April 19, 2009
AMHERST, Mass. - The Saint Joseph's baseball team fell into a first inning hole then scored nine straight runs to take a commanding lead into the final innings on Sunday, but ultimately could not hold on as Massachusetts secured a three-game sweep with an 11-9 victory in 10 innings. Mike Donato hit a two-run home run with one out in the bottom of the 10th to give the Minutemen the win.
Massachusetts (14-19, 7-8 Atlantic 10) provided some early run support for starter Jared Freni, scoring three runs in the first inning against Hawk starter A.J. Holland. Sam Boone led off the frame with a solo home run to left field before a pair of singles, a stolen base, a throwing error and a sacrifice fly brought home two more runs and chased Holland from the game after just two-thirds of an inning. Matt Barnathan took the mound for SJU and retired the first hitter he faced on a fly ball to end the inning.
Saint Joseph's (14-19-1, 7-7 Atlantic 10) answered in the top half of the second, scoring a pair of runs to get back within 3-2. With two outs and Dewey Oriente on second, Ryan McDonald laced a single up the middle to score SJU's first run. Mike Blahusch followed by taking the first pitch he saw into right field for an RBI double, plating McDonald and cutting the deficit to one.
The Hawks exploded in the top of the third to take a 6-3 lead. Mike Plakis led off the stanza with his first career home run, a solo shot to right field, to tie the game. Joe Cook followed with a single as did Drew Smith and Oriente. With two outs and the bases loaded, McDonald reached on a two-base error by center fielder Brian Baudinet that allowed all three runners to score and put SJU on top, 6-3.
David Valesente extended his active hitting streak to 17 consecutive games with a two-out RBI double in the fourth to score Cook and push the lead to four, 7-3.
In the top of the fifth, Mike Coleman was hit by a pitch for the 10th time this season, taking over the team lead. Oriente blasted a triple to center in the sixth to score two more runs as the Hawks took a 9-3 lead.
In the seventh, Blahusch was hit with a 1-0 pitch to extend his school record for career HBP to 32.
The Minutemen would not go quietly, however. Chris Hildreth relieved Barnathan in the eighth and retired the first batter before running into trouble. A double, a wild pitch and a hit batsman put runners on the corners with one out for Matt Gedman, who sent a three-run blast over the right field wall to cut the Hawk lead in half. Kyle Multner followed right away with a solo home run to right to bring UMass back within two. Hildreth was then replaced by Mike Boyland, who allowed a double and a walk before a single from Jim Macdonald brought the Minutemen to within a single run before Boyland struck out Donato to finally end the deluge.
UMass completed the comeback in the bottom of the ninth. Boyland struck out Mike Gedman to start the frame before Tom Conley doubled to right. Matt Gedman then singled in pinch runner Peter Copa to tie the game at nine. Boyland got Multner to line out for the second out before Ryan Kemp was called in from the bullpen. Kemp issued an intentional walk to Boone before uncorking a wild pitch. However, with the winning run 90 feet away, Austin Weymouth flew out to send the game to extra innings.
After the Hawks went down in order in the top half of the 10th, Kemp struck out Baudinet for out number one. Macdonald then reached on an error by Cook before Donato went yard to end the game.
Mitchell Eilenberg earned the win for UMass, working 3.2 scoreless innings and ceding just three baserunners. He improved to 2-3 on the year. Kemp took the loss, falling to 1-2. He gave up just one hit, the home run to Donato, while walking and striking out one.
Barnathan shined in his long relief appearance, twirling 6.1 innings of shutout baseball. He gave up just two hits and two walks while striking out one.
At the plate, Cook was 4-for-6 with three runs scored. Smith and Oriente added three hits apiece; Smith also contributed a run scored while Oriente scored twice and drove in two more.
Saint Joseph's will return to the Philadelphia area for a game on Wednesday afternoon at Villanova. First pitch is slated for 3:15 p.m. at Villanova Ballpark in Plymouth Township, Pa.