GREENVILLE, N.C. - The Monmouth University baseball team scored a run in the top of the ninth to down in-state rival Rutgers, 3-2, in the final day of the Keith LeClair Classic hosted by East Carolina on Sunday. The Hawks, who received six strong innings from sophomore starter Dan Smith (Marlton, N.J./Cherokee), improve to 4-5 on the year while the Scarlet Knights fall to 5-8 with the loss.
In the final inning, Owen Stewart (Howell, N.J./St. Rose) led off with a single down the right field line and advanced to second on Cal Costanzo's (Edison, N.J./Edison) sacrifice bunt. Junior Josh Boyd (Port Murray, N.J./West Morris Central) connected on a RBI-double to left-center, scoring Stewart for the game's winning run. Freshman southpaw Andrew McGee (Toms River, N.J./Toms River) pitched a perfect inning to earn his first career save.
Monmouth got on the board in the second as Boyd reached second on a RU's throwing error. After an Ed Martin (Hazlet, N.J./Raritan (Brookdale CC) walk, senior Ryan Terry (Levittown, Pa./Harry S. Truman) connected with a single through the left side, scoring Boyd for a 1-0 lead.
The Hawks tacked on another run in the third as junior Danny Avella (Matawan, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) took a 1-2 pitch over the left field wall for his first home run of the season and a 2-0 MU lead.
The Scarlet Knights cut the lead in half in the sixth as Brandon Boykin registered a pinch-hit double and later scored on D.J. Anderson's groundout. RU tied the game at 2-2 an inning later on a throwing error by Avella. Senior Matt Frazier (Whippany, N.J./Whippany Park) relieved sophomore starter Smith and induced a groundout, a pop up and recorded a strikeout ending the Scarlet Knights attack with three runners stranded on base.
Smith struck out five, allowing one unearned run in 6.0 innings, while Frazier, who earned his first win of the season, and McGee combined to pitch 3.0 innings of perfect baseball. Nathaniel Roe is credited with the loss allowing three runs on eight hits in 8.1 innings of work.
Monmouth will open Northeast Conference play next weekend with a four-game set with Sacred Heart in West Long Branch.