied with Lehigh, 19-19, when the game was called due to darkness. Ben Wendle, David Valesente, and Dewey Oriente each had four hits for SJU, while Valesente added five runs batted in.
Lehigh jumped ahead quickly, scoring seven runs in the first and five in the second. The Hawks scored two runs of their own in the bottom of the first on singles by Oriente and Brian Hartsell. SJU went down 12-2 after an inning and a half, but chipped away with a single by Ryan McDonald and a two-run single by Valesente to cut it to 12-5 after two.
After shutting down the Mountain Hawks in the third, SJU got back into the game in a big way with a five-spot. The Hawks got three RBI singles, a triple from Mike Plakis, and a double from Valesente to cut the lead down to two.
Lehigh scored a run in the fourth and two in the fifth to go up five, but the Hawks answered right back with two in the fifth and the teams traded two-run frames in the sixth to leave the score at 17-14. Saint Joseph's got their runs in the fifth on a two-run double by Mike Boyland while a triple by Hartsell and a double by Wendle put tallies on the board in the sixth.
Lehigh extended the lead to four in the seventh, but it was the bottom of that inning that saw SJU finally complete the comeback and tie the game at 18. Valesente ripped a triple to left center to plate a pair of runs, then came around to score on a hit by Oriente. Oriente eventually came around to score the tying run on a single by Wendle.
In the top of the ninth, Andy Borden doubled for the Mountain Hawks, giving Lehigh a one-run lead as the daylight began to fade. In a last-gasp effort to salvage a win, the Hawks put runners on second and third with one out in the night. After Joe Cook hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game, Mike Coleman grounded out to record what would end up being the final out.
The draw was the first tie for Saint Joseph's since March 7, 2002, when SJU tied 5-5 with Towson at Latshaw-McCarthy Field.
SJU returns to action on Friday for the beginning of conference play as the Hawks will head across town to take on La Salle. Game time is set for 3:00 p.m.