March 7, 2010
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The Saint Joseph's baseball team took a big first-inning lead and, despite seeing it disappear, eventually broke out to defeat New Mexico State, 35-16, in an offensive explosion the likes of which the program has never seen. The Hawks also pounded out 31 hits in the contest, including three home runs.
The Hawks broke the school record for most runs scored and most hits in a game, eclipsing the previous marks of 25 runs and 26 hits set on May 13, 2001 against Rhode Island. SJU also had 24 singles in Sunday's game, surpassing the 20 the Hawks racked up in that 2001 game against Rhode Island.
Senior Dewey Oriente also notched his 100th career hit in the top of the first. He is the 50th Hawk to achieve the feat.
Saint Joseph's (1-6) had its biggest inning of the season to that point in the top of the first, scoring seven times off of starter Daniel Simon, who was pulled after a third of an inning. Mike Coleman led off the game with a walk, followed by a single from Joe Cook. Oriente then strode to the plate and smacked a double to right center and put the Hawks on top, 2-0.
David Valesente then reached on an error and went to second on a wild pitch. Two batters later, Drew Smith hit a two-run single to double the lead. After a balked advanced him to second, he came around to score on a single by Ryan McDonald. Mike Plakis then hit a two-run home run to right to give the Hawks a seven-run lead.
New Mexico State (9-6) scored once in the first on a single by Ben Harty, but SJU would go ahead 8-1 in the top of the second on an RBI single by Kevin Taylor. The Aggies scored again in the second, on a single by Parker Hipp, but the Hawks answered back with two in the third on a throwing error and a sacrifice fly to push the lead to 10-2.
NMSU would plate eight straight runs, however, with four in the third and four in the fourth. Tyler Owens had a three-run home run in the third and Wade Reynoso sent a pitch into the stands for a three-run bomb of his own in the fourth to tie the game at 10.
After being held scoreless in the fourth, Saint Joseph's came back for four runs in the top of the fifth. An RBI single by Smith and a throwing error by the right fielder allowed Cook and Oriente to score and RBI singles by McDonald and Brett Tiagwad the four-run SJU advantage.
Home runs by Christopher Auten and Leo Aguirre brought the Aggies back within one in the fifth, 14-13, before the Hawks exploded for an eight-spot in the sixth.
Coleman started the inning by reaching on an error. After a walk by Cook, Oriente singled home Coleman to make it 15-13. After a pitching change, Valesente drew a walk to lad the bases before singles by Taylor and Smith brought home a run apiece. McDonald then reached on an error to push the lead to five before Tiagwad's two-run single put the Hawks ahead, 20-13. Three batters later, Cook singled to right and then Oriente singled to center to give Saint Joseph's a 22-13 advantage.
In the top of the seventh, Shane Lynch laced a two-run single to right to increase the margin to 11 at 24-13.
New Mexico State got three back in the bottom half of the seventh as Mike Sodders led off the frame with a solo home run to straightaway center. Four batters later, Aguirre hit a two-run double to cut the lead to eight.
The Hawks went ahead 25-16 in the top of the eighth after Taylor hit into a double play, allowing Oriente to cross the plate after he led off the inning with a single. Smith followed with a single before McDonald homered down the right field line to push the lead back to 11. After a Tiagwad single and a Lynch walk, pinch hitter Brian Hartsell hit a two-run double to score them and push the Hawk lead to 13.
In the top of the ninth, Oriente led off with a single. Valesente followed with one of his own to break the SJU record for hits in a game. Taylor then hit an RBI double to plate Oriente before Smith's sacrifice fly scored Valesente. McDonald then singled home Taylor and, three batters later, Hartsell hit SJU's third home run to center field to post the final three runs on the board for Saint Joseph's.
Ryan Kemp sent the Aggies down in order in the bottom of the ninth to finish off the nearly five-hour contest.
Quentin Farr earned the victory, his first of the season. Matt Kretchmer took the loss for the Aggies.
Oriente finished the game 5-for-7 with five runs scored and five RBI. Smith and McDonald had four hits apiece, driving in five and six runs, respectively. All three scored five runs each. Tiagwad entered as a pinch runner and promptly went 3-for-3 with two runs scored and three RBI. Hartsell came to the plate twice but made the most of his opportunities, going 2-for-2 with a run scored and five driven in.
Saint Joseph's returns to action Tuesday night at Arizona. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m.