DAYTON, Ohio – The Saint Joseph’s baseball team dropped its series finale at Dayton as the Flyers came away with a 2-1 win at DP&L Stadium on Sunday.
Saint Joseph’s (16-22 overall, 8-7 Atlantic 10) scored its run in the first inning, as the team to score first did not come away with the win in any of the three games of the series. James McConnon drew a one-out walk before advancing to second on a single by Andrew Cossetti; Dominic Cuoci followed with a single of his own to plate McConnon and put the Hawks on top.
The Flyers nearly responded immediately in the bottom of the inning, but SJU starter Ryan Devine induced a double play to end the threat.
UD’s Cole Pletka settled in on the mound, retiring 11 consecutive Hawks and 14 out of 15 through the middle innings. Devine was strong as well, navigating through a first-and-second, one-out situation in the third before sending down five in a row himself. In the bottom of the fifth, the Flyers once again put runners on first and second with one away, but Devine ended his outing with a pair of pop-ups to retain the lead.
Dayton (24-20-1 overall, 12-6 Atlantic 10) went ahead in the sixth. Singles by Eddie Pursinger and Riley Tirotta put runners on the corners with nobody out for Jay Curtis, who tied the game with a sacrifice fly. Benjamin Blackwell then drew a walk to bring up Connor Wilson, who hit a double play ball but reached when the relay throw was offline. That allowed Tirotta to score the go-ahead run and make it a 2-1 game.
The Hawks loaded the bases in the seventh and notched a pair of hits in the ninth, but the lead ultimately held up and the hosts came out on top.
Pletka earned the win, allowing a run on four hits and two walks while striking out nine in six and two-thirds innings. Jose Martinez took the loss for SJU after he was charged with two runs, one of them earned, on three hits in three innings. Justin Longbrake earned his third save of the season with two and a third innings of shutout relief for the Flyers.
Devine didn’t figure into the decision, but finished with four hits and zero walks allowed while fanning a pair in five innings. He also threw four shutout innings without a walk last Tuesday night at Rider.
Saint Joseph’s will return to Smithson Field on Tuesday afternoon for the first of eight consecutive games at home. First pitch against Delaware is set for 3:00 p.m.