TEANECK, N.J. – Jake Gronsky (Danville, Pa./Danville Area) hit a grand slam, two doubles and drove in seven as the Monmouth University baseball team split a doubleheader against intrastate Northeast Conference foe Fairleigh Dickinson Saturday afternoon at the Naimoli Complex. With the split, the Hawks move to 23-15 (14-5 NEC), while the Knights are now 7-26 (3-16 NEC).
Dan Shea (Wilmington, Del./Salesianum) added a 3-for-6 effort with a double and four runs scored. Chris Perret (Morris Plains, N.J./Morris Catholic), Steve Wilgus (Woolwich, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) and Owen Stewart (Howell, N.J./St. Rose) added two hits apiece, with Perret homering, scoring twice and driving in two. Wilgus scored once and drove in three, pushing his two-day total to seven RBI’s. Stewart also drove in a run.
Frank Trimarco (Merrick, N.Y./Sanford H. Calhoun) pushed his record to 4-0 with six strong innings in Game 2. He allowed three earned runs on nine hits and a walk, striking out one. Jeff Paglione (Mantua, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) closed out the win with a scoreless seventh inning. Chris McKenna (Pine Beach, N.J./Toms River South) kept the Hawks in Game 1 with 4.1 innings of scoreless relief, scattering three hits and a walk, while striking out three. T.J. Hunt (Wyckoff, N.J./Ramapo) took the Game 1 loss, allowing seven earned runs on nine hits in 1.2 innings pitched.
Dylan Sprague led FDU with a 4-for-5 effort at the plate. Kyle Weeks added three hits, five RBI’s and three runs scored, while Ryan MacDonald, Riley Moonan and Jordan Ritz added three hits each. Brendan Butler earned the Game 1 win on the mound, allowing four runs, two earned, on five hits and four walks. He struck out three. Eric Snyder picked up the save, holding the Hawks scoreless and hitless, issuing three walks while striking out one. Anthony Calise was tagged with the Game 2 loss, allowing three earned runs on one hit and two walks without retiring a batter in relief of Matt Cadigan. Cadigan allowed two earned runs on three hits and a walk in four innings.
Perret got the Hawks on the board first with a two-out solo shot to right in the top of the first of Game 1. The Knights countered with three runs in the bottom of the first and never trailed again. Weeks did the damage with a two-run double to right center, before Eric Anderson added a two-out run-scoring double to put the Knights on top, 3-1.
FDU added four runs in the second to take a 7-1 lead. A pair of infield singles and a Moonan single through the right side loaded the bases with two outs for Weeks, who cleared the bases with a double to left center. Sprague then drove in the fourth run with a single to right.
The Hawks battled back with three runs in the fourth and another in the sixth. A hit-by-pitch, a fielding error and a walk loaded the bases with one out in the Monmouth fourth. Wilgus then drove in two with a double to right, before Gronsky drove in the third run with a groundout, cutting the deficit to 7-4. Shea led off the sixth with a double and scored on Gronsky’s double to right center. Snyder replaced Calise on the mound and immediately issued a pair of walks to load the bases. But he then induced a groundout to end the threat. He’d issue another walk in the seventh, but that was all in closing out Game 1 for the save.
Game 2 started with the Hawks and Knights alternating scoring innings and a 2-2 stalemate after four innings. Monmouth got on the board in the first after Wilgus walked, moved to second on a balk, took third on a Gronsky fly out, and scored on Perret’s groundout. FDU took a 2-1 lead with two runs in the second. Weeks singled and Sprague doubled to put runners on second and third. Anderson then grounded out to score Weeks and move Sprague to third. Joel Roman then drove in Sprague with a sacrifice fly.
Three straight hits by Shea, Connor White (Wall, N.J./Wall) and Wilgus accounted for the Hawks’ run in the third. Shea doubled to left center, before White singled to right, putting runners on the corners. Wilgus then singled through the right side to score Shea and tie the game at 2-2.
The Hawks used a five-run fifth to blow Game 2 open. Calise replaced Cadigan to begin the fifth and issued a leadoff walk to Jon Guida (Martinsville, N.J./Bridgewater Raritan), a Shea single to center, a wild pitch that pushed the runners to second and third and a walk to White to load the bases. Yonah Perline was then summoned from the Knights bullpen and after inducing a pop out, Gronsky hammered a grand slam to left to give the Hawks a 6-2 advantage. Perret then doubled, stole third and scored on a Stewart single to left center to stake Monmouth to a 7-2 lead.
The teams exchanged single runs in the next two half innings. The Knights paired a Ritz double with a MacDonald RBI single in the fifth, before the Hawks got a pair of doubles from White and Gronsky to get the run back and move to the bottom of the sixth up, 8-3. Trimarco and Paglione each got a double-play ball in the final two innings to help close out Game 2.
The Hawks and Knights conclude their four-game series tomorrow. First pitch from Teaneck, N.J., is scheduled for 1 p.m.