May 22, 2010
CAMDEN, N.J. - A valiant late-inning comeback wasn't enough as the Saint Joseph's baseball team lost a heartbreaker in its season finale, 3-2, to visiting Xavier on Saturday afternoon at Campbell's Field.
The loss eliminated SJU from Atlantic 10 Tournament contention.
Xavier (25-30 overall, 18-9 Atlantic 10) opened the scoring in the top of the third. After Drew Schmidt and Phil Bauer drew two-out walks, Ben Thomas singled up the middle to plate Schmidt with the game's first run.
The Musketeers added one in the fourth on a two-out single by Patrick Paligraf to double their lead.
Saint Joseph's (18-29 overall, 13-14 Atlantic 10) got one back in the bottom of the seventh after a leadoff walk to Kevin Taylor and a double to left by Ryan McDonald. Three batters later, Mike Coleman lofted a sacrifice fly to center to bring home pinch runner Brian Hartsell and cut the lead to one.
XU pushed a singleton across in the top half of the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Paligraf to restore the two-run advantage.
David Valesente a two-out double to right center in the bottom of the eighth, but a rocket off the bat of Hartsell was caught on the run by center fielder John McCambridge in front of the wall in right center to deny the Hawks a run.
The hit was the 216th of Valesente's career, leaving him fifth in program history.
McDonald led off the ninth with a triple off the wall in right field before coming in on a groundout by Mike Plakis, but Musketeer closer Seth Willoughby recorded a strikeout to lock down his sixth save of the season.
Saint Joseph's finishes the season with 13 conference wins, the most in school history. The game also marked the final contest in the careers of 12 graduating seniors: Hartsell, McDonald, Valesente, Matt Barnathan, Mike Boyland, Doug DiSandro, Quentin Farr, Pat Monaghan, Randy Mower, Dewey Oriente, Adam Rivera, and Drew Smith.