PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – The Saint Joseph’s baseball team will spend its Spring Break in Florida, taking part in the Snowbird Classic at North Charlotte Regional Park. The Hawks will play three games against the Georgetown Hoyas before concluding the trip with a game against the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Saint Joseph’s (5-4) has won four of its last five, including two of three at Smithson Field over the weekend to claim a share of the Big 5 Baseball bash title. SJU fell to Villanova on Friday, but shut out Niagara and routed Temple to tie for the crown.
Junior catcher Brian O'Keefe was named the Atlantic 10 Co-Player of the Week and the Big 5 Baseball Player of the Week after posting a .700 average, four runs scored, and five driven in over the three-game set. Meanwhile, senior hurler Daniel Thorpe earned Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Week accolades with eight shutout innings of five-hit ball in the win over Niagara. He struck out 10 on the day while allowing just one walk.
Senior Jordan Carter also pitched well, tossing seven innings and allowing two runs on four hits to go with five strikeouts in an 11-3 win against Temple. At one point, Carter retired 14 consecutive Owl hitters.
O’Keefe leads the Hawks with a blistering .444 batting average on the young season. He has hit safely in all nine games, and has a 16-game on-base streak stretching back to last season. Chris Hueth, whose .351 average in 2014 ranks second on the team, has reached base safely in his last 22 games, while Tommy Cunningham completes the trio of Hawks to reach base in every game this season.
Hueth’s 11 runs scored are tops on the squad, while Cunningham leads the way with nine runs batted in. O’Keefe ranks second in both categories, scoring seven times while tallying eight RBI.
On the mound, Carter leads the starting corps with a 2-1 record, and over his past two starts, the righthander has posted a 2.25 earned run average. Thorpe sports an impressive 1.89 earned run average through his first three starts and leads the pitching staff in innings (19.0) and strikeouts (17).
Senior Steven Schuler and junior Lansing Veeder have each posted a save thus far; the pair has allowed three hits and no runs over six combined innings. Also seeing a fair amount of work early on have been freshmen Tyler Pallante and Ryan Kelly. Pallante, named the Big 5 Pitcher of the Week on March 4, has a 1.17 ERA in 7.2 innings across four appearances, while Kelly has fanned eight over 5.2 innings in a team-high five appearances.
Georgetown entered its game on Tuesday at 4-7. The Hoya offense is led by Steve Anderson’s .356 average and nine runs batted in, while Ryan Busch’s 10 runs scored are a team best. AC Carter and Eric Webber have also drawn eight free passes apiece to lead GU.
Will Brown and Matt Smith have made four starts each for the Hoyas, while Matt Hollenbeck leads the pitching staff in overall appearances with five. Hollenbeck’s 18 strikeouts are a team-best, while his 1.26 ERA is tops on the squad among qualifying pitchers.
For Iowa (9-4), Jake Yasinich leads the way with a .417 average and 14 runs scored. He has also gone a squad-best 10-of-11 on stolen base attempts as well. Jake Mangler leads the Hawkeyes in RBI with 14, while Blake Hickman has provided power with three home runs, 10 RBI, and 12 runs scored. As a team, Iowa boasts a .305 batting average.
Andrew Hedrick and Tyler Peyton have notched two wins apiece for the Hawkeyes, while Nick Hibbing has saved a pair of games. Calvin Mathews leads all qualified pitchers with a 2.86 ERA, while his 18 strikeouts are also a team-best.
The Hawks and Hoyas will meet on Wednesday, March 12, at 2:30 p.m. Game time on Friday is set for 3:00 p.m., while first pitch on Saturday is slated for 11:30 a.m. Sunday’s tilt with Iowa will begin at 10:00 a.m.