HAWKS DEFEAT TEMPLE, 2-1, IN PITCHERS DUAL
WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Monmouth University posted a 2-1 victory over Temple on Wednesday afternoon. Monmouth, which broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the seventh en route to the victory, improves to 4-8 on the season, while the Owls falls to 11-8 overall.
Temple put two runners on in the third inning, when Jamie Abercrombie laced a two-out double down the right field line, followed Stan Orzechowski’s hit-by-pitch, but Kyle Breese got Mark Ortega to line out to right field to end the threat.
In the bottom of the fifth, Chris Collazo started the frame with a single off the pitcher’s shin, and advanced to second on John Dennis’ sacrifice bunt. While Brett Holland reached on a throwing error, Collazo was cut down at home, trying to sneak in on the play. Holland, who made it to third after a wild pitch, was stranded on Kyle Higgins’ groundout.
Monmouth broke through in the sixth inning when Shawn Teters led off with single right field. After a wild pitch moved Teters to second, Andy Meyers’ groundout moved the centerfielder to third with one out. With the infield playing in, Paul Bottigliero laced a single passed the shortstop to plate Teters and give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.
The Owls’ Sean Barksdale led off the seventh frame with a double to left. Steve Nikorak followed with an infield single, which put runners at the corners with no outs. A throwing error then allowed Barksdale to cross the plate, tying the score at 1-1. After Matt Heltz’s sac bunt moved two runners into scoring position, Steve Mury lined into a double play, as third baseman Mike Casale made the stab and beat Nikorak back to the bag, ending the inning.
The Hawks mounted a two-out rally in the bottom of the seventh when Holland dropped a single into center, followed by a Higgins’ walk. After Holland stole third, putting runners at the corners, Temple reliever Kyle Monahan uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Holland to score and giving the Hawks a 2-1 edge.
With two runners on after Teters drew a base on balls, Temple’s Jordan Cannon, who came in to face Meyers, allowed a walk to load the bases, but then ended the rally with a strikeout of Paul Bottigliero.
Temple received back-to-back, one out singles in the top of the eighth from Abercrombie and Orzechowski, which knocked Breese from the contest. After a groundout off relief pitcher Tim Dexter, Monmouth put Barksdale on with an intentional walk to load the bases. Dexter then got Nikorak, the designated hitter, to chase a pitch for a strikeout, maintaining the one-run lead for the Hawks.
In his fourth career start, Breese (2-1) earned the win, working a career-high 7 1/3 innings for the Hawks, allowing one run on six hits. The sophomore walked none, and registered a career-best six strikeouts.
Dexter recorded two outs to end the eighth frame, and senior Justin Esposito picked up his second save of the season, tossing a perfect ninth inning with two strikeouts.
The Hawks, playing their first game in 10 days, registered six hits, all singles, as Teters and Collazo led the charge with two base knocks apiece.
Monahan (0-1) was saddled with the loss for the Owls, working 1.2 innings, allowing two runs on three hits. Temple’s starter Eric Fritz did not figure in the decision while working five scoreless innings, surrendering two hits.
Monmouth is set to return to action tomorrow afternoon, when the Hawks take on Saint Peter’s in Jersey City at 3:30 p.m. Sophomore right-hander Ryan Buch (1-1) is schedule to start for the Blue and White.