RICHMOND, VA. - The Monmouth University baseball team opened its 2011 campaign with a 6-1 victory over Virginia Commonwealth, Friday night at The Diamond Field. The Hawks (1-0), who scored one run apiece in six out of the first seven innings, received five strong innings from starter Nick Meyers (East Brunswick, N.J./ East Brunswick), along with four scoreless frames from the bullpen, in the win. The Rams fall to 1-3 on the season.
The victory marks the first time the Hawks opened up the season with a win since 2008, when they defeated East Carolina, 4-3.
"We really got a great pitching performance from Nick, Matt (Frazier), and Andy (McGee)," said head coach Dean Ehehalt, in his 18th season. "Our defense was outstanding and those guys just fed off of it.
Steve Sanguiliano (Flemington, N.J./Hunterdon Central) led off the top of the first inning with a single to third. After stealing second, Jamie Rosenkranz grounded to second baseman, Paul Nice, who committed a fielding error which allowed Sanguiliano to score, giving the Hawks an early 1-0 lead.
The Hawks tacked on another run in the third as Nick Pulsonetti doubled down the right field line and was advanced to third by junior Jamie Rosenkranz's (Oakhurst, N.J./Ocean Township) single through the left side. Sophomore Danny Avella's (Matawan, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) sacrifice fly to center drove in Pulsonetti for the Hawks' second run.
Senior Cal Costanzo (Edison, N.J./Edison) started the fourth with a double to right center and advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on junior Ed Martin's (Hazlet, N.J./Raritan [Brookdale CC]) ground out to push the Blue and White ahead 3-0. VCU cut the lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the frame when John Lenher singled up the middle to score Joey Cujas.
MU added three insurance runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh, including an RBI single in the sixth by junior Owen Stewart (Howell, N.J./St. Rose) chasing home Costanzo.
Meyers, who picked up his first win of the season, pitched five innings, allowing six hits and giving up one run while striking out five. Senior Matt Frazier (Whippany, N.J./Whippany Park) and rookie Andrew McGee (Toms River, N.J./Toms River South) pitched four scoreless innings in relief. Seth Cutler-Voltz was credited with the loss, allowing seven hits, five runs, three earned, striking out five and walking one.
The Hawks return to action tomorrow against the Rams with first pitch slated for 2 p.m.