Saint Joseph's Baseball

Saint Joseph's entered the final weekend of play with some extremely long odds of making the Atlantic 10 tourney. The Hawks needed to sweep a talented and emotional La Salle team, aiming for a division title while knowing their program faces extinction at the end of the season. 

The Hawks took the first three games of the four-game series, and Rhode Island had won three straight over UMass to clinch the division title, essentially making Saturday's season finale a play-in game for the final postseason berth. 

The Hawks jumped on the Explorers in the opening frame with Brett Callahan poking a two-run single up the middle. Brandon Drapeau and Andrew Cossetti each homered in the middle innings to push the Hawks to a 5-0 advantage. 

Elijah Dickerson doubled in the eighth to drive in a pair of runs for the Explorers, but Luke Zimmerman closed things out with a perfect ninth inning to secure the 5-2 win for the Hawks at Smithson Field. Matt Kennedy collected the win, tossing five scoreless innings while scattering two hits. He walked a pair and whiffed five. 

Brandan Hueth finished the series 7-for-16 for Saint Joseph's and drove in a pair of runs. 

The Hawks and Explorers each finished 15-9 in conference play, but Saint Joseph's advanced because of a better head-to-head record (5-3). 

Saint Joseph's will face top-seeded VCU to open the Atlantic 10 tourney on Thursday. The Rams enter the tourney riding an 18-game winning streak. The winner will advance to a semi-final game on Friday. The loser will play in an elimination game on Thursday night. 

Dayton and Rhode Island are the two other clubs playing in the tournament. 

The Hawks last played in the Atlantic 10 tournament in 2016 and haven't played in the NCAA tournament since 1974.           
Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

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