ARLINGTON, Va. – A five-run second inning put the Hawks ahead, and a three-run home run by Deon Stafford, Jr., made sure they stayed there as the Saint Joseph's baseball team held off George Washington, 9-5, at Tucker Field at Barcroft Park on Friday afternoon.
George Washington (29-25 overall, 13-10 Atlantic 10) took an early lead as Cody Bryant's first-inning sacrifice fly put the hosts on top, 1-0.
Saint Joseph's (21-24 overall, 12-11 Atlantic 10) answered with five in the second to go ahead. Marc Giacalone led off the inning with a single before Peter Sitaras followed with one of his own. James McConnon then made it three in a row, plating Giacalone and tying the game at 1-1.
Two batters later, Matt Maul hit into a fielder's choice; the relay throw was errant, allowing Maul to go to second and McConnon to score from second to put the Hawks ahead. Brady Renner then issued an intentional walk to Deon Stafford, Jr., before Charlie Concannon brought home two with a triple and Dominic Cuoci doubled him home to chase Renner and give SJU a 5-1 advantage.
Giacalone then led off the third with a double and came in to score two batters later on a single by McConnon.
The Colonials pulled within three in the fifth as Nate Fassnacht hit a two-out, two-run single to cut the margin to 6-3, but Stafford gave the Hawks some breathing room in the top of the seventh. After consecutive singles by Taylor Boyd and Maul, Stafford took Brandon Ritchie deep to left to make it a 9-3 game.
Brandon Chapman got the Colonials back within four with a two-out, two-run double in the eighth, but Tim Ponto came on in the ninth and worked around a pair of errors to finish off the ballgame.
Justin Aungst allowed three runs on six hits, walking two and striking out three, in six innings to improve to 2-3 on the season. Renner fell to 7-5 after allowing five runs, three of them earned, on six hits and two walks in an inning and two-thirds.
The teams will play the series finale on Saturday at 3:00 p.m.