WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Eight different Hawks drove in a run and Chris McKenna (Pine Beach, N.J./Toms River South) earned the win in his first Northeast Conference start as the Monmouth University baseball team defeated Sacred Heart, 11-6, Sunday afternoon at MU Baseball Field. With the win, the Hawks take three out of four in the series and move to 27-18 (17-7 NEC). The Pioneers fall to 20-20 (15-9 NEC) with the loss.
Jake Gronsky (Danville, Pa./Danville Area) and Craig Sweeney (Middletown, N.J./Middletown South) had three hits each, with Gronsky scoring three runs and Sweeney scoring once and driving in one. Steve Wilgus (Woolwich, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) and Owen Stewart (Howell, N.J./St. Rose) had two hits each. Both drove in one, while Wilgus scored twice and Stewart crossed home plate once. Joe Bamford (Washington, N.J./Warren Hills Regional [Northampton C.C.]), Kyle Perry (Toms River, N.J./Toms River South), Jon Guida (Martinsville, N.J./Bridgewater Raritan) and Dan Shea (Wilmington, Del./Salesianum) each drove in one run for MU.
McKenna scattered 12 hits and did not walk a batter in 7.2 innings pitched. He allowed four earned runs and struck out two to earn the win in his first-career Northeast Conference start. Monmouth touched Sacred Heart starter Kody Kerski, who entered the game with a 1.47 ERA, for eight runs, four earned, on 10 hits and two walks over 4.0 innings pitched. He struck out four while taking the loss.
Brian Lamboy led Sacred Heart with a 4-for-5 day with three RBI’s and a run scored. Dave Boisture also went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI. John Murphy and Jesus Medina added two hits each, while Keaton Flint scored twice.
The Hawks struck first in bottom of the first inning. Gronsky led off with a single, and after Kerski retired the next two batters, Stewart singled to put runners on first and second. Gronsky then moved to third on a wild pitch and Sacred Heart catcher Derick Horn threw the ball into left field attempting to cut Gronsky down at third, allowing the run to score.
Sacred Heart tied the game in the top of the third, using two-out singles by Boisture and Lamboy to score Flint, who’d singled with one out. The Hawks broke the tie with six runs in the bottom of the third. Gronsky and Wilgus opened the inning with singles, before Perret lined the ball to Boisture at first. The Pioneers’ first baseman misplayed the ball and Gronsky came around to score on the play, leaving runners and second and third. Stewart then singled through the right side to score Wilgus and Bamford followed with an RBI single to score Perret. A Sweeney single loaded the bases, before Perry’s groundout scored Stewart. Guida followed with another RBI groundout, before Shea rounded out the scoring with a two-out RBI single through the right side to put the Hawks on top, 7-1.
The lead swelled to 8-1 on Sweeney’s RBI single to right center, scoring Perret in the fourth. Sacred Heart got a run back in the top of the fifth when Boisture doubled with two outs and Lamboy followed with an RBI single. But MU tacked on three more in the bottom of the inning off reliever Dan Wertz. Shea was hit by a pitch and Gronsky’s single put runners on first and second. Wilgus then doubled home Shea and set the table for Perret’s two-run triple to right center, giving the Hawks an 11-2 advantage.
Sacred Heart scored twice in both the eighth and ninth innings before Stephen Frey (Washingtonville, N.Y./Washingtonville) came on to record the final out of the game. Murphy and Medina delivered RBI singles in the eighth and Boisture and Lamboy had RBI doubles in the ninth. Frey induced a Horn fly out in the ninth to end the game.
The Hawks return to action Wednesday, when they travel to future MAAC foe Saint Peter’s. First pitch is set for 3:30 p.m.