PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After a very successful regular season, the St. Joseph’s University baseball team is gearing up for the Atlantic 10 Tournament.
The Hawks are the #3 seed and they will open things up in the double-elimination tourney on Wednesday morning against the #6 seed, Davidson, in the Bronx.
St. Joe’s went 29-21 during the regular season (15-9 in the A-10).
Head coach Fritz Hamburg says he thought he had a good group coming into the season.
“I think we saw it, it was just a matter of how it was all going to come together,” Hamburg tells KYW Newsradio. “Some guys have stepped up that we weren’t necessarily thinking were going to step up as much as they have and that’s been a huge piece of our success, for sure.”
Listen to the entire interview with St. Joe’s head coach Fritz Hamburg:
There are a lot of reasons why the Hawks are still playing baseball, but two of the biggest are senior outfielder John Brue and sophomore catcher Deon Stafford Jr. The pair have combined for 32 home runs this season. Stafford has 17, which is a new single-season program record. Brue hit 15 this year and his 30 career home runs also stands as a St. Joe’s record.
“The weapons that they bring to the plate, I think everybody that we face is uncomfortable seeing those two guys,” Hamburg says. “Deon has really had a very good year. He had just a short hiccup in the middle of it and John has really caught fire here the back third of the season.”
The Davidson team St. Joe’s will open up with is 25-24. The Wildcats went 11-11 in the A-10 during the regular season.
“We played Davidson early and they took two of three from us here,” Hamburg says. “They’re a fairly balanced team and I’m curious to see whether we’re going to see their #1 (pitcher), who pitched extremely well against us. He threw on Saturday down against VCU in a huge game for them to get into the tournament.”
This season has also seen Hamburg reach a milestone, as he has passed Chris Loschiavo to become the winningest coach in St. Joe’s baseball history. Hamburg has won 191 games in eight seasons on Hawk Hill.
“I think that the best thing that I’ve done is surround myself with great people,” Hamburg says. “Our players, give them all the credit because they’re the ones that win the games. I’ve got a great coaching staff and have had great coaching staffs in the past. We have tremendous support from our administration and the university here. So, really, I just consider myself along for the ride. I know I make game decisions, but at the same time too, the journey is a heck of a lot more fun because of the people that I’ve been going through it with.”
The winner of the A-10 Tournament gets an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
St. Joe’s and Davidson get started at 10:00am on Wednesday.