MERION STATION, Pa. – A pair of early home runs put the Hawks on top and an outstanding day on the mound sealed the deal as the Saint Joseph’s baseball team topped Bryant, 5-1, at Smithson Field on Friday afternoon.
Saint Joseph's (3-11) got on the board right away thanks to Deon Stafford, Jr., whose solo home run with one out in the first inning gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead.
The Hawks hung a four-spot on the board in the second to extend the lead. Cal Jadacki led off the frame with a triple into the right field corner, and after Matt Maul reached on a one-out walk, Taylor Boyd ripped a three-run home run over the fence in left to make it a 4-0 SJU lead. Two more walks then led to an RBI single by Charlie Concannon that extended the margin to 5-0.
Bryant (3-15) got one back in the third on a dropped fly ball that allowed Malik Daily to score from second.
Craig Lacey replaced Bryant starter Steve Theetge in the bottom of the third and at that point both pitchers settled into a groove. Lacey allowed one hit and three walks in four innings to keep the Hawks off the board, but Tim Brennan was even better, retiring 12 of the final 14 hitters he faced to maintain the advantage for the Crimson and Gray.
The Hawks had an opportunity to extend the lead in the seventh after Jake Owens walked the first three batters of the inning, but Matt Knych came on the record three consecutive outs and escape the jam.
SJU put a runner on third with two outs in the eighth after Maul recorded his second single of the day, but left fielder Tyler Panno made a play on a sinking liner off the bat of Peter Sitaras to deny the Hawks an insurance run.
Brennan earned the win; he allowed just the one unearned run on three hits in seven innings while striking out six to improve to 2-2 on the season. Theetge fell to 1-5 after allowing five runs on four hits and four walks in two innings. Jake Meyers pitched a pair of shutout innings in relief for the Hawks as well.
The teams will play the second game of the series on Saturday afternoon. First pitch from Smithson Field is set for 2:00 p.m.