PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – Tim Brennan turned in another outstanding performance on Friday afternoon as the Saint Joseph’s baseball team held on for a 3-2 win over Florida International in the Hawks’ first game of the Snowbird Classic at North Charlotte Regional Park.
Brennan pitched into the ninth, allowing just two runs on four hits, striking out seven and walking none, before Steve Powles recorded the final three outs with the tying run 90 feet away for his second save of the season.
"I thought Tim pitched a really good ballgame and really wanted for him to finish the deal,” head coach Fritz Hamburg said. “Although that wasn't in the cards, we were fortunate to have Steve come in in a close situation and shut the door. I’m really excited for him; to shut them down with the tying run at third and nobody out was more than impressive."
Brennan retired the first seven hitters of the game and allowed just three baserunners over the course of the game’s first eight innings, at one point retiring 11 consecutive Panthers. The Hawks needed every out, as FIU’s Tyler Myrick did not allow a hit until the bottom of the sixth inning.
Saint Joseph’s (3-5) was eventually able to break the deadlock in the seventh. Dominic Cuoci led off with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch by Myrick. Matt Maul followed with a single before another wild pitch brought home Cuoci and chased Myrick from the game.
Florida International (6-7) finally got on the board in the top of the ninth. After a pair of singles to start the inning, Brennan hit consecutive batters to score Seth Cannady with FIU’s first run. Powles then came on in relief and allowed Austin Shenton to score on a wild pitch to make it a 3-2 game with runners on second and third.
Despite the threat, Powles locked in, striking out Javier Valdes and inducing a popup from Diandre Amion before fanning Lorenzo Hampton, Jr., looking to end the game.
"I was very pleased today with the team effort,” Hamburg said. “It was a well-pitched ballgame on both sides, and it was good to see us stay the course and for us to string some big hits together. It was nice to see Cole get a big two-strike double to drive in the second run and then for Jake to add to the score with a big single.
“Today was certainly a good way to start the weekend. We have a big day tomorrow with the doubleheader and we’re looking to see how we get better as a group."
The Hawks will take on Western Michigan on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. before meeting Georgetown at 2:00 p.m. After the game against Georgetown, those in attendance as part of the “Hawks Go to Florida” event can join the team for a postgame barbecue at North Charlotte Regional Park.