MERION STATION, Pa. – The Saint Joseph’s baseball team sent 11 batters to the plate in the seventh inning, scoring five runs before an out was recorded en route to a 6-3 comeback win over Manhattan at Smithson Field on Sunday afternoon.
“I was proud of the way we stayed the course today,” head coach Fritz Hamburg said. “We missed on a few opportunities early, but I thought we stayed with the game.”
Manhattan (7-10) went ahead in the third. Justin Aungst started the inning with consecutive strikeouts, but a single by Adam Genners and three consecutive doubles by Will Trochiano, Matt Forlow, and Fabian Pena put the Jaspers on top, 3-1.
Aungst settled in, however, and allowed just one more hit over his final four innings of work, keeping the Hawks in the game. His teammates rewarded him in the bottom of the seventh.
Matt Cuppari led off the frame with a double, and after a walk by Jake Artz, Giacalone singled to score Cuppari and get the Hawks within a run. Matt Maul followed with a walk to bring up Charlie Concannon, whose ground-rule double to center brought home a pair and put SJU in front, 4-3.
The Hawks would extend the margin to 6-3 as McConnon followed with another single and Dominic Cuoci added a run-scoring hit of his own.
Aungst claimed his first win of the season, allowing three runs on six hits, striking out six and walking one in seven innings. Joe DiTorrice took the loss, allowing five runs on five hits in one inning in relief of Joe DiNizio, who surrendered a run on five hits in five innings.
“A lot of credit to Justin for the way he threw the ball today,” Hamburg said. “He got through a tough third inning and honestly, I thought he threw quality pitches in that inning for the most part. I was very pleased that he was able to execute his pitches in innings four through seven and adjust to Manhattan's offensive approach. His performance kept us within striking distance and as a result, we cashed in late in the game and that was enough for us to win the ballgame.”
Giacalone and McConnon led the Hawk offense with three hits apiece; Giacalone also scored a pair of runs while McConnon and Concannon drove in two each.
“Marc had a very solid last two days, as did the middle of our order,” Hamburg said. “I feel like the quality of our at bats is definitely moving in the right direction. Equally, I felt like we did a very nice job defensively. We picked the ball up very well, which got us in the dugout and gave us time to keep offensing.
“I’m very pleased with how this group has progressed,” he continued. “We are a much different club than the first or, for that matter, the second weekend. We just needed to be patient with things and I feel like the work and preparation that the players have put in is starting to come out. We are looking forward to getting back on the field Tuesday and Wednesday and are certainly excited to get conference play started this next weekend with Saint Louis coming to town. This will be the first opportunity now with Spring Break in the books for the students and our SJU community to see their baseball team. I am anticipating that we have a good turnout and support from our fans as our home schedule starts to get underway.”
The Hawks are scheduled to host Villanova on Tuesday before visiting Bucknell on Wednesday. Saint Louis then comes to Hawk Hill on Friday to kick off the Atlantic 10 slate.