BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - In the first game of the final regular season series, the Monmouth University baseball team fell victim to Sacred Heart's three-run eighth-inning rally, falling to the Pioneers 3-2, Thursday afternoon in Northeast Conference action. MU's junior starter Pat Light (Colts Neck, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) recorded his fifth double-digit strikeout outing against a league opponent, fanning 10 Pioneers in a no decision. With 97 punch-outs this season, Light erases former Hawk and current Chicago White Sox's farmhand Ryan Buch's 2008 single-season record of 92 strikeouts.
Trailing 2-0 in the eighth, SHU got on the board two batters into the frame on Conor McEvoy's RBI double against MU reliever Stephen Frey (Washingtonville, N.Y./Washingtonville). After Joe Loiodice (Forest Hills, Md./John Carroll) relieved Frey on the hill, Billy McDonough connected on an game-tying single and John Murphy followed with the go ahead double. Nick Leiningen surrendered a lead-off single to Jon Guida (Martinsville, N.J./Bridgewater Raritan) to start the ninth, but retired the final three batters to secure the victory.
MU broke the ice in the sixth inning as Josh Boyd (Port Murray, N.J./West Morris Central) doubled to start the frame. After Jake Gronsky (Danville, Pa./Danville Area) lined out, Danny Avella (Matawan, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) worked a walk and Jamie Rosenkranz (Oakhurst, N.J./Ocean Township) was hit by a pitch. Chris Perret (Morris Plains, N.J./Morris Catholic) grounded out to first, but beat out the potential 3-6-3 inning-ending double play, which allowed Boyd to cross home with the first run of the game.
The Hawks tacked on another run in the top of the eighth on Rosenkranz's double, scoring Gronsky, who connected on a double of his own.
Light worked six scoreless innings, surrendering two walks to go along with his 10 strikeouts. Frey allowed two runs on four hits with a punch-out in his inning of work, while Loiodice suffers his second loss of the season, allowing a run on two hits despite striking out three.
Leiningen yielded the Hawks' two runs on seven hits and three walks, while striking out four en route to his complete-game victory.
MU, which has already clinched a berth in next week's Northeast Conference Tournament, will battle the Pioneers, who are still looking to secure a spot in postseason play, tomorrow at 1 p.m. in a doubleheader.