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Baseball

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Brian Lau hit his first home run of the season on Saturday
Courtesy: Don Bromberg/DHB Photographs
Baseball Falls in Season-Opening Doubleheader at Pepperdine
Courtesy: SJU Athletic Communications  
Release:  02/18/2017

MALIBU, Calif. – Starting the season a day late, the Saint Joseph’s baseball team dropped both ends of a doubleheader at Pepperdine on Saturday afternoon.

In the opener, Ryan Wilson and Kiko Garcia combined to hold the Hawks to one hit en route to an 8-0 win for the Waves.

Ben Rodriguez drove in the first run of the game for Pepperdine (2-0) as his two-out single gave the home side a 1-0 lead in the first.  The Hawks had an opportunity in the top of the second, loading the bases with one away, but Wilson tiptoed his way out of the jam with a strikeout and a ground ball to keep the Waves on top.

After a three-run third extended the lead to 4-0, a three-run home run from Matt Gelalich in the bottom of the sixth pushed the Pepperdine advantage to seven.  Rodriguez then led off the seventh with a solo shot to cap off the scoring.

Garcia allowed just one hit, a single to Dominic Cuoci, and struck out five in four and a third innings of relief to earn the win.  Wilson fanned five without allowing a hit, but did cede six walks in four and two-thirds innings.

Pat Vanderslice took the loss, allowing four runs on seven hits in three innings of work.

Despite some early offense in the second half of the twinbill, the Hawks couldn’t make the lead stand up as the Waves came from behind for a 7-5 victory.

Saint Joseph’s (0-2) opened the scoring in the top of the first when Deon Stafford, Jr., was hit by a pitch, went to third on a single by Cal Jadacki, and came in to score on a sacrifice fly by Cuoci.

Pepperdine nosed ahead in the bottom half, netting a pair of runs on a throwing error and a sacrifice fly by Rodriguez.

The Hawks answered in the second, however, as Matt Maul led off with a single, went to second on a wild pitch, and came in to score on a two-out double by Taylor Boyd.  Stafford followed with a double of his own to put the Hawks ahead, 3-2.

After Lucas Rollins sent the Waves down in order in the bottom of the inning, Brian Lau hit a two-out home run in the third to double the SJU margin.  Unfortunately for the Crimson and Gray, doubles by Matthew Kanfer and Rodriguez in the bottom of the inning tied the game at four apiece.

Not to be deterred, the Hawks went ahead once again in the top of the fourth as Peter Sitaras beat out an infield single, moved to second on a walk by Boyd, and came in to score on a single by Stafford.

The Waves responded in the home half of the frame, however.  After a walk and a double play, Matt Crowder was hit by a pitch to bring up Quincy McAfee, whose two-run home run to left put the hosts up for good.  Pepperdine added an insurance run in the fifth when Rodriguez went deep for the second time on the day.

SJU had one last shot at equalizing in the top of the eighth, but with two on and two out, Max Green came on and induced a groundout from Jadacki to end the threat before retiring the Hawks in order in the ninth for his first save of the season.

Jonathan Pendergast earned the win for Pepperdine, tossing three and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief, working around four hits and a walk.  Jake Meyers took the loss, allowing two runs on two hits in an inning and a third.

The teams will wrap up the series on Sunday afternoon.  First pitch from Eddy D. Field Stadium is set for 4:00 p.m. Eastern.

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