Rally in the 9th Inning Propels Saint Joseph’s to Comeback Victory Over Villanova

Saint Joe’s Scores 7 in the 9th to Erase Nova Lead


The Saint Joseph’s Hawks trailed 8 – 1 after three innings of play at the Villanova Ballpark, but chipped away at the deficit. Finally, down to their last out and down by 2 runs, the Hawks took advantage of late game opportunities. With the bases loaded Nate Thomas walked, Andrew Cossetti was hit by a pitch, then center fielder Andrew Hueth singled to center bringing in two runs, as SJU came from two behind to take an 11 – 9 lead. Then added 3 more runs in the inning and a 7-run, 4-hit ninth inning gave them a 14 – 9 win. It was a question of resiliency by the Hawks.

“It speaks volumes,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Fritz Hanburg. “We lost a tough one on Sunday to Fordham. It was a game we hit some balls hard, but right at people. I was interested to see how we would respond today. For us to come out and do what we did here is a real plus heading into the weekend.”

The Offenses Took Advantage of Their Chances

Villanova had the better of the going early. The Wildcats put up 7 runs in the third inning to go in front 8 – 1. In the that inning Nova sent 11 batters to the plate, and got their runs with only 4 hits. It was 3 errors by Saint Joseph’s that allowed the runners to cross the plate. With two on a single by center fielder Chris Rotundo turned into a three run play as two throwing errors by the Hawks allowed him to circle the bases and all three runners to score. Nova got four more and as an infield hit, a wild pitch, a balk and a walk combined with two singles upped the lead to 8 – 1. It was a formula that would repeat itself late in the game.

Saint Joseph’s answered tight back in the top of the fourth by taking advantage of three walks, the last with the bases loaded, and two wild pitches to plate 3 on 3 hits and put the team back in proximity. The key hit was an RBI double to right by Hueth scoring Cossetti that set up the rest of the inning.

In the 8th inning Saint Joe’s put up 2 more runs when a bases loaded sacrifice fly by Thomas to deep center field was snared by Rotondo limiting the potential damage. The runner Brett Callahan was on third by a wild patch after he doubled. Previously, a sacrifice fly RBI to center by Jake Artz could have been more, but Rotondo made a diving grab.

It was 9 – 7 Villanova ahead going into the last inning.

“Both offenses were opportunistic to errors, hit batsmen, walks, and cashed in when they had opportunities,” said Villanova Coach Kevin Mulvey. “They did a better job of getting outs when they needed to in the end, and we didn’t.”

“This one got away, but what can you do?”

A Bullpen Game

Each team used 8 pitchers in the game. For the game there were 10 wild pitches, 3 hit batsmen, 3 passed balls, and one balk. Wildcats hurlers faced 39 batters and gave up 16 hits. Danny Wilkinson took the loss in attempting to get his 4th save. Sam Davies got the win in one inning of work facing 4 batters. Villanova sent 34 batters to the plate and got 10 hits.

Key for SJU is that after they gave up 7 runs in the third inning, Nova would get only one more run, that came in the 6th inning when catcher John Whooly scored on a fielders choice by Nova third baseman Joey Castellanos.

“I thought we did a good job after we gave up a seven-spot we gave up one more run the rest of the way,” Hamburg said. “The pitchers did a nice job of holding the fort down and we made some nice defensive plays. If we give up a couple of runs there it makes it a lot harder to think we can stay in it especially in this park.”

In the ninth Ryan Devine ended the game getting a double play grounder by Pat O’Neill. SJU got 8 strikeouts while Nova recorded 10.For the game there were 16 walks, 10 wild pitches, 3 hit batsmen, 3 passed balls, and one balk.

Hitting Output

Hueth was the offensive star going 6 for 6 scoring 3 runs and driving in 3. Cossetti went 2 for 4 scoring three times. The bottom of the Saint Joe’s batting order produced a collective 3 for 8 with 2 runs and 2 runs batted in. For the game the Hawks got 16 hits.

Rotondo got 2 hits in 2 at bats and hit home plate twice. Second baseman Cameron Hassert got 2 hits in 4 appearances getting a run and an RBI. Villanova got 10 hits for the contest.

Up Next

Saint Joseph’s improves to 25 – 17 on the season. The Hawks have a six-game Atlantic 10 homestand coming up against Saint Louis and Davidson. Saint Joe’s in 9 – 6 in the Atlantic 10 and currently are in a three-way tie for third place. Saint Louis is a team tied with Saint Joseph’s and Davidson leads the league.

Villanova (17 – 22- 1)will continue its non-conference schedule going to Virginia Tech for two games against the nationally ranked Hokies over the weekend. The Cats will have to shake off this stunning loss.

“It’s an exciting opportunity for us to play at a premier college venue against a top-ten team,” Mulvey said. “I’m sure our guys will be very excited to play at that ballpark against that opposition. I expect our guys to do very well.”


Written By: Glenn Papazian

Contact: Glenn@PhillyCollegeSports.com

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