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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 '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Building momentum


Baseball wins series against George Mason

In their second Atlantic 10 series of the season, the Saint Joseph’s University baseball team hosted the George Mason University Patriots from April 7-9.

The series opened with a 4-1 loss for St. Joe’s. The Hawks struck first with their only run of the game in the second inning. Junior Dom Cuoci led off the inning with a single, which was followed by another single from junior Matt Maul. Cuoci advanced to second on Maul’s hit and to third on a fielder’s choice off the bat of senior Taylor Boyd before eventually scoring on a wild pitch.

Throughout the game, St. Joe’s would collect seven other hits, but no other runs. George Mason took the lead from the Hawks in the sixth inning, scoring three runs off two hits. The Patriots would add another run in the eighth inning before taking the victory.

Senior Pat Vanderslice, who started game one for the Hawks, went 5.2 innings allowing five hits and striking out six, but took the loss. Vanderslice’s 34 strikeouts this season lead the team so far.

St. Joe’s returned with a strong showing in game two right from the start. Junior Justin Aungst retired the first three hitters for George Mason in the top of the first inning before his offense would score three runs in the bottom of the inning for an early lead.

In the second inning, the Hawks added another two runs to their lead thanks to a two-run homer by sophomore Charlie Concannon, his fifth of the year. By the end of the second inning, the Hawks had tallied seven hits and held a 5-0 lead.

George Mason was able to plate one run in the third and one in the ninth inning, but nothing more. St. Joe’s held on for a 5-2 win, evening out the series at one win apiece. Aungst went three innings for the Hawks, allowing just one run and two hits. Sophomore Lucas Rollins finished the final six innings on the mound as planned prior to the game and picked up his first win of the season.

“I felt good in the pen and when I got out there,” Rollins said. “[I had] a little shaky start, let up the first pitch hit and then got down 3-0 to the kid, but after that I settled in. Everything was working good.”

Pitching Rollins for the final six innings of the game was a premeditated plan from the coaching staff. With sophomore Tim Brennan unavailable for the weekend due to illness, the previous pitching plan was rendered.

“We’ve seen throughout the year, our issue has been in the back innings,” said Head Coach Fritz Hamburg. “The plan was to try to be strong on the back. Lucas [Rollins] finished with 75 or 76 pitches. He’s a gamer. It was nice to see some guys step up now.”

In game three, George Mason scored a run in the top of the first inning, but the Hawks responded quickly with two of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Junior Deon Stafford, Jr. homered for the fourth time this year for the first run. Following the home run, Concannon singled and later scored on a ground ball hit by senior Cal Jadacki.

The Patriots tied the game at two runs apiece in the third inning, but St. Joe’s retook the lead in the fourth inning. Senior Peter Sitaras tripled with Cuoci on base to score the first run of the inning. In the next at-bat, Sitaras scored on a double by Maul.

The Hawks added one more run in the eighth inning when Boyd singled home Cuoci, who reached on a double. St. Joe’s held on for back-to-back 5-2 wins.

Freshman Hayden Seig started game three for the Hawks and pitched four innings of three-hit baseball before being pulled due to pitch count. Senior Zach DeVincenzo pitched the next two innings in shutout fashion and picked up the win before senior Brian Lau finished the game with a three-inning save.

Hamburg credited the offense and the pitching as being crucial parts of the victories, but didn’t fail to praise the stellar defense in the final game either.

“We had some really nice defensive plays,” Hamburg said. “Charlie Concannon made some great plays in right field. All in all it was a team effort and we’re excited to take the series.”

Maul went 7-11 at the plate in the series to raise his batting average to a team-leading .346. With hits in each of the three games against the Patriots, Cuoci extended his hitting streak to ten games. Additionally, Stafford has reached base safely in 17 straight games.

Rollins says that winning the rubber match will be huge moving forward for the Hawks.

“It’s a big momentum piece for us,” he said. “[We’re] just sticking with what we’re doing and going to the next weekend looking for a sweep.”

The Hawks will take the field again at Fordham University for a three-game series from April 13-15.

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