MERION STATION, Pa. – The Saint Joseph's baseball team dropped the middle game of a three-game set on Friday, falling to La Salle, 7-1, at Smithson Field.

La Salle (20-19 overall, 2-9 Atlantic 10) took the lead in the top of the second on a two-run home run for the second consecutive day as Jack Cucinotta went deep to right center to bring home Tatem Levins, who led off the frame by reaching on an error.

The Explorers extended the lead to five in the fourth on consecutive run-scoring hits by Ross Mulhall, Peyton Sorrels, and Tommy Toal.

Saint Joseph's (13-20 overall, 6-5 Atlantic 10) got on the board in the fourth as Jake Artz led off with a double and then scored on a single by Liam Bendo.

Levins then led off the fifth with a walk before Cucinotta followed with his second home run of the day to make it a 7-1 game.

The Hawks had chances late, putting two runners aboard in each of the final three innings, but La Salle relievers Matt Holt and Connor Hinchcliffe were able to work out of the jams and preserve the win for starter Colin Scanlon.

Scanlon allowed one run on five hits in five innings to improve to 4-2 on the season.  Matt Kennedy took the loss, charged with six earned runs on seven hits in five and two-thirds innings; he falls to 3-3.  Cole Stetzar pitched well in relief for SJU, tossing three and a third hitless innings.

The Hawks and Explorers will play the rubber game of the series on Saturday.  First pitch at Smithson Field is set for noon.