PHILADELPHIA – The Saint Joseph’s baseball team turned in its second consecutive 17-hit performance on Sunday afternoon, outslugging La Salle, 13-7, to earn a weekend sweep at Hank DeVincent Field. Mike Muha notched another four-hit game, while Brian O'Keefe rapped out three hits of his own.
For the sixth consecutive game, Saint Joseph’s (26-10 overall, 13-4 Atlantic 10) tallied in the first inning, taking a quick 3-0 lead against La Salle starter Shawn O’Neill. Chris Hueth led off with a single and stole second before scoring on O’Keefe’s RBI single. Collin Forgey was then hit by a pitch and Tommy Cunningham walked to put two on for Muha, who ripped a single to right to score Forgey. Stefan Kancylarz then sent a sacrifice fly to left to score Cunningham and give the Hawks a three-run advantage.
La Salle (11-28 overall, 6-10 Atlantic 10) tied things up in the bottom half, however, scoring three runs on two hits and an error to make it a 3-3 game.
The Hawks restored the three-run margin in the second as Tim Craig hit an RBI single and Cunningham ripped a two-out, two-run double to right to put SJU ahead, 6-3.
Taylor Boyd added a sacrifice fly in the third to extend the lead to 7-3.
The Explorers halved the deficit in the fourth as a pair of errors put two on with two outs. Consecutive singles by George Smith, Jr., and Justin Korenblatt cut the Hawk lead to 7-5.
SJU responded in the fifth. Cunningham reached on an error and Muha singled before the pair advanced to second and third on a passed ball. Two batters later, Kevin Kratochwill singled to score both runs and make it a 9-5 game. After a fielder’s choice left Boyd on first with two outs, Craig doubled him in before scoring himself on an error for an 11-5 lead.
The Hawks extended the lead to eight in the seventh. Hueth led off with a double before Forgey doubled him in two batters later. Cunningham followed with an infield single before Muha ripped his fourth hit of the game, an RBI double to left center, to push the lead to 13-5.
La Salle added two more in the bottom of the inning, starting the frame with a single and a double and getting an RBI groundout from Joey Ravert and a sacrifice fly from Derek Prucnal to cut the SJU lead to 13-7.
The Explorers threatened again in the eighth, loading the bases with one out, but Lansing Veeder fanned Cameron Johnson and Josh Savakinus to escape the threat before Steven Schuler closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.
Matt Haskins earned the win in relief, his first of the season, after allowing two runs on three hits in two and a third innings. O’Neill took the loss for La Salle, allowing nine runs, seven earned, on eight hits in four and a third.
Muha finished the series 10-for-16 with five runs scored and seven RBI in the series. As a team, the Hawks hit .339 and outscored the Explorers, 31-13, during the three-game set.
Saint Joseph’s returns home for a non-conference game with Rider on Tuesday afternoon. First pitch from Smithson Field is set for 3:00 p.m.