PORTLAND, Ore. – The Saint Joseph’s baseball team saw its offense come alive for the first time this season on Sunday afternoon as the Hawks belted out 12 hits en route to a 9-8 win over Portland at Joe Etzel Field in the series finale between the two teams.
Portland (3-4) took the lead in the bottom of the first as a walk, a single, and a pair of stolen bases put runners on second and third with nobody out. Daniel Lopez followed with a sacrifice fly to score Beau Brundage, but Cole Stetzar induced a pair of groundouts to limit the damage.
Saint Joseph’s (1-3) then broke out for four runs in the top of the second. Matt Maul led off with a single before a throwing error on a ground ball by McConnon left two on with nobody out. After a passed ball and a Matt Cuppari walk, Brian Markoski’s infield single brought home Maul to tie the game.
With the bases loaded, Jake Artz earned his first career runs batted in with a two-run double down the line to give the Hawks a 3-1 lead. Two batters later, Hueth singled in Giacalone, who had reached on a fielder’s choice, to extend the lead to 4-1.
The Pilots chipped away, tying the game with a run in the third and two in the fourth. Ryan Kim’s RBI groundout brought home Chad Stevens to cut the SJU lead to 4-2 before Chris Arpan’s two-run shot in the fourth knotted the game at four apiece.
The Hawks went back on top right away in the top of the fifth. Giacalone led off with a single and Hueth drew a walk to chase starter Jordan Horak from the ballgame. Concannon then reached on an error to load the bases, and after a pair of outs, McConnon’s infield single and a throwing error allowed two runs to score and put the Hawks back in front. Cuppari then walked to load the bases for Markoski, whose ground ball led to another throwing error that plated Concannon and restored the three-run advantage,
Concannon then extended the lead in the top half of the eighth with a two-out double that scored Giacalone and Artz and made it 9-4. The insurance proved vital in the bottom half of the frame, as an RBI single by Jace McKinney and a three-run home run by Cody Hawken brought the hosts back within a run heading into the ninth.
Ryan Devine came on for his first collegiate save opportunity, but started the frame by hitting Matt Kelly. After a sacrifice bunt and a strikeout, a wild pitch allowed Kelly to get to third before Brundage walked to put the winning run on first base with two away.
The Pilots thought they had won the game when a fly ball off the bat of Kim headed toward the left field corner, but it curved just foul to keep the at bat going. A few pitches later, Artz snared Kim’s line drive to left to end the ballgame.
Devine saved the game for reliever Brian Edgington, who allowed four runs on four hits, striking out five and walking none, in four innings. Stetzar was charged with four runs on three hits, adding a pair of walks and a strikeout, in four innings of his own. Horak was tagged with the loss, falling to 0-2 after allowing six runs – only two of them earned – on seven hits across four-plus innings.
"That was a big win for us; I was proud of the way we stayed with things today in some very tough conditions," head coach Fritz Hamburg said. "A lot of young guys got their first opportunities, and to come away with a win after the way the first three games went made me proud of the way the guys responded. As I alluded to yesterday, I was excited to see how we would respond and I thought we got better at competing today. We still have a long way to go, but today was a step in the right direction."
Saint Joseph’s next heads to East Carolina’s Keith LeClair Classic, where the Hawks meet Missouri State on Friday.