MERION STATION, Pa. – Marc Giacalone’s RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning in game one and Peter Sitaras’ seventh-inning home run in game two powered the Saint Joseph’s baseball team to a crucial doubleheader sweep of Richmond on Sunday.
Saint Joseph’s (12-20 overall, 5-7 Atlantic 10) took game one, 2-1, before the long ball by Sitaras provided all the offense needed in a 1-0 shutout in the nightcap.
With the opener tied at 1-1 heading to the bottom of the ninth, Charlie Concannon led off the inning with a single and was sacrificed to second by Brian Lau. Concannon was replaced by pinch runner Tim Johnson before Cal Jadacki was intentionally walked. Two batters later, Giacalone ripped a 1-2 pitch up the middle for a base hit, scoring Johnson and sending the Hawks streaming out of the dugout to swarm Giacalone and celebrate the end of a five-game losing skid.
Richmond (14-24 overall, 5-7 Atlantic 10) opened the scoring in the second as Jonathan De Marte and Kurtis Brown started the frame with consecutive singles before a sacrifice bunt by Justin Cook and groundout by Kyle Adams scored De Marte with what turned out to be the Spiders’ only run of the day.
The Hawks answered in the third as Sitaras led off with a walk and stole second base before Matt Maul singled to bring him home and tie the game.
Both SJU’s Tim Brennan and Richmond’s Keenan Bartlett were in top form on the mound as neither team mounted much of a threat until the ninth. After Brennan allowed a leadoff double to Kyle Schmidt to start the sixth, he sent down 10 in a row and 11 of 12 to close out an outstanding performance. Bartlett, meanwhile, combined with De Marte to retire 11 Hawks in a row before Concannon’s hit opened up the ninth.
De Marte took the loss, falling to 3-3 after allowing a run on two hits while striking out six. Zach DeVincenzo earned the win with a perfect inning of relief to improve to 2-0. Brennan finished the day with four strikeouts, no walks, and five hits allowed in eight innings.
Game two was another pitcher’s duel, as Justin Aungst and Layne Looney kept both offenses in check for most of the afternoon. After D.J. Lee led off the game with a single, Aungst retired six in a row and 11 of 13 through the game’s first four innings. The Hawks, meanwhile, put a runner on in each of the first seven innings, but Looney prevented anyone from reaching third while allowing two hits and four walks in six innings.
Richmond had an opportunity in the fifth as Cook led off with a single, went to second on a groundout, and then to third on a single by R.J. Watters. After Lee drew a walk to load the bases, Vinny Capra hit a ball to Dominic Cuoci at first; Cuoci fielded the ball and dove to put a tag on Capra just before he reached the bag to end the inning and keep the game scoreless.
Jacob Weis came on in relief of Looney in the seventh, and Sitaras greeted him with a deep fly ball down the right field line that stayed inside the foul pole long enough to give the senior center fielder his second home run of the series and his fourth of the season.
Lucas Rollins came on in relief of Aungst in the sixth and kept the Spiders from threatening until the eighth. Capra beat out an infield single to start the inning before moving to second on a sacrifice bunt and to third on a fly ball. With the tying run 90 feet away, however, Rollins got Brown swinging to end the inning before finishing the game with a pair of strikeouts in the ninth.
Rollins earned the win, allowing three hits while striking out five in four shutout innings to improve to 2-1. Weis fell to 0-1 after allowing the game’s lone run and not retiring a batter.
Aungst turned in a solid start, going five innings and allowing four hits. Aungst, Rollins, Brennan, and DeVincenzo combined to allow a single run on 12 hits and just one walk while fanning 11 in 18 innings of play on Sunday.
The Hawks will hit the road for their next four games, heading to Rider on Wednesday before a three-game set at VCU beginning Friday.