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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

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Getting warmed up

Freshman Tim Cavanaugh delivers a pitch (Photo by Luke Malanga ’20).

Baseball starts season in Oregon

The St. Joe’s baseball team endured a weekend of inclement weather in Portland, Oregon as their season opened against the University of Portland. The Hawks had a rough start, losing their first three games and winning a close call to end the series.

Their record is now 1-3 after a disappointing start to the series in which the Hawks were shut out 8-0 on Feb. 23, and then lost 6-1 and 9-2 in a double-header on Feb. 24.

“The first three games were difficult; we didn’t pitch well,” head coach Fritz Hamburg said. “We were working out of a hole all weekend; we never had a lead until [Feb. 25].”

Sophomore Hayden Seig had the start as pitcher and took the 8-0 loss for the Hawks on Feb. 23. Portland’s Dutton Elske started off scoring with a solo home run in the bottom of the first, and the momentum built from there. Portland’s pitcher Corbin Powers held off the Hawks, allowing just four hits and throwing eight strikeouts.

The double header proved unsuccessful as well, as St. Joe’s came away with a 6-1 loss and a 9-2 loss.

“Portland’s front five guys in the lineup were very good, and when we made mistakes with the fastball, they hit it,” Hamburg said. “I can’t remember as a coach the last time that a pitching staff that I’ve been with gave up 10 homeruns on the weekend.”

Senior Tim Brennan started game one of the day off strong, allowing only two hits in the first four innings. Portland got on the board with a two-run double by Chad Stevens, followed by a Beau Brundage homerun that drove in three runs.

The Hawks drove in their first run of the season in the ninth inning when freshman Brendan Hueth stepped up and tripled to bring home sophomore Matt Cuppari and end the game, 6-1. Hueth impressed in his first series of college baseball, according to senior Matt Maul.

“Brendan Hueth started the weekend down the lineup at five or six, and in the last two games jumped up to two and got the ball rolling there,” Maul said. “He got on base and did his job, so he stepped up into that role of two-hitter.”

Portland opened up scoring in game two of the day and didn’t stop until they were up 6-0. St. Joe’s struck back in the seventh after loading the bases on two walks and a hit batter sophomore Kadar Namey was able to score Maul with a groundout to second base.

Maul drove in Hueth on a single in the eighth inning to decrease Portland’s lead to four, but the Pilot’s Daniel Lopez homered to drive in three runs, ending the game with a 9-2 loss for the Hawks.

St. Joe’s found their first win of the series and the season on Feb. 25, as 12 hits led to a 9-8 win over the previously unbeatable Pilots. Portland took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning, but it didn’t last long.

The top of the second inning brought four runs from the Hawks after redshirt freshman Jake Artz had a two run double and his first career runs batted in. Portland would score three runs in the third and fourth innings to tie the game at four, but St. Joe’s scored three in the fifth and another two in the eighth to extend their lead to 9-4.

Portland didn’t go out without a fight, scoring four runs in the bottom of the eighth after a Pilot single and a three-run homer by Cody Hawken cut the deficit to 9-8. The Hawks’ defense held off Portland to earn their first win of the season and end the series on a high note.

“Our offense kept extending and [Portland] kept pushing back, but we did a good job holding them off,” Maul said. “We had enough help from the offense to stay ahead the whole game.”

With a young team consisting of 13 rookies, opening weekend is one of learning and getting experience at the division I level.

“You have to look at the first weekend realistically and know that having the opportunity to get some kids in that haven’t really had any college at-bats [is beneficial], and that there are going to be some bumps in the road,” Hamburg said.

The Hawks will have the week to rest and practice before heading to Greenville, North Carolina for East Carolina University’s Keith LeClair Classic on March 2 where they will meet a challenge in the three teams they’ll take on: Missouri State University, Pepperdine University and East Carolina.

“We played Pepperdine last year and unfortunately got swept out there, so we’re looking forward to playing them again,” Hamburg said. “They have a really good pitching staff and it’ll be a big challenge. I’m looking forward to how we respond, and anything can happen. That’s the beauty of the game.”

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