DAVIDSON, N.C. – A late rally came up short for the Saint Joseph’s baseball team as the Hawks dropped their Atlantic 10 opener to Davidson, 10-7, at Wilson Field on Friday night.

Saint Joseph’s (5-13 overall, 0-1 Atlantic 10) took an early lead after loading the bases in the top of the first.  Marc Giacalone led off the game with a single but was erased on a fielder’s choice by Matt Maul.  Consecutive singles by Charlie Concannon and Brian Lau brought Cal Jadacki to the plate, and his walk scored Maul to put SJU on top.

The lead would be short-lived, however, as an RBI groundout by Brian Fortier in the bottom half of the inning tied things up for the Wildcats.

Davidson (12-12 overall, 3-4 Atlantic 10) took the lead in the third after an error and back-to-back doubles by Alec Acosta and Fortier brought home a pair of runs to make it 3-1.

The Hawks went back in front in the fifth.  Giacalone led off with a single, and two batters later, Lau’s double to left center brought him home to cut the deficit in half.  Jadacki then drew another walk to bring Dominic Cuoci to the plate, and Cuoci made Davidson’s Durin O’Linger pay with a three-run home run to center to give the Hawks a 5-3 lead.

The Wildcats took control in the bottom half of the seventh.  Davidson scored six runs in the frame on an error and three hits, capped off by a grand slam from Brett Centracchio, to take a 9-5 lead.  Fortier then hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth to extend the advantage to five.

Saint Joseph’s mounted one final rally in the ninth as Peter Sitaras hit a one-out solo home run to get the Hawks back within four.  After a walk and an error put runners at the corners, Concannon singled to score Giacalone and make it a 10-7 game.  Two batters later, Jadacki drew his fourth walk of the game to load the bases, but Cuoci hit into a fielder’s choice at third to end the ballgame.

Andrew Ashur tossed a perfect inning of relief to earn his first win of the season for Davidson.  Justin Aungst took the loss to fall to 0-2, while Westin Whitmire got the final two outs of the game to earn his fifth save of the season.

Neither starter figured into the decision after both threw six and a third innings.  Tim Brennan allowed five runs – two earned – on seven hits and three walks while striking out seven for Saint Joseph’s; O’Linger allowed five earned runs on eight hits while also walking three and fanning seven.

The teams will play the second game of the series on Saturday afternoon.  First pitch is set for 2:00 p.m. at Wilson Field.

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