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Baseball Travels to Rhode Island for Key Atlantic 10 Series
Courtesy: SJU Athletic Communications  
Release:  05/01/2008

May 1, 2008

- The Saint Joseph's baseball team heads to Rhode Island this weekend for a critical Atlantic 10 series as both teams look to make a late-season charge and qualify for the A-10 Tournament in Camden May 21-24.

Last weekend the Hawks started out strong, defeating Massachusetts by the score of 11-4. Sophomore ace Randy Mower pitched seven innings to earn his sixth win of the season. Mike Coleman continued his recent tear, going 2-for-4 with three runs scored in the victory.

The Hawks did not fare as well on Saturday and Sunday, falling to the Minutemen by 12-5 and 6-4 scores. In Saturday's game, Coleman had SJU's first four-hit game of the season as he was 4-for-5 with three more runs scored. All told, he scored seven times in the series while hitting .583.

Rhode Island had won 11 of its last 14 games coming into the weekend; however, the Rams dropped the first two games of their last conference series at La Salle before preventing the sweep with a 6-0 win over the Explorers. Sophomore Eric Smith pitched seven strong innings, giving up just two hits and one walk while striking out five. Third baseman Shaun Hagey had a bases-loaded triple in the game for URI.

Catcher Zach Zaneski leads the Ram offense. Zaneski leads the team in average (.354), runs scored (37), hits (58), doubles (16), total bases (79), and RBIs (30) while starting all 44 games. Hagey is second in average at .353 and has scored 30 runs on the season. Senior infielder Mike O'Malley is another power threat for URI with his team-leading three home runs and three triples. He is also tied for second on the squad in doubles (13) while ranking second in RBI (28).

The Ram pitching staff features 11 pitchers who have made double-digit appearances on the season. Chris Pickering and Brett Palanski lead the team with five wins apiece. Nick Greenwood is the team leader in earned run average (3.70) and strikeouts (69), while Jamie Degidio has notched five saves in 14 appearances.

For SJU, Coleman has made his way to the top of the stat sheet with his .379 batting average. He's hitting at a torrid .417 pace in 13 conference games as well. Coleman is also far and away the squad's leader in on-base percentage at .513. Sophomore David Valesente has hit well, leading the team in hits (41), doubles (12), and RBIs (32).

Mower has once again been the most reliable arm on the SJU staff. His six wins are the most by an SJU pitcher since Jed Johnson won 6 in 1996 and tie him for second in the conference. His 13 starts this season are an Atlantic 10 best.

The series kicks off Friday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. at Rhode Island's Bill Beck Field.