MERION STATION, Pa. – James McConnon beat out an infield single – the 100th hit of his career – with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning, and an errant throw on the play allowed Brendan Hueth to score the winning run as the Saint Joseph’s baseball team topped St. Bonaventure, 3-2, at Smithson Field on Friday afternoon.
SBU’s Joshua Pittman notched the first two outs of the inning before Hueth’s line drive out to center fell in for a base hit. Hueth then stole second base on the first pitch to McConnon, leading to a lengthy conference on the mound. Once play resumed, McConnon hit the next pitch to short, where Branden Myers fielded it cleanly, but bounced the throw to first. McConnon had beaten the throw, but the error allowed Hueth to scamper home and give the Hawks the 3-2 walk-off win.
Saint Joseph’s (17-23 overall, 9-7 Atlantic 10) took the lead early on, manufacturing the game’s first run in the bottom of the first inning. Hueth led off with a single before stealing second. A wild pitch then pushed him to third before Dominic Cuoci singled to bring him home and put the Hawks ahead.
Ryan O’Connor led off the fourth with a bunt single for St. Bonaventure (11-25 overall, 5-11 Atlantic 10), and Tyler Kelder followed with his seventh home run of the year to put the Bonnies on top, 2-1.
SJU starter Jordan DiValerio responded by retiring the next 10 hitters he faced, but SBU’s Braydon Nelson was his equal, retiring 14 in a row and keeping the Hawks at bay until the seventh.
Neither team was able to score in the final two innings, sending the game to extra frames. In the top of the 10th, the Bonnies had two on with two outs, but Cole Stetzar came on in relief of Jake Meyers and fanned pinch hitter Ben MacDonald to end the threat.
That kept things tied and set up the finish in the bottom of the inning that allowed the Hawks to come away with the win in the series opener.
Stetzar notched the win to improve to 2-2, while Pittman took the loss to fall to 1-1. Both starting pitchers were outstanding; DiValerio allowed two runs on just four hits and one walk while striking out seven, while Nelson allowed two runs on six hits, struck out seven, and did not walk a batter.
Due to the weather forecast for the weekend in the Philadelphia area, the teams are scheduled to play a doubleheader on Saturday. First pitch in the opener is set for noon at Smithson Field.