PHILADELPHIA – The Saint Joseph's baseball team will head across town for a three-game weekend series at La Salle. First pitch in the series opener is set for 3:00 p.m. on Friday at Hank DeVincent Field.
SAINT JOSEPH'S (23-10, 10-4) at LA SALLE (11-25, 6-7)
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Friday, 3:00 p.m.: RHP Daniel Thorpe (SJU) vs. RHP Shane Hollman (LAS)
Saturday, 1:00 p.m.: RHP Jordan Carter (SJU) vs. RHP Joey Ravert (LAS)
Sunday, Noon: RHP Tyler Pallante (SJU) vs. LHP Shawn O'Neill (LAS)
• The Hawks are Liberty Bell Classic champions for the second time in three years as Saint Joseph’s topped La Salle, 10-3, at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday night. The title is the second for the Hawks in four championship game appearances.
• Collin Forgey set a pair of school records on Tuesday. His six hits and six singles eclipsed the previous school bests of five hits and four singles in one game.
• Jordan Carter shared Big 5 Pitcher of the Week honors after his four-hit complete game on Saturday against Dayton.
• This weekend is the first time the Hawks have played a series at La Salle since 2009. SJU ended the 2008 season at Hank DeVincent Field, and opened the 2009 A-10 slate at 20th and Olney as well.
LAST TIME OUT...
...Saint Joseph’s rallied from a three-run deficit to beat Villanova, 7-6, on Wednesday afternoon. Trailing 6-3, the Hawks scored three in the fifth to tie the game before Mike Muha singled in what turned out to be the winning run in the sixth. Steven Schuler notched his team-high third save in the game as well.
On Tuesday night, SJU won its second Liberty Bell Classic title in three years with a 10-3 win over La Salle at Citizens Bank Park. Collin Forgey set a pair of school records in the game, rapping out six hits, all singles, to go with four RBI. Stefan Kancylarz also drove in three with his first home run of the season in the first inning.
Last weekend, the Hawks took two out of three from visiting Dayton. Muha’s walk-off home run on the first pitch of the bottom of the ninth gave the Hawks a 3-2 win on Friday, while Jordan Carter unfurled a four-hit complete game on Saturday as the Hawks won the series with a 10-2 rout of the Flyers. Carter did not allow a hit after the third inning and retired 15 of 16 hitters in the middle innings. For his efforts, Carter was named the Big 5 Co-Pitcher of the Week.
PUTTIN’ ON THE FRITZ: The Hawks have increased their win total in each of Fritz Hamburg’s five previous seasons as head coach. The Hawks have averaged better than 21 wins per season under Hamburg, the highest mark in school history, and Hamburg currently ranks as Saint Joseph’s fourth-winningest coach of all-time.
WELCOME BACK: David Valesente, a 2010 graduate of Saint Joseph’s, has returned to Hawk Hill as a volunteer assistant coach this season. Fifth in program history with 216 career hits, Valesente spent the last three seasons in professional baseball, including a stint with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. Coincidentally, Valesente’s father, George, coached SJU head man Fritz Hamburg when he was an undergrad at Ithaca College.
BIG (5) MEN ON CAMPUS: Formed in 2006 as the Diamond Five, Philadelphia Big 5 Baseball aims to increase exposure for college baseball in the Philadelphia area. The organization selects a Pitcher and Player of the Week throughout the year and names an All-Big 5 Team and award winners at the end of the season.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS: Coaches around the Atlantic 10 have taken notice of the resurgence of the Saint Joseph’s baseball program, voting the Hawks sixth in the conference’s preseason poll. It is SJU’s highest preseason league ranking in recent memory.
RUBBER ARM: Senior Steven Schuler set a program record for appearances in a season in 2012, pitching in 30 games for the Hawks. Schuler now holds the program’s career mark as well, pitching in the 74th game of his career on March 22. His 2.86 career earned run average ranks him fourth all-time among SJU pitchers who have thrown 60 innings.
HIT EARLY, HIT OFTEN: Saint Joseph’s is currently outscoring its opposition 44-20 in the first inning of games this season. The Hawks are also outscoring their opponents 56-10 in the eighth inning or later, showing a critical ability to extend leads and come from behind.
HERE’S JOHNNY: Junior catcher Brian O’Keefe is once again on the watch list for the 2014 Johnny Bench Award. Named for Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench, the award is presented annually by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission to the nation’s top collegiate catcher.
THE ‘PEN IS MIGHTY: Senior Steven Schuler and junior Lansing Veeder have provided a shutdown combination at the back end of the Saint Joseph’s bullpen. The pair has combined for 29 appearances and has not allowed a run in 40.2 innings thus far this season. Freshman Tyler Pallante is tied with Veeder for the team lead in appearances.
NO JOKE: The Hawks were down to their final strike in a Liberty Bell Classic quarterfinal against Villanova on April 1 as Ryan Pater faced a 3-2 count. He responded with a two-run single to tie the game, and Steven Schuler notched consecutive strikeouts with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings. The Hawks went on to win, 8-6, in 10 innings, to advance to the semifinals.
RALLY, RINSE, REPEAT: A day after stunning the Wildcats in extra innings, Saint Joseph’s used a six-run eighth inning to beat Villanova, 9-6, on April 2. Villanova led 3-1 after one inning, and despite SJU tying the game in the seventh, the Wildcats batted around and took a 6-3 lead in the top of the eighth. In the bottom of the frame, the Hawks sent 10 hitters to the plate en route to scoring six runs and taking the lead for good.
BANK ON IT: The Hawks returned to the Liberty Bell Classic Championship game for the second time in three years as SJU came from behind to beat Penn, 4-2, in 13 innings on April 8. Collin Forgey hit his first home run of the season, a blast over the wall in center field, to give the Hawks their first lead of the game in the 13th. Steven Schuler tossed a career-high four innings to earn the win.
MONSTERS OF MASH: The Hawk bats exploded at Fordham on April 11 and 12, racking up 30 runs in two games against the Rams. SJU posted a 13-1 win on April 11 before using an 11-run second inning to crush the Rams, 17-1, on April 12. The Hawks have now scored double-digit runs in five of their 11 conference games.
A DAY FOR THE AGES: Jordan Carter had an afternoon to remember at Fordham on April 12. He took a no-hitter into the eighth inning and struck out 15 batters as the Hawks routed the Rams, 17-1. The 15 strikeouts tied a 49-year-old school record set in May of 1965. After his historic performance, Carter pulled in numerous national and regional accolades:
• Collegiate Baseball Newspaper/Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week
• National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Pitcher of the Week
• NCAA.com Top Performer of the Week
• ECAC Division I South Co-Pitcher of the Week
• Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Week
• Big 5 Baseball Pitcher of the Week
POP IN THE CLUTCH: Collin Forgey has a knack for coming through in the clutch during his time on Hawk Hill. He lived up to that reputation once again on April 13, as his two-out, two-run double in the top of the ninth gave the Hawks a 4-3 win at Fordham to complete a series sweep. It marked the seventh time Forgey has scored or driven in the go-ahead/game-winning run in the eighth inning or later in his season and a half at Saint Joseph's:
• April 24, 2013 vs. Delaware (sac fly in the bottom of the 10th)
• April 26, 2013 at Massachusetts (two-run double in the top of the 12th)
• March 1, 2014 vs. Gardner-Webb (scored winning run in the bottom of the 12th)
• April 1, 2014 at Villanova (scored go-ahead run in top of the 10th)
• April 2, 2014 vs. Villanova (two-run single in the top of the 8th)
• April 8, 2014 at Penn (two-run home run in the top of the 13th)
• April 13, 2014 at Fordham (two-run double in the top of the 9th)
BE LIKE MIKE: The Hawks had led 2-0 for most of the afternoon on April 18, but a two-run eighth tied the game between Saint Joseph’s and Dayton heading to the ninth. Mike Muha led off the inning and ended any drama right away, hitting the first pitch of the inning over the fence in left to give the Hawks a 3-2 walk-off win.
RING FOR THE BELL: Saint Joseph’s claimed its second Liberty Bell Classic in three years on April 22, beating La Salle by a 10-3 score at Citizens Bank Park. The Hawks scored five runs in the first inning and three in the eighth on the way to the program’s second victory in four title game appearances.
BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG NIGHT: Under the lights at Citizens Bank Park, Collin Forgey etched his name in Hawk baseball lore with a 6-for-6 performance. The graduate student hit six singles, a new school record, and eclipsed the single-game record for hits as well with SJU’s first-ever six-hit game.
AROUND THE A-10: Here’s a look at the rest of the Atlantic 10 schedule for the weekend:
George Washington at Richmond
Massachusetts at Fordham
St. Bonaventure at Dayton
Saint Louis at George Mason
VCU at Rhode Island
SAINT JOSEPH’S RECORD WHEN...
...scoring first: 17-5
...leading after three innings: 12-3
...leading after six innings: 14-1
...leading after seven innings: 16-0
...leading after eight innings: 15-0
...trailing after three innings: 8-6
...trailing after six innings: 5-8
...trailing after seven innings: 3-10
...trailing after eight innings: 3-10
...tied after eight innings: 3-0
...playing extra innings: 4-0
...playing a one-run game: 6-2
...scoring 10 runs or more: 10-0
...scoring three runs or less: 3-7
...allowing 10 runs or more: 0-3
...allowing three runs or less: 18-0
...facing a left-handed starter: 4-5
...facing a right-handed starter: 19-5