PHILADELPHIA – Collin Forgey’s two-run home run in the top of the 13th inning propelled the Saint Joseph’s baseball team to a 4-2 Liberty Bell Classic semifinal win over Penn at Meiklejohn Stadium on Tuesday afternoon. By virtue of the win, the Hawks snapped Penn’s 11-game winning streak and will advance to the Liberty Bell Classic championship game, to be held at Citizens Bank Park.
It is the fourth championship game appearance for Saint Joseph’s, and the second in three years, as the Hawks reached the title game in 2012; SJU topped Penn, 6-3, to earn the program’s first-ever Liberty Bell Classic crown.
Penn (15-11) took a 1-0 lead in the home half of the second, as Mike Vilardo was hit by a pitch and Ryan Mincher followed with an RBI double.
Saint Joseph’s (16-9) equalized in the third. Chris Hueth was hit by a pitch to start the inning, and Brian O'Keefe singled to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Two batters later, Mike Muha singled to center, scoring Hueth and tying the game.
An Austin Bossart solo home run put the Quakers back on top, 2-1, in the bottom of the third.
The Hawks tied things up again in the fifth as O’Keefe and Forgey started the inning off with one-out singles. A wild pitch and a passed ball allowed O’Keefe to score and knot the affair at 2-2.
SJU threatened in the ninth, as Kevin Kratochwill led off with a triple, but Kratochwill was retired on a fielder’s choice to leave the game tied.
Penn pitching had retired 10 straight Hawk hitters entering the 13th inning, but O’Keefe legged out a double to lead off the frame and bring Forgey to the plate. The graduate student belted his first home run of the season over the wall in center field to give the Hawks their first lead of the day.
Steven Schuler (3-0) fanned five in a career-high four innings and worked around a two-out double in the 13th to earn the victory. Schuler and Lansing Veeder combined to hold the Quakers to just three baserunners over the final seven innings and retired 11 straight batters between the seventh and 11th innings.
O’Keefe led the way at the plate with a 3-for-5 afternoon, scoring a pair of runs, while Forgey and Muha notched multi-hit games as well.
The Hawks will meet La Salle in the title game after the Explorers routed Delaware, 18-6, on Tuesday. It will be the first time the conference rivals have met in a Liberty Bell Classic game since the Hawks defeated La Salle in the quarterfinals in 2000.
The game is set for Tuesday, April 22, at 7:00 p.m. at Citizens Bank Park, the home of the Philadelphia Phillies.
This weekend, Saint Joseph’s heads to the Bronx to play a three-game series at Fordham. Friday’s series opener is set for a 7:00 p.m. start at Fordham’s Houlihan Park.