BROOKLYN, NY – Carrying some momentum from a sweep of John Jay the previous night, St. Joseph's looked to continue their winning ways against Purchase. The Bears drew first blood against Panthers, but couldn't maintain their lead and despite tying the game in the bottom of the seventh, fell 13-6 on Sunday afternoon at MCU Park.
Senior Kevin Hernandez (Corona, NY/Newtown) was on the hill for the Bears (5-17) and held the Panthers scoreless for the first three innings. With help from a five pitch 3rd, Hernandez threw only 28 pitches through three.
St. Joseph's gave Hernandez an early lead, scratching out a run after a leadoff walk. The Bears tacked on two more in third when Joseph Mendez (Staten Island, NY/Monsignor Farrell) picked up his second RBI single of the game and Jon Mendez (Brooklyn, NY/Xaverian) followed him with a sacrifice fly to produce a run, giving St. Joseph's a 3-0 advantage.
Trouble found Hernandez in the fourth after Will Bernstein beat out a potential double-play grounder to keep the inning alive. The next six batters all reached base against Hernandez with five hits and one walk. With the game tied, Casey Calautti's bases-clearing double to left center put Purchase up 6-3.
St. Joseph's hit the comeback trail in the fifth inning, cutting into the lead when Danny Contant (Staten Island, NY/Xaverian) picked up his third RBI in two games, driving home Kevin Diaz (Staten Island, NY/Monsignor Farrell) with a two-out single to right.
Hernandez almost didn't make it out of the fourth, but kept the Bears in the game working out of jams in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to keep the Panthers off the board. Purchase left six men on base in those innings, failing to put the Bears away.
Finally, the seventh inning, St. Joseph's got the big hit they needed from catcher Jon Mendez. Diaz singled to lead off the inning and stole second. With one out, Mendez sent a blast down the left field line, clearing the fence just to the right of the foul pole to tie the game 6-6. The home run was Mendez' team leading third of the season.
After Hernandez gutted out seven innings, freshman Vinny Gatto (Howard Beach, NY/Archbishop Molloy) made his St. Joseph's debut. Gatto would suffer the loss as he let up four runs in the eighth. Purchase (15-12) padded their lead with three more runs in the ninth on their way to a 13-6 victory.
Diaz, Joe and Jon Mendez each collected two hits. The two Mendez' combined for five of the team's six RBI and Diaz scored a team-high two runs and also had a stolen base.
Bernstein led Purchase with four hits in six at-bats. Dominick Simone was also on base four times in six at-bats, going 2-for-4 with two walks. He also scored three runs and swiped two bags.
St. Joseph's continues their home stand Tuesday afternoon against New Jersey City University at MCU Park. First pitch is slated for 4:00 pm.