April 13, 2012
MERION STATION, Pa. - Kyle Mullen turned in another outstanding performance on Friday afternoon, holding first-place Massachusetts to five hits as the Saint Joseph's baseball team blanked the Minutemen, 6-0, on the Maguire Campus. Mullen tossed a complete game shutout, the third of his career, to power the Hawks to the win. Freshman catcher Brian O'Keefe had three hits and a pair of runs scored in the game.
Mullen allowed five hits and one walk while striking out eight for his third consecutive victory. Saint Joseph's has now won eight consecutive conference series openers dating back to last season; Mullen has started seven of those games. Over the last two seasons, SJU is 9-2 in conference play when Mullen starts.
O'Keefe had a single, a double, and a triple and scored a pair of runs during the game. He also flexed his defensive muscles behind the plate, throwing out three Minuteman base stealers. Every other starter in the lineup notched a hit as well.
Thanks to O'Keefe's performance behind the plate and some outstanding glove work in the field, Mullen faced just two batters over the minimum for the game.
Saint Joseph's (14-20 overall, 5-2 Atlantic 10) jumped ahead in the bottom of the second when O'Keefe's leadoff triple was followed by a single by Stefan Kancylarz that gave the Hawks a 1-0 early lead.
The Hawks tripled the lead when Lansing Veeder's double to the wall in right brought home O'Keefe and Kancylarz with one out in the fourth.
SJU capped the scoring with a three-spot in the sixth. Veeder led off with a walk and was sacrificed over to second by Anthony Cirillo. Ryan Pater followed with a double to right center to plate Veeder before stealing third himself. After Kevin Kratochwill was hit by a pitch, UMass starter Dennis Torres was replaced by Tim Stoops, who promptly walked Tiagwad to load the bases. Greg Kumpel followed and was hit by a pitch himself to score Pater before Kevin Taylor's sacrifice fly brought home Kratochwill with the game's final run.
Torres took the loss to fall to 2-3 on the season. Massachusetts (10-11 overall, 5-2 Atlantic 10) had just one runner reach second base on the afternoon.
The teams will play the second game of the series on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.