NEW BRITAIN, Conn. – Monmouth University advanced to its seventh Northeast Conference Championship round, with its 7-1 victory over Central Connecticut State on Friday afternoon at New Britain Stadium. Monmouth advances to the 2007 NEC Championship game on Saturday at noon versus CCSU, which won its elimination game against top-seeded Quinnipiac, 5-0.
Monmouth (35-21-1) scored twice in the first inning, as the Hawks loaded the bases with no outs, before designated hitter Rick Niederhaus (Whitehouse Station, N.J./Hunterdon Central) grounded into a double play, which plated Kyle Higgins (Green Brook, N.J./Watchung Hills). Kyle Messineo (Cedar Grove, N.J./Cedar Grove) then scored on a wild pitch charged to CCSU starter Ken Kerski (Waterbury, Conn./Crosby) for the 2-0 lead.
The Hawks loaded the bases once again in the fourth, knocking out Kerski, before Higgins delivered a two-run double to right center off reliever John Tesseyman (High Falls, N.Y.), followed by Messineo’s two-run triple to right centerfield, making the score 6-0.
CCSU (24-25) trimmed the lead to 6-1 in the top of the sixth inning, as Jay Schillaci (McKeesport, Pa./McKeesport Area) led off the frame with a walk and later scored on Casey Walko’s (Freehold, N.J./Red Bank Catholic) two-out, ground rule double to leftfield off starting pitcher, Ryan Buch (Yardley, Pa./Conwell Egan).
Monmouth claimed the run back in the bottom of the seventh, when Chris Collazo (Wall, N.J./Wall) collected a two-out double and scored on Mike Casale’s (Toms River, N.J./Toms River North) RBI single to left, for the 7-1 edge.
Buch, the 2007 NEC Rookie of the Year, worked six innings, scattering five hits, while allowing one run, en route to his ninth win on the season.
Freshman Kyle Breese (Monmouth Junction, N.J./South Brunswick) worked three innings, allowing one single, to pick up his first save of the year.
Messineo went 4-for-4 in the game for the Hawks, with two singles, a double and a triple, while scoring a run and driving in two more. Andy Meyers (Stratford, N.J./Sterling) and Collazo each added two hits for MU, while Higgins drove in two and added two scores. Monmouth, which scored seven runs with two outs yesterday, added two more two-out scores against the Blue Devils.
Kerski was (7-2) was saddled with the loss, working 3.1 innings, allowing five runs on five hits, while Tesseyman tossed the final 4.2 frames, allowing two runs on six hits.