MERION STATION, Pa. – A four-run fifth inning for Villanova spelled doom for the Saint Joseph’s baseball team as the Hawks’ winning streak came to an end with a 7-3 loss to Villanova in the Liberty Bell Classic quarterfinals.
Villanova (3-12) loaded the bases in each of the first two innings but failed to score. After walks to three of the first four batters of the game, Jake Meyers came on in relief and struck out Brandon Campos and induced a grounder from David Gulati to keep the Wildcats at bay. A walk and two singles loaded the bases again in the second, but Meyers fanned Todd Czinege to keep things scoreless.
The Wildcats broke through in the fifth as Czinege led off the frame with his second home run of the season. Two more hits and an error allowed three more runs to score and give Villanova a 4-0 lead midway through the game.
Saint Joseph’s (5-12) scratched out a run in the home half of the sixth as Cal Jadacki singled home Matt Cuppari, but the Wildcats got it back in the top of the seventh on a fielder’s choice bunt by Timothy Lilly.
The Hawks cut the deficit in half in the bottom half as reliever Jake Esp issued consecutive walks to Matt Maul, James McConnon, and Peter Sitaras to load the bases with nobody out. Ryan Doty came on in relief, and after a flyout by Marc Giacalone, Cuppari hit a fielder’s choice ground ball to short that led to an error on Czinege on the relay; Maul and McConnon scored on the play to get the Hawks back within two at 5-3.
Charlie Concannon nearly tied the game with a long home run down the right field line, but the ball tailed just foul, and Doty was able to escape the jam without further damage.
The Wildcats got both runs back right away in the eighth, loading the bases with two outs before David Rodgers singled home a pair to restore the four-run margin.
Doty then finished the game for Villanova, earning his first save of the season and preserving the win for Hunter Schryver, who allowed one run on five hits and one walk while striking out nine in six innings to improve to 2-3. Matt Morella took the loss for SJU; he falls to 0-1.
The Hawks will open conference play on Friday night at Davidson. First pitch from Wilson Field is set for 6:00 p.m.