MERION STATION, Pa. – The Saint Joseph’s baseball team opened Atlantic 10 play in style, pounding out 13 hits – including six for extra bases – en route to an 11-5 win over George Mason at Smithson Field on a blustery Friday afternoon.  Dominic Cuoci was 4-for-5 on the day and scored three runs.

Saint Joseph's (8-10 overall, 1-0 Atlantic 10) took the lead right out of the gate as James McConnon and Nate Thomas hit consecutive two-out singles before Cuoci reached on an error to bring home the game's first run.

The Hawks then took advantage of the windy conditions in the second as Kadar Namey led off with a solo home run to right, and after a walk by Matt Cuppari, McConnon hit a two-run shot of his own to extend the lead to 4-0.

After Jordan DiValerio sent down the first 10 hitters of the game, George Mason (10-10 overall, 0-1 Atlantic 10) got back into it in the top of the fourth, cutting the advantage to one on a three-run home run by Tim Quinn.

SJU got one back in the fifth as Cuoci singled and Andrew Cossetti doubled him home.  The Hawks then broke the game wide open in the seventh, plating four runs on just two hits.

Thomas led off the frame with a walk before moving up on a single by Cuoci.  Cossetti then followed with a single to score Thomas and make it a 6-3 game.  After a pitching change, Jake Artz and Namey drew consecutive walks to force in a run and restore a four-run margin; the Hawks then scored twice more when Mason’s Hugh O’Hara uncorked a pair of wild pitches and took a 9-3 lead into the eighth.

Logan Driscoll went deep for the Patriots in the top of the eighth, and his two-run shot brought the visitors back within four, but in the bottom of the frame, Cuoci, Artz, and Namey all hit doubles, the latter two driving in runs, to ice the game for the Crimson and Gray.

DiValerio evened his record at 2-2 on the season, allowing three runs on two hits while walking two and striking out four across six innings.  Jared DiCesare took the loss for George Mason, falling to 1-3 after allowing five runs on eight hits while walking two and fanning three in five innings.  Jose Martinez notched his first save for the Hawks, pitching the final three innings of the game.

The teams will return to Smithson Field for the second of the three-game series on Saturday afternoon.  First pitch is set for 2:00 p.m.

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