RICHMOND, Va. – All nine batters in the starting lineup recorded at least one hit on Saturday afternoon as the Saint Joseph's baseball team topped VCU, 8-6, at The Diamond. Freshman Matt Cuppari had three hits and drove in three runs to lead the way.
Saint Joseph's (14-21 overall, 6-8 Atlantic 10) hung a three-spot on the board in the top of the first inning to take an early lead. Matt Maul led off the game with a single and Cal Jadacki hit one of his own two batters later, leaving runners on the corners with two outs. Charlie Concannon stepped up and singled home Maul to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead and tag VCU starter Brooks Vial with his first run allowed in conference play. Cuppari followed with a two-run triple to score Jadacki and Concannon and make it a 3-0 game.
VCU (26-16 overall, 14-3 Atlantic 10) answered right away as Logan Farrar led off the first with a double and scored on a single by Darian Carpenter. The Rams then added a pair in the third to tie the game after a bases-loaded hit batter and a sacrifice fly by Zac Ching.
Dominic Cuoci put the Hawks back on top in the sixth with a solo home run, his ninth of the season. Cuppari, Peter Sitaras, and James McConnon would follow with three consecutive singles to load the bases for Taylor Boyd, who drew a walk to extend the lead to 5-3 and chase Vial from the game. Reliever Hayden Moore then uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Sitaras to scamper home from third and push the margin to 6-3.
A leadoff double by Brett Willett and an infield single by Ching to start the bottom of the frame put two on with nobody out and ended the afternoon for Justin Aungst. Brian Lau came on and induced a pop fly for the first out, but a Dylan Isquirdo single brought the Rams back within a pair. Daane Berezo then hit into a fielder's choice, but an error allowed Ching to score and cut the deficit to one before a wild pitch scored Isquirdo with the tying run.
Deon Stafford, Jr., led off the seventh with a walk and went to second on a single by Cal Jadacki. Three batters later, Cuppari's RBI single to center plated Stafford and put the Hawks back on top, 7-6. Stafford added an RBI single in the eighth to bring home McConnon, who had led off the inning with a walk, and close out the scoring for the day.
Lau allowed one run on one hit, striking out six while walking none over four innings to get the win and improve to 1-1. Moore took the loss, allowing one run on a hit and a walk in two-thirds of an inning of work.
Neither starter factored into the decision as Aungst was charged with five runs, four of them earned, on six hits in five-plus innings while Vial allowed six runs on nine hits and a walk while fanning four in five and two-thirds innings.
The teams will play the rubber game of the series on Sunday afternoon. First pitch at The Diamond is set for 1:00 p.m.