ELON, N.C. - Saint Joseph's freshman Sarah Ostaszewski connected on her second home run of the season and sophomore pitcher Ashley Ventura went five strong innings as the Hawks' downed Wagner, 8-2, in the opening game of the Elon Softball Tournament on Friday.
The Hawks (1-5) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first behind Ostaszewski's team-leading second home run of the season. Following a one-out single by rookie Jancarla Herrera, Ostaszewski drilled a two-run shot down the left field line to give Saint Joseph's the early lead.
Saint Joseph's pushed its lead to 6-0 behind four runs in the fifth. Junior Lauren Reilly plated the first run as she scored off a wild pitch, while rookie Ashley Stokes pushed the lead to 5-0 on a two-run double that scored Ostaszewski and sophomore Raelynn Genovese.
The Seahawks cut SJU's lead to 6-2 in the bottom of the fifth on a double and fielding error. However, Ventura got Saint Joseph's out of trouble as she got Hana Gilbert to foul out with two runners on.
Sophomore Abigail Stroud put SJU ahead 7-2 in the sixth as she scored on a throwing error off a fielder's choice by Herrera and followed with a sacrifice fly in the seventh that scored Molly Kapala to make the lead six again.
The six runs were more than enough support for Stokes who relieved Ventura in the sixth. Stokes scattered three Wagner hits over two innings, while adding a pair of strike outs.
For the game, nine different Hawks combined for their nine hits, while Ostaszewski and Stokes picked up a pair of RBIs. In the circle, Ventura improved to 1-2 as she struck out eight, while allowing one earned run on four hits over five innings.
The Hawks return to action on Saturday as they open play versus Iona at 10 a.m. and follow with a 12:15 p.m. rematch with Wagner.