May 5, 2012
MERION STATION, Pa. - Saint Joseph's graduate student Alex Pracher tossed a two-hit shutout and Anthony Cirillo hit a pair of sacrifice flies to lead the Hawk baseball team past George Washington, 4-0, on Saturday afternoon at the newly-christened John W. Smithson Field.
Pracher struck out 10 Colonials and allowed just two hits, walking five batters, en route to his third complete game and first shutout of the season.
The shutout almost ended before it started as George Washington (17-30 overall, 3-14 Atlantic 10) loaded the bases in the top of the first on a hit batsman, a single, and a walk. However, Pracher fanned Jimmy Best to end the inning unscathed.
Saint Joseph's (21-24 overall, 11-5 Atlantic 10) had the next scoring opportunity in the bottom of the fourth as Brian O'Keefe walked and reached third and Chris Hueth reached on an error and got to second with two outs, but GW starter Craig LeJeune induced a groundball to end the threat.
The Hawks finally broke through in the fifth when, with two outs and runners on first and second and Kevin Taylor at the plate, LeJeune uncorked a wild pitch on a 2-0 count to advance the runners to second and third. With first base open, the Colonials elected to intentionally walk Taylor, but LeJeune's pitch sailed past catcher Ryan Thomas and allowed Ryan Pater to give the Hawks the 1-0 lead.
SJU added a pair in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Cirillo and a single by Pater.
Stefan Kancylarz led off the bottom of the eighth with a single and eventually came around to score on Cirillo's second sacrifice fly of the day to close the scoring.
Pracher kept the Colonials off balance all afternoon, allowing just the two hits and only allowing one runner past second base after the first inning. He improved to 4-7 on the season, while LeJeune fell to 1-3.
Saturday was SJU Baseball Alumni and Family Day on the Maguire Campus. In a pre-game ceremony, Saint Joseph's Director of Athletics Don DiJulia shared the news that the Board of Trustees announced on Friday that the Maguire Campus baseball field would be named in honor of John W. Smithson, '68, a Saint Joseph's Baseball Hall of Famer and the current Interim President of Saint Joseph's University.
Later, the Phillie Phanatic made a surprise appearance at Smithson Field to honor DiJulia as the longtime athletic director celebrated his birthday on Saturday.
The teams will close out the series at noon on Sunday.