MERION STATION, Pa. – The Saint Joseph’s baseball team fell to Lehigh, 20-15, in 10 innings in an offensive affair at Smithson Field on Wednesday afternoon.  Each player in the starting lineup for both teams recorded at least one hit, while seven different Hawks scored at least two runs apiece.

Saint Joseph’s (12-14) took a big early lead, plating 11 runs across the first two innings.  With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the first, Dominic Cuoci singled through the left side to give the Hawks the lead.  Kadar Namey then followed with a walk to force in a run before Brian Vance hit a bases-loaded triple to make it a 5-0 game.

It was more of the same in the second, as Liam Bendo singled before Andrew Cossetti doubled him in.  Later in the inning, Namey would hit an RBI single before Jake Artz hit the Hawks’ second bases-loaded triple in as many innings to make it 10-0.  Matt Cuppari followed with a single to score Artz and push the lead to 11-0.

Lehigh (12-16) would begin to chip away, scoring three in the third on a two-run double by Matt Hand and a throwing error later in the inning.  The Mountain Hawks added two more in the fourth on a single by Jeff Shanfeldt and a sacrifice fly by Tony Gallo.

The Hawks got one back in the bottom of the fourth, as Brendan Hueth doubled and scored on a single by Bendo to make it 12-5.

The visitors climbed all the way back in the fifth, sending 12 hitters to the plate and scoring seven runs on eight hits and an error; Hand’s one-out sac fly tied the game at 12-12 before Gallo was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the sixth to give Lehigh its first lead of the day at 13-12.

SJU went back in front in the seventh.  Bendo led off with an infield single before Nate Thomas hit a ground-rule double to right; two batters later, Namey doubled into the left field corner to give SJU a 14-13 lead.

It would be short-lived, however, as Gallo legged out an infield single and stole second base before scoring on a single by Hand in the top of the eighth.

The game remained deadlocked until the top of the 10th, when the Mountain Hawks plated six runs on four hits.  Artz then led off the bottom of the frame with a triple and scored on a groundout by Vance, but Hand – who pitched the final three innings after starting the game at shortstop – prevented any further damage to finish off the game.

Hand earned the win to improve to 2-1 on the year; Ryan Devine took the loss in his first decision of the season.

Saint Joseph’s will hit the road for its next five games.  The Hawks will visit Fordham for a key Atlantic 10 series this weekend; the teams will play a doubleheader beginning at noon on Saturday before the series finale at the same time on Sunday.

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