May 12, 2012
MERION STATION, Pa. - A five-run third inning for La Salle set the tone for the afternoon as the Saint Joseph's baseball team suffered a 12-4 defeat to the Explorers at Smithson Field on Saturday. Senior Kevin Taylor had a two-run home run for the Hawks.
La Salle (19-29 overall, 6-14 Atlantic 10) had a prime scoring opportunity in the top of the first, loading the bases with two outs, but Alex Pracher struck out George Smith, Jr. to end the inning.
The Explorers broke out for five runs in the top of the third to take a four-run lead. Joe Bennie hit a two-run home run down the right field line to put La Salle on top, while four more hits and a pair of wild pitches contributed to the outburst for the Explorers.
SJU had a chance to cut into the lead in the bottom half as La Salle starter Ryan Donahue issued four walks in the inning, but a line drive double play and a fly ball to right allowed Donahue to escape the frame unscathed.
With the bases loaded in the top of the fourth, Smith ripped a double to left to score all three runners and give the Explorers an 8-1 advantage.
After Greg Kumpel ripped a two-out triple to right center, Taylor hit his team-leading fifth home run of the season in the bottom of the fifth to cut the Explorer margin to five.
The home run, the 14th of Taylor's career, tied him for 10th place in program history.
La Salle got both runs back in the top of the sixth as Zack Feierstein laced a one-out double to left to score a pair and push the lead to 10-3. An infield single by Tony Negrin then scored Feierstein to make it an eight-run game.
An RBI single by Kevin Conroy in the top of the ninth closed the scoring for the day.
Pracher recorded all six outs in the first two innings via the strikeout, finishing with eight in three and a third innings. He allowed seven runs, five of them earned, on nine hits and a walk to fall to 4-8 on the year.
Donahue improved to 3-3 with the win, allowing four runs on six hits and five walks in five and a third innings. Caolan Ronan earned his first save of the season, pitching three and two-thirds shutout innings to finish the game.
The teams will play the rubber game of the series on Sunday afternoon. First pitch at Smithson Field is set for noon.