PBR - Saint Joseph's manager Fritz Hamburg decided to go with starter Alex Pracher to open the Atlantic-10 Championship tournament, and it proved to be a great option to begin the postseason.

Pracher hurled a complete-game shutout, giving up just five hits while striking out five in the 3-0 Hawks victory over Rhode Island in the opening round Wednesday afternoon at Bronx, N.Y.

St. Joe's outfielder Greg Kumpel was 1-for-4 on the afternoon with his lone hit being an RBI single that drove in Brett Tiagwad to give the Hawks an early 1-0 advantage in the third inning while catcher Brian O'Keefe was 3-for-5 with an run-scoring double late in the game.

In the fifth, first basemen Kevin Taylor belted a solo shot over the right-field wall to make it 2-0. Taylor was 1-for-5 with two runs scored on the day, also reaching base on an error in the ninth.

Tiagwad went 2-for-4 for Saint Joseph's (24-30).

Pracher was able to work out of a bit of a jam late in the game when the Rams' Joe Landi was able to reach second and threaten to cut the deficit. But, Pracher had Rhode Island centerfield Jeff Roy ground out to end the inning. The Rams (32-24) were hitless off Pracher with runners on base.

Pracher, a graduate student, was opposed by Anthony Pisani, who allowed both runs on eight hits over eight innings for the loss. Reliever Brendan Doohan came in for Pisani and gave up an RBI-hit to O'Keefe to make it 3-0.

Landi lead the Rhode Island offense with a 2-for-3 performance.

The win puts Saint Joseph's, the No. 6 seed, up against second-seeded Dayton tomorrow afternoon at Fordham University. Game time is scheduled for 3:30.

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