BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Despite a 2-for-3 day from junior Danny Avella (Matawan, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy), including his team-leading eighth home run of the season, the Monmouth University baseball team fell to LIU Brooklyn, 6-3, Sunday afternoon in its Northeast Conference series finale. With the loss, the Hawks fall to 30-17 (18-6 NEC), while the Blackbirds improve to 17-30 (8-16 NEC).
For the first time in the series, LIU Brooklyn grabbed the first lead of the game, going ahead 1-0 in the first inning on an RBI single by Pete Leonello.
The Hawks answered in the top of the second on Avella's first-pitch lead-off home run down the right field line. The Blue and White went ahead in the third as Josh Boyd (Port Murray, N.J./West Morris Central) started the inning with a double and moved to third on a pass ball. Two batters later, Ed Martin (Hazlet, N.J./Raritan [Brookdale CC]) connected on a ground-rule double, chasing in Boyd giving the Hawks a 2-1 advantage. MU looked to add another run in the frame as Martin tried to score on Jake Gronsky's (Danville, Pa./Danville Area) single, but the relay from the outfield beat the senior to the plate for the final out in the inning.
Albert Faz registered a one-out home run in the bottom of the third to even the score at two. Mike Garcia drove in a run on his single in the fourth to give LIU a lead it would not relinquish.
A double by Avella and a groundout by Chris Perret (Morris Plains, N.J./Morris Catholic) advancing the infielder to third started MU off in the second. Steve Wilgus (Woolwich, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) reached on a fielder's choice that plated Avella to cut the Blackbirds' advantage to 4-3.
The home team added insurance tally in the home half of the seventh on a bases loaded walk and a sacrifice fly by Drew Walsh to account for the final runs of the contest.
In defeat, Dan Smith (Marlton, N.J./Cherokee) allowed four runs on seven hits in five innings with a pair of strikeouts. Jonathan Shippee (Waterford, N.Y./Shenendehowa) worked middle relief for MU, surrendering two runs on two hits and three walks in 2.1 innings on the hill, while rookie Charlie Battis (Hamilton, N.J./Notre Dame) saw three batters, recording the final two outs.
Jordan Wilcox hurled eight innings in a winning effort for the Blackbirds. The starter yielded three runs on five hits and recorded five strikeouts.
Monmouth will return home next weekend as it welcomes Bryant for a pivotal NEC series beginning at 3 p.m. on Friday.