PHILADELPHIA - Saint Joseph's sophomore Ashley Ventura tossed the 11th no-hitter in program history and classmate Amanda Kulp set a new single-season record for stolen bases with her 26th and 27th as the Hawks swept a doubleheader at La Salle on Thursday.
The Hawks (20-22, 11-5 Atlantic 10) began the day with a 9-0 victory over the Explorers in six innings behind Ventura's dominance, while SJU kept the Explorers' bats quiet in the nightcap in a 1-0 win.
Just the seventh SJU pitcher to post a no-hitter, Ventura was stellar in the opener as she held the Explorers hitless and added a pair of strike outs, while issuing just one walk and hitting one batter to improve to 12-10 on the season.
Saint Joseph's offense started the first game with a bang as the Hawks plated five runs on five hits. Leading off with a single, Kulp quickly etched her name into the record books as she stole second base for her 26th on the year to surpass the previous single-season mark of 25 set by Dana Parks in 2013.
Kulp would come around with the first run of the inning as she scored on an RBI single by Stacey Mayer. Following a two-run single by Kaylyn Zierke, junior Taryn Grober drilled a two-run home run over the left field wall to make it 5-0.
La Salle kept the Hawks' bats at a distance for the next four innings, while Ventura did the same to the Explorers.
Zierke got SJU's offense back on track in the sixth with a two-run homer that scored Sarah Ostaszewski. Following an out and single by junior Lauren Reilly, freshman Molly Kapala homered to left to push the lead to 9-0.
Three outs away from a no-hitter, Ventura got some help from her defense, including a highlight-reel catch by Madeline Brunck for the second out, followed by Brunck catching a pop-up in foul territory to end the game.
At the plate, Zierke went 2-for-3 with four runs batted in and two runs scored, while seven other Hawks picked up a hit.
In game two, Saint Joseph's again struck first with a similar blue print as Kulp singled and stole second. She'd come around to give SJU a 1-0 lead on an RBI double by Mayers.
From there, it was a pitching duel. SJU starter Madison Clarke allowed just one hit over four innings, before giving away to the bullpen.
La Salle threatened in the fifth with the bases loaded and no outs, but Ventura proved clutch as she induced a double play, then got a fly out to end the scoring chance.
Down 1-0 in their final at-bats, the Explorers had a chance to tie the game with a runner at third and one out. However, Ventura got a ground out and fly out to pick up her third save of the season and preserve the win for SJU.
Clarke struck out a pair over 4.0 innings to improve to 6-6 on the year, while Ventura worked three scoreless innings.
Saint Joseph's returns to action this weekend with a three-game home series versus George Washington, starting with a doubleheader on Saturday set to begin at noon.