St. Joe's wins slugfest with UR

Phil Ruzbarsky launched a grand slam home run in the sixth inning to give Richmond an 8-7 lead, but Saint Joseph’s answered right back with five runs and hung on for an 11-7 win Thursday in the opener of a three-game series at Campbell’s Field in Camden, N.J.

Ruzbarsky’s bomb – his third in as many games – over the right-field wall gave the Spiders their second lead of the day after the visitors struck for two in the top of the first inning. But Richmond was unable to hold the advantage and slipped to 25-24-2 overall, 12-10 in the A-10.

The Hawks (20-30, 10-12) sent nine batters to the plate in the sixth inning, and their five-run uprising was highlighted by a two-run double from Greg Kumpel. The A-10’s third-leading hitter at .389 entering the game, Kumpel finished the day two-for-three with three RBI.

After Richmond scored twice in the first thanks to three singles from Ruzbarsky, Mike Mergenthaler and Chris Cowell, SJU starter Kyle Mullen settled in and kept the Spiders scoreless over the next five frames.

Leading 6-2 in the sixth, Mullen was chased after allowing three hits in succession – a single to Jacob Mayers, a double to Bryan Conway and Adam Forrer’s RBI single that made the score 6-3. Reliever Dominic Favazza walked JB Gadd to load the bases and Ruzbarsky followed with his first career grand slam.

Favazza was put right back in the line for the win (3-1) thanks to the Hawks five-run sixth, and relievers Bryan Penalo and Ryan Kemp closed it out with hitless baseball over the final 2.1 innings.

Freshman reliever Andrew Blum was dealt the loss (0-2) and sophomore lefty Bret Williams lasted just 2.1 innings – his first A-10 start this season that didn’t reach the sixth inning – and was touched up for four runs on six hits.

Ruzbarsky, Conway and Forrer each had two of Richmond’s 11 hits, while Mergenthaler was one-for-three with two walks and two stolen bases.

The series continues Friday at Campbell’s Field at 12 p.m.

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