DAYTON, OHIO – Luke Zimmerman and Cole Stetzar combined for seven and two-thirds innings of shutout relief on Saturday as the Saint Joseph’s baseball team came back from an early deficit to top Dayton, 7-6, at DP&L Stadium.
Dayton (23-20-1 overall, 11-6 Atlantic 10) jumped out to an early lead, plating four runs on five hits in the bottom of the first inning. The Hawks cut into the margin in the top half of the second as Dominic Cuoci and Jake Artz started things off with consecutive singles before an error moved them up to second and third with nobody out. Two batters later, Kadar Namey worked a walk, and ball four got past the UD catcher and allowed Cuoci to score.
Matt Cuppari then came to the plate and hit a ground ball that was misplayed by shortstop Benjamin Blackwell, allowing Artz to score and make it a 4-2 game.
The Flyers got both runs back in the bottom of the frame, but the Hawks would take over from there. Namey led off the fourth with a double before coming in on another error by Blackwell to make it 6-3.
The Hawks got back within a run in the fifth as Andrew Cossetti led off with a single before Nate Thomas doubled to put runners on second and third. Cuoci then followed with a sacrifice fly to score Cossetti before Artz brought Thomas home with an RBI groundout.
Saint Joseph’s (16-21 overall, 8-6 Atlantic 10) went ahead for good in the sixth. A one-out single by Cuppari was followed by a single from Brendan Hueth to once again give SJU runners on second and third. UD’s Tyler Jones then uncorked a wild pitch that brought Cuppari home to tie the game before an RBI single by Cossetti scored Hueth with what turned out to be the winning run.
Zimmerman allowed just a single baserunner in each of his four full innings of work before Stetzar came on to retire the final nine batters of the game, including striking out the side in the eighth. Zimmerman earned the win to improve to 2-0, while Stetzar recorded his first save of the season. Jones took the loss for the Flyers, allowing a run on five hits, a walk, and two wild pitches in three and two-thirds innings of work.
Neither starter figured into the decision, as Matt Kennedy was lifted in the second for Zimmerman after being charged with six runs on six hits, and UD’s Ben Hughes came out after allowing a run on four hits and three walks in three innings.
The teams will play the rubber game of the series on Sunday. First pitch at DP&L Stadium is set for 10:30 a.m.