WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Joe Bamford (Washington, N.J./Warren Hills Regional [Northampton C.C.]) went 3-for-4 with a game-tying grand slam in the bottom of the eighth, but the Monmouth University baseball team fell to intrastate foe Princeton, Wednesday afternoon on the MU Baseball Field. With the loss, the Hawks had their five-game winning streak snapped and fall to 17-12. The Tigers improve to 8-20.
Bamford scored twice and drove in four, while Steve Wilgus (Woolwich, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) and Jake Gronsky (Danville, Pa./Danville Area) added two hits apiece. Wilgus scored twice, while Gronsky also crossed home once. Chris Perret (Morris Plains, N.J./Morris Catholic) and Owen Stewart (Howell, N.J./St. Rose) each added a hit, a run and an RBI.
Anthony Ciavarella (Phillipsburg, N.J./Phillipsburg) got the ball for his second-career start and surrendered four earned runs on nine hits and a walk in 3.1 innings pitched. Charlie Battis (Hamilton, N.J./Notre Dame) allowed just one unearned run in 2.0 innings pitched, allowing two hits. Neil Harm (Hamilton, N.J./Steinert) took the loss, allowing two earned runs in 1.1 innings pitched. He allowed one hit and two walks, while striking out one.
Danny Hoy led Princeton with a 4-for-6 day with two doubles, a home run, two runs scored and five RBI’s. Alec Keller and Mike Ford added three hits each, with Keller scoring a team-high three runs. Tyler Servais and Will Davis added a pair of hits each.
Tyler Foote pitched 6.0 strong innings in making the start, but took a no decision. He allowed two earned runs on six hits. The four runs on the Bamford grand slam were split between Chris Bodurian and A.J. Goetz, before Michael Fagan came on to record all three outs in the eighth and earn the win. Danny Thompson allowed one earned run on two hits and two walks, while striking out two in the ninth to record the save.
The Tigers scored on a solo home run in the first from Hoy and tallied another run on an Andres Larramendi RBI single in the third to take a 2-0 lead. The Hawks pieced together a run with two outs in the third to cut the deficit in half. Wilgus and Gronsky singled to put runners on the corners, before Perret popped to shallow right. Hoy sprinted toward the ball from his second base position, taking charge on play normally ticketed for the right fielder, but couldn’t make the play. Wilgus scored on the Texas Leaguer.
Princeton responded with three runs in the top of the fourth. Hoy doubled home Keller with one out in the inning, and scored on Ford’s single to center. Wilgus charged the sinking liner to center and it skipped past him for a two-base error, allowing Ford to reach third. Ford then scored on a wild pitch to give Princeton a 5-1 lead. Monmouth responded with a run in the bottom half of the fourth. Bamford led off with a single, moved to second on a Guida sacrifice bunt, took third on a wild pitch. He scored on a Dan Shea (Wilmington, Del./Salesianum) sacrifice fly.
The Tigers added a run in the eighth on Hoy’s second double of the game, scoring Keller to take a 6-2 lead. But the Hawks bounced back in the bottom of the eighth. Gronsky got things started with an infield single, before Perret walked and Stewart was plunked by Goetz immediately following his entrance into the game to load the bases. Bamford then hammered his first home run as a Hawk, a grand slam inside the right field foul pole to tie the game at 6-6.
But the three runs the Tigers scored in the ninth were too much to overcome. Harm left the game after allowing a single and a walk while recording the first out of the inning. Jeff Paglione (Mantua, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) walked the first batter he faced upon entering the game, before Hoy singled through the right side to score two. Keller then scored on a fielder’s choice as Gronsky threw errantly to second to try to start what would’ve been a tough double play.
The Hawks got a run back as Wilgus singled, advanced two bases on a pair of wild pitches and, following a Perret walk, scored on a Stewart single to right center. Bamford walked to load the bases and put the tying run on second, but Thomson got a strikeout and a groundout to extinguish the threat and close out the Princeton victory.
Monmouth returns to Northeast Conference action Friday, when it welcomes Wagner to MU Baseball Field for the first of a four-game set. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.