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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim, Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Break out the brooms


Baseball sweeps three-game series to extend winning streak

After a rough 1-11 start to the season, the Saint Joseph’s University baseball team has won four games in a row to improve to a 5-11 record. On March 21, the Hawks defeated rival Villanova University by a score of 9-1. The win was followed by a three-game sweep over Bryant University from March 24-26.

“I think we really needed that game [against Villanova] to get us over the hump,” senior Matt Morella said. “Getting momentum is a big part of baseball.”

In the series opener, junior Deon Stafford, Jr. homered in the bottom of the first inning to give St. Joe’s an early lead. St. Joe’s then exploded for four more runs in the second inning thanks in part to a three-run home run by senior Taylor Boyd.

Sophomore Tim Brennan was on the mound for the Hawks and pitched lights out for seven innings. He allowed just one unearned run off three hits with six strikeouts, picking up his second win of the season.

“Tim [Brennan] was terrific,” head coach Fritz Hamburg said. “He really threw the ball well. His fastball had life. I just thought he attacked the zone really well. When you look at his numbers, I think he has four walks and twenty-five strikeouts so far on the year. It’s really impressive for a young guy.”

It was de ja vu for Stafford in the second game between the Hawks and the Bulldogs, homering again in the fist inning. Junior Dom Cuoci hit another homerun for St. Joe’s, driving in two runs in the fourth inning. The Crimson and Gray scratched one more run across the plate when senior Brain Lau hit the Hawks’ fifth homerun in two games to put his team ahead 4-1 in the sixth inning.

“This weekend, we’ve hit five home runs,” Hamberg said following the second game. “All of our runs [at the time] have come off homeruns with the exception of one. I’m not going to say I don’t want us to hit homeruns, but I would like to see us sustain some rallies and put some things together. It’s hard to complain about a home run, but we haven’t quite gotten that big hit outside of Taylor [Boyd’s] home run. That’s the part that I think we need to continue that we need to get better at and hit in situational spots.”

Five strong innings of one-run ball from senior Pat Vanderslice was enough to pick up his first victory of the season. Junior Justin Aungst also picked up his first save of the season after tossing the final four innings in shutout fashion for St. Joe’s.

In the third game, the Hawks were again the first to score. Lau, who singled to reach base, scored on a wild pitch to give St. Joe’s a 1-0 advantage in the fourth inning. Late in the fifth inning, Lau singled through the left side, which scored junior Marc Giacalone. For the third straight inning, the Hawks scored again in the sixth. Cuoci led off the inning with a ground-rule double and immediately scored in the proceeding at-bat when Bryant’s Cole Fabio misplayed a ball off the bat of freshman Matt Cuppari. As a result, the Hawks held a 3-0 lead heading into the seventh.

After a scoreless seventh, Bryant was able to push across two runs in the eighth inning against starting sophomore junior Lucas Rollins. Then two more again in the ninth gave the Bulldogs a late 4-3 lead. Their late push gave St. Joe’s just three outs to make up the one-run deficit.

Stafford started off the bottom of the ninth with a walk, but he was soon retired when sophomore Charlie Concannon grounded into a double play. With two outs, down one run and no one on base, Lau singled through the left side. Senior Cal Jadacki then reached base in the next at-bat before Cucoi walked to load the bases. Cuppari singled to score two runs and the Hawks walked-off with a 5-4 victory and a series sweep.

“I think the most important thing is that we’re relentless,” Morella said. “We always fight back and finish the game hard with that kick-ass attitde.”

St. Joe’s will begin conference play at Davidson University with a three game series that will span March 31-April 2.

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