Baseball sets new records in series with Saint Joseph’s


The Billiken baseball squad dropped a home series, 2-1, to Saint Joseph’s on April 22-24, bringing their record to 17-25 overall this season.

SLU lost the series opener in a tight game that came down to the final inning.  They lost 3-2 despite a comeback from a 3-0 deficit.

The Hawks started the game off strong, with two runs in the top of the first.  After a walk, their second hitter blasted a home run to left field to bring in two runs.  They continued to dominate into the third inning with another home run, this time to right field.

The Billikens finally found a spark in the fifth inning.  Sophomore catcher James Morisano started things off with a single, followed by back-to-back singles from junior first baseman Devin Mahoney and sophomore outfielder Parker Sniatynski.  Senior outfielder Michael Bozarth also cracked a single to left field to bring in Mahoney and reduce Saint Joseph’s lead to a single run.

Three scoreless innings followed, and SLU was waiting for the right time to strike.  After two singles from the Hawks in the top of the ninth inning, they were in line to add another run to the scoreboard.  A Saint Joseph’s batter struck a single to right field, and the third-base runner gunned for home.  Redshirt junior outfielder Trent Leimkuehler came up with the ball and quickly threw to home, where catcher James Morisano was able to apply the tag for the third out, keeping the Billikens in the game.

With the momentum swinging in SLU’s favor, the crowd was on its feet and eager to watch a ninth-inning comeback.  Senior infielder Josh Bunselmeyer connected with the ball early on, and it almost made it out of the park until a Saint Joseph’s outfielder came up with the catch.  Senior infielder Braxton Martinez drew a walk, and Morisano hit a single to keep the game rolling.  However, the Hawks came up with two big strikeouts to finish the game and clinch the win, 3-2.

Senior right-handed pitcher Matt Eckelman was hit with the loss, but still recorded 11 strikeouts and only two walks.  Morisano went 2-for-4, and Bozarth was 1-for-4 with an RBI.

The men were on the flip side of the coin in the second game of the series.  They started off on the right foot, leading 2-0, but then dropped the contest, 3-2.

Mahoney and Sniatynski got on base in the second inning with a single and a double, respectively.  Mahoney finally scored on a wild pitch for the first run of the game.  Leimkuehler grounded out to second base, which allowed Sniatynski to reach home plate.

Saint Joseph’s answered right away in the top of the third inning with two runs of their own.  A series of singles combined with a throwing error on the Billikens’ part allowed the Hawks to tie up the game, 2-2.

Despite a scoreless two innings to follow, Saint Joseph’s kept their momentum going and scored the final run of the game in the sixth inning with an early-inning homer.  SLU had their best chance at a comeback in the bottom of the sixth inning with two hits and a man on third base, but they could not recover and find a way to cross home.

Freshman right-handed pitcher Miller Hogan took the defeat, earning five strikeouts and allowing five hits.  Mahoney went 4-for-4, matching his season high for most hits in a game.  Sniatynski went 2-for-4.  Bunselmeyer went 1-for-3 with a double, giving him his 12th double of the season, the team’s highest record this year.

The Billikens completely transformed in the final game of the series, destroying the Hawks, 22-6.  The men scored an astonishing number of runs in the second inning alone, with 13 – the most runs the Billikens have scored in a single inning.  The 22 total runs tied the current record that was set in 2012 against SEMO.

The men started off on fire, with four hits and five runs, showing that there was more in store in the coming innings.  As if the five runs in the first alone were not enough, the Billikens blasted 11 hits and 13 runs in the second inning.

Saint Joseph’s finally scored in the top of the third inning, but the 18-2 deficit was too great for the Hawks to have any chance of getting back in the game.

Bunselmeyer gathered the lone run in the bottom of the third inning for SLU, followed by runs from sophomore shortstop Alex King and sophomore outfielder Kyle Fletcher in the fourth inning.

The Hawks were able to muster up four more runs, but they were insignificant to SLU’s growing collection of runs throughout the game.  SLU ran away with the win in the second inning, but finished the game with a 22-6 domination over Saint Joseph’s despite losing the series, 2-1.

Ten different players scored for the Billikens in the final matchup.  They matched their RBI record of 19 and were hit by a record nine pitches.  The men tied the school record of most hits in a single game with 22.  Numerous players had impressive bouts from the plate, most of them with multiple RBIs.

The Billikens were supposed to travel to Eastern Illinois on April 26, but due to weather conditions the game was cancelled. SLU will host Davidson April 29-May 1.

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