PORTLAND, Ore. – The Saint Joseph’s baseball team suffered a pair of setbacks on Saturday, dropping both ends of a doubleheader at Portland’s Joe Etzel Field.
“It was a very challenging day today, and not a good one for sure,” head coach Fritz Hamburg said.
In the opener, the Pilots used a big fifth inning to claim a 6-1 victory.
Both starting pitchers found an early groove, as the Hawks’ Tim Brennan and Portland’s Eli Morse each allowed just two hits over the first four innings. The Pilots broke through in the fifth, however, amassing all the offense they would muster for the contest.
Collin Runge was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame and Matt Kelly followed with single before Tate Budnick was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Chad Stevens then followed with a two-run double to put the Pilots on the board. Beau Brundage then cleared the bases with his first home run of the season; Jace McKinney later added a sacrifice fly to cap off the frame.
Saint Joseph’s (0-3) dinged Morse for five hits over the next three innings, but couldn’t push a run across the plate until the ninth. With two outs, Matt Cuppari singled off of Nick Shur to bring Brendan Hueth to the plate; the freshman came through with a triple to bring home Cuppari and set the final score.
Morse improved to 1-1 on the year after scattering seven hits over eight shutout innings. Brennan took the loss in his season debut, charged with six runs and seven hits in five and a third innings. He struck out seven and did not walk a batter. Charlie Concannon led the Hawk offense with three hits; he added one in the second game for a four-hit day.
In the nightcap, the Pilots took an early lead and rode nine strikeouts from starter Camden Muller to a 9-2 win to secure the sweep.
A Ryan Kim triple was followed by a Daniel Lopez single to put the Pilots on the board in the bottom of the first; Kim then hit a sacrifice fly in the second to double the advantage.
Portland (2-3) opened up a six-run lead in the home half of the sixth inning, as Kim hit a three-run home run and Lopez followed with a solo shot to make it a 6-0 game.
The Hawks scored a run without a hit in the seventh. A pair of walks and a hit batter loaded the bases for Kadar Namey, whose groundout to second scored Matt Maul to give the Hawks their first run of the game.
Hueth and Concannon would then lead off the eighth with consecutive singles; two batters later, Maul singled Hueth home and cut the deficit to 6-2.
Unfortunately for the Crimson and Gray, Lopez hit his second home run of the game, a three-run shot, to set the final margin.
Muller allowed just four hits over six innings to earn the win. Justin Aungst took the loss for SJU, allowing two runs on five hits across five solid innings. He walked three but fanned seven in his first start of the season.
“We have to compete significantly better as a group, in all facets,” Hamburg said. “At this early stage in the season, pitching should always be ahead of the hitting. We haven't hit well or with any consistency, but our pitching hasn't given us much of an opportunity for success either. We've given up big innings in all three games and our command has left a lot to be desired.
“We haven't had a lead in the series, and it's a difficult game as it is, but even more so when we are constantly working out of a hole. Portland has been very aggressive offensively and is playing with no shortage of confidence. It's a long season; we just need to continue to work to stay with how we do things. Tomorrow is another day for us to get better. That's the only thing we have control of. Just as I felt yesterday, I'm excited for us to get back out there tomorrow and see how we respond as a collective group."
The teams are slated to wrap up the series on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern.