BASEBALL EDGED AT TOWSON, 6-5
Adam Yunginger (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township) started and went the first four innings for MU, allowing three runs on three hits, striking out five and walking six. Frank Trimarco (Merrick, N.Y./Sanford H. Calhoun) allowed a run in 1.1 innings, and Frey surrendered a pair of runs in 1.1 frames. Jeff Paglione (Mantua, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) worked a scoreless inning and a third for Monmouth. Craig Sweeney (Middletown, N.J./ Middletown South) went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI’s for the Hawks. Chris Acker started for Towson, pitching four innings and allowing five runs, only one earned, on five hits. Paul relieved him and tossed three shutout innings to get the win, while Brandon Gonnella earned the save.
MU jumped in front in the first via a pair of unearned runs. Joe Bamford (Washington, N.J./Northampton C.C./Warren Hills Regional) reached on a fielding error by Towson’s shortstop, Pat Fitzgerald. He moved to second on Steve Wilgus’ (Woolwich, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) sacrifice bunt and over to third when Jake Gronsky (Danville, Pa./Danville Area) singled back up the middle. Gronsky stole second, and both came around on Sweeney’s double to left center, giving the Hawks a 2-0 lead.
Fitzgerald worked his way around the bases to get Towson a run back in the second, getting hit by a pitch and stealing second. Hunter Bennett drove him home after Bennett got himself caught in a rundown, enabling Fitzgerald to score. The teams traded runs in the third, and Monmouth’s came when Wilgus worked his way around the bases to score when Danny Avella (Matawan, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) delivered an RBI single. Kurt Wertz answered with a run-scoring single for the Tigers in the bottom of the frame, making it 3-2 after three.
MU answered right back in the top of the fourth, scoring two runs with two outs. Grant Lamberton (Newark, Del./Salesianum) walked and Ryan Bailey (Mount Kisco, N.Y./Fox Lane) reached on an error by Wertz in left field, allowing Lamberton to score. Bamford sent a triple down the right field line, scoring Bailey and putting MU in front 5-2.
The Tigers would strike for runs in the fifth, sixth, and seventh to take the lead. Gonnella scored on a wild pitch in the fifth, and Towson ran a bunt play in the sixth to plate Mike Draper. The home team grabbed the lead in the seventh, when Dominic Fratantuono led off with a single. After Chris Henze and Wertz both walked, Peter Bowles tied the game with a single to right. Two batters later, Fitzgerald gave Towson the lead for good by drawing a bases loaded walk.
Monmouth opens Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play for the first time this weekend when the Red Foxes of Marist visit West Long Branch. Saturday’s doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 12:00 p.m. at MU Baseball Field.