CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Monmouth University baseball team fell to top-ranked Virginia on Saturday afternoon at Davenport Field, 6-3 in the opening game of the weekend series. MU got the tying run to bat in the ninth, but could not find the equalizer. Jake Gronsky (Danville, Pa./Danville Area) added three hits for MU.
Three Cavaliers had multi-hit days, and Virginia starter Nathan Kirby went six innings, allowing an unearned run on four hits and striking out five. Four UVa relievers combined to go the final three innings. Andrew McGee (Toms River, N.J./Toms River South) threw four innings, surrendering five runs on six hits, walking four and striking out one. Frank Trimarco (Merrick, N.Y./Sanford H. Calhoun) threw the final four in relief, giving up just one run on three hits.
Virginia took a first inning lead, when Mike Papi and Branden Cogswell led off the frame with back-to-back singles. A pair of groundouts plated Papi to pit UVa to a 1-0 lead. MU threatened in the third after consecutive singles from Kyle Perry (Toms River, N.J./Toms River South) and Robbie Alessandrine (Sewell, N.J./Gloucester Catholic), but they were left stranded.
In the fourth, the Cavaliers struck for three after Brandon Downes led things off with a base hit. Following a walk to Joe McCarthy, Nate Irving homered to left with two down to put Virginia up 4-0. MU would answer quickly in the fourth, when Jake Gronsky (Danville, Pa./Danville Area) led off the inning with a double. Two batters later, Jon Guida (Martinsville, N.J./Bridgewater Raritan) walked and Craig Sweeney (Middletown, N.J./Middletown South) loaded the bases when Virginia’s third baseman, Kenny Towns couldn’t come up with the ball cleanly. Perry followed with a ground ball to short, and a throwing error by Daniel Pinero allowed Gronsky to score. Guida was cut down at the plate on the play, but Monmouth was on the board, trailing 4-1.
The Cavaliers would get that run right back in the bottom of the frame, with Pinero doubling down the left field line and moving over to third on a wild pitch. Papi’s single to center brought home Pinero, but McGee was able to stifle the Cavaliers the rest of the inning, stranding two and keeping the score at 5-1.
UVa tacked on a run in the fifth, with Howard starting the at-bat with a base hit. An Irving sacrifice moved Howard over to second and he came around to score on Pinero’s knock to right center.
In the ninth, Dan Shea (Wilmington, Del./Salesianum) was hit by a pitch leading off, and moved to second before Sweeney’s single moved him to third. Perry came through with an RBI single to make it a 6-2 game, and both Sweeney and Perry moved up a bag after a wild pitch. On the next pitch, freshman Grant Lamberton (Newark, Del./Salesianum) drove in his first career run with a single through the left side. MU brought the tying run to the plate in Joe Bamford (Washington, N.J./Northampton C.C./Warren Hills Regional), but the senior hit into a double play to end the game, with UVa winning, 6-3.
The teams return to action tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. with a doubleheader at Davenport Field, with one schedule as a makeup game after Friday’s postponement.