Baseball Hits Homestretch as Hawks Host Richmond
Courtesy: SJU Athletic Communications  
Release:  05/10/2007

May 10, 2007

PHILADELPHIA - The Saint Joseph's University baseball team returns home this week to start a six-game homestand that will close out the 2007 season. This weekend, the Hawks will play host to the Richmond Spiders in an Atlantic 10 series. SJU enters play on a two-game winning streak after back-to-back wins at Saint Louis and Rider. The Hawks are 9-34 overall and 5-16 in the Atlantic 10. Richmond is 28-22, 16-5 in conference, and needs just one victory to secure a berth in the 2007 Atlantic 10 Baseball Championship.

On Tuesday, SJU twice scored five runs in an inning to power past the Rider Broncs, 12-1. Sophomore outfielder Ben Wendle continued to lead the Hawk offense, recording four hits, three runs scored, and two RBIs on the day. He also smashed his team-leading sixth home run of the year, a solo shot in the first inning. The Hawks scored five runs in the fourth and five in the seventh to put the game out of reach. Sophomore righthander Justin Trudell picked up the win in relief, his first of the season. The victory was the second in a row for SJU, marking the first time this season the Hawks have won consecutive games.

Richmond was on the wrong end of a lopsided score in the Spiders' last contest. Despite two first-inning runs, Richmond fell to the James Madison Dukes, 15-3, on Wednesday afternoon. The Spiders were victimized by a 10-run JMU fourth, and were never really in the game after that. Sophomore Kyle Leith surrendered seven runs on five hits in his two-thirds of an inning to take the loss and fall to 1-1 on the year. Senior infielder Benji Marshall and junior catcher Hank Coogan each had two hits on the day for the Spiders.

Richmond has a balanced offense, relying on a number of contributors to push runs across the plate. Senior designated hitter Alex Wotring leads the team in batting average (.341) and is second in hits (59) and total bases (90). He is tied for second on the team with six home runs, and is third in RBIs (38) and fourth in runs scored (35). Junior first baseman Joe Mahoney leads both Richmond and the Atlantic 10 with 15 home runs, and is among the conference leaders in hits, runs scored, RBIs, and slugging percentage. Mahoney's 61 hits, 47 runs scored, and 53 runs driven in are all tops on the Spider roster, and his .328 average ties him for second on the squad with Coogan. Senior outfielder Vince Riggi is tied with Wotring with six home runs, and is second on the team with 44 RBIs.

Freshman lefthander Matt Zielinski leads the Spider pitching staff with a 3.55 earned run average. He is 5-3 in 12 appearances (11 starts), and ranks second on the squad with 71.0 innings pitched, 58 strikeouts, and a .265 batting average against. Junior Alex Hale is 7-2, leading Richmond with 14 starts, 84.0 innings pitched, and 84 strikeouts. Junior Brian Alas leads the team and the conference with 30 appearances and 12 saves. He has fanned 57 hitters in 57.0 innings, allowing just 21 walks.

Wendle remains the driving force behind the Saint Joseph's offense. He is at or near the top of the list in every major offensive category for the Hawks. Wendle leads the team in hits (51), runs scored (29), doubles (17), home runs (six), RBIs (34), total bases (86), and slugging percentage (.551). His .327 batting average places him second behind freshman infielder David Valesente (.336) among the Hawk regulars. Valesente ranks second in hits with 43, third in RBIs with 16, and fifth in runs scored with 17. Valesente hit .538 last weekend at Saint Louis, and received Atlantic 10 Co-Rookie of the Week honors for his efforts.

Freshman southpaw Randall Mower has been far and away the top performer on the mound for SJU in 2007. He leads the team with a 4.99 ERA, a 3-4 record, 13 starts, 57.2 innings pitched, and 39 strikeouts. Senior Jeff Williams has made 15 appearances on the season (second behind Mark Imbo's 17), and now sits at 70 in his career, placing him third in SJU program history. Junior reliever Andrew Powers has been reliable of late, lowering his ERA to 5.23 and earning a pair of saves on the season. Freshman Pat Monaghan got his first career win at Duquesne on April 29, and has steadied himself in the bullpen after a rocky start to the season.

This weekend's series begins Friday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. at Latshaw-McCarthy Field. It will continue on Saturday morning at 11:00 a.m. and conclude Sunday afternoon at noon.

Pitching Probables
Fri., May 11: RHP Jeff Williams (1-6, 6.00 ERA) vs. RHP Alex Hale (7-2, 4.93)
Sat., May 12: LHP Randall Mower (3-4, 4.99) vs. LHP Matt Zielinski (5-3, 3.55)
Sun., May 13: RHP Mark Dolaghan (0-3, 6.80) vs. RHP Josh Horn (5-3, 5.40)