NORFOLK, Va. – A sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth pushed Old Dominion past the Saint Joseph’s baseball team, 7-6, at the Bud Metheny Complex on Sunday night in the finale of the ODU Baseball Tournament.
With the game tied entering the ninth, Deon Stafford, Jr., led off with a walk and went to second on a single by Cal Jadacki. After a balk advanced the runners, Dominic Cuoci’s two-run single gave the Hawks a 6-4 lead before Brett Smith stranded Cuoci at second with three consecutive strikeouts.
In the bottom half of the inning, Vinnie Pasquantino drew a lead-off walk from Hayden Seig and advanced to third on a single by pinch hitter Shaun Wood. Pinch runner Carson Henry then moved up to second on a wild pitch before a balk scored Pasquantino and put the tying run on third. Two batters later, pinch hitter Turner Bishop tripled to right, tying the game and setting up Nick Walker for the game-ending sacrifice fly.
Saint Joseph’s (0-6) drew first blood right out of the gate. With one out in the first, Stafford singled and Jadacki doubled to bring up Cuoci, whose single to center plated both runners and gave the Hawks a 2-0 lead.
The Hawks doubled the lead in the top of the third. After a one-out single by Jadacki and a double from Cuoci, Charlie Concannon followed with an RBI groundout to make it 3-0 and chase ODU starter John Wilson from the game. Brian Lau then greeted reliever Culver Lamb with a double to score Cuoci and extend the margin to 4-0.
Old Dominion (5-1) put a runner on second with nobody out in the bottom of the frame, but a pair of sharp defensive plays at third base by Marc Giacalone helped strand the runner and keep ODU off the board.
The Monarchs notched their first hit of the game with two outs in the fourth when Lamb went deep to right to cut the Hawk lead to 4-1.
ODU tied things up in the sixth, however, as Lamb brought home a pair with a single and Zach Rutherford scored on a wild pitch.
SJU had an opportunity to go ahead in the top of the eighth, as Matt Maul and Peter Sitaras singled to put runners on the corners with two down, but ODU’s Craig Lopez wiggled out of the jam with a fly ball to keep the game tied. The Monarchs then had a chance to take the lead in the bottom half, but second baseman Taylor Boyd made a backhanded stop on a ground ball up the middle to prevent a run and end the inning.
Smith was credited with the win despite allowing two runs on three hits and a walk in his lone inning of work. Seig took the loss, allowing three runs on four hits and a walk while fanning three in two and two-thirds innings of relief. Neither starter factored into the decision, as Wilson allowed four runs on five hits in two and two-thirds innings, while Lucas Rollins was charged with four runs on four hits, walking two and striking out four, in six innings.
Batting in the heart of the order, Stafford, Jadacki, and Cuoci combined to go 7-for-11 and scored all six runs for the Hawks on the day. Cuoci drove in four runs on Sunday and totaled nine RBI for the weekend.
Saint Joseph’s returns to the diamond at Stetson on Friday night. The Hawks will meet the host Hatters in the Stetson Invitational at 7:00 p.m.