March 18, 2008
NORRISTOWN, Pa. - A single down the right field line from shortstop Joe Cook in the bottom of the eighth inning propelled Saint Joseph's to a 7-5 victory over Villanova on Tuesday afternoon at Latshaw-McCarthy Field. It is the first SJU baseball win over the Wildcats since April of 2003. The win is also SJU's fifth straight, marking the longest Hawk winning streak since April of 2002.
Villanova (7-9) scored three in the top of the first inning on two hits and a throwing error. The first run by the Wildcats ended SJU's 27-inning streak without conceding an earned run, and a 22-inning span in which the Hawks did not allow any runs at all.
Saint Joseph's (7-10) got back within 3-2 in the bottom of the first. Jeremy Jakubowski led off for SJU and reached on a fielding error by the third baseman. After a walk by Cook and a single by Drew Smith loaded the bases, a sacrifice fly by junior Ben Wendle brought home Jakubowski. Third baseman Mike Boyland then drew an RBI walk to cut the Wildcat lead to one. Unfortunately for SJU, David Valesente hit a hard ground ball that was speared by shortstop Derek Shunk, and the bases were left loaded.
A James Dolbier home run to straightaway center field in the third put Villanova back up by two, 4-2. In the fourth, second baseman Tim Poydenis was hit by a pitch and came around to score on a single by designated hitter Joe Rosati to extend the `Nova lead back to three.
SJU tallied a singleton in the bottom of the fourth as Matt Barnathan led off the frame with a single and came around to score on a throwing error.
The Wildcats threatened in the top of the sixth, loading the bases on a hit batter, a single, and a walk with nobody out. However, sophomore Doug DiSandro and junior Justin Trudell combined to strike out the side and get out of the inning.
In a perfect inning-and-two-thirds, Trudell struck out four of the five batters he faced.
The Hawks finally broke through to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth. Boyland led off with a single and came around to score on a double to center by Valesente. Two batters later, Jakubowski hit a single deep in the hole at short, bringing Valesente home to knot the game.
In the bottom of the eighth, Valesente and pinch hitter Tim Smith started things off by drawing walks. A sacrifice bunt by Jakubowski put runners on second and third with one out to set the stage for Cook's late-game heroics.
Junior Chris Prescott retired the Wildcats in order in the ninth to end the game. Prescott earned the win, giving up just one hit and striking out four in two innings. He improves to 1-0. Villanova's Gus Guida took the loss, falling to 0-2.
SJU will open Atlantic 10 play on Friday with a doubleheader against George Washington at Barcroft Park in Arlington, Va. The first game is slated to begin at noon.
On Saturday, Saint Joseph's and George Washington will play the third and final game of their series at the brand new Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. at 1:05 p.m.