WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. - The Monmouth University baseball team split a Northeast Conference doubleheader with Central Connecticut State, Sunday afternoon. The Blue Devils (9-11-1, 6-6 NEC) picked up the win in game one, 4-0, while the Hawks (13-12, 8-4 NEC) came from behind in the seventh for a 10-9 victory in the nightcap.
In game two, MU got on the board in the first inning as Jamie Rosenkranz (Oakhurst, N.J./Ocean Township), for the second game in a row, started things off with a single. Jake Gronsky (Danville, Pa./Danville Area) and Ryan Terry (Levittown, Pa./Harry S. Truman) followed with base hits to load the bases and Danny Avella (Matawan, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) grounded into a double play, allowing Rosenkranz to score and pushing Gronsky to third. With Owen Stewart (Howell, N.J./St. Rose) at bat, Blue Devils' starter Tom Coughlin threw a wild pitch, scoring the rookie for the 2-0 lead.
The Hawks added two more runs in fourth as Cal Costanzo (Edison, N.J./Edison) reached on an infield single, Jon Guida (Martinsville, N.J./Bridgewater Raritan) earned a free pass, and his second wild pitch of the game, advancing the runners to third and second. Two batters later, Rosenkranz sent a hard ground ball to the shortstop, JP Sportman, who corralled it and threw it low and past Andy Lalli at first, which allowed Costanzo and Guida to score, giving the Hawks a 4-0 advantage.
CCSU cut the lead in half in the ensuing inning on AJ Lowers RBI single and Normand Gosselin's sacrifice fly.
Terry led off the fifth with a base knock and swiped second to get into scoring position. Avella registered a single to right-center field, moving Terry to third. Stewart grounded out to the first baseman, scoring Terry, and Martin singled to left, chasing home Avella, giving the Hawks a 6-2 cushion.
Central rattled off seven runs in the sixth innings on five hits, while taking advantage of three Monmouth errors to claim a three run lead, 9-6.
Similar to the fifth, Terry started the seventh with a single and moved to third Stewart's base-hit on a hit-and-run and later came around to score on Martin's RBI single through the left side. With two outs, Guida worked a walk and pinch hitter Chris Perret (Morris Plains, N.J./Morris Catholic) delivered a two-run single to right knotting the game, 9-9. With Perret on first and Guida on the third, the duo successfully completed a double steal, which allowed MU to retake the lead, 10-9, and proved to be the game-winning run.
Terry went 4-for-4 in game two, scoring two runs in the contest.
Matt Frazier (Whippany, N.J./Whippany Park) threw 1.1 innings, only allowing a walk, to earn the save, his second of the season, for freshman Stephen Frey (Washingtonville, N.Y./Washingtonville) who picked up his first career win hurling 1.1 shutout innings in relief. MU's starter Andy McDonnell (Newton Square, Pa./Archbishop Carroll) allowed five unearned runs in 5.1 innings of work. Nick McNamara (Branchburg, N.J./Somerville), Andrew McGee (Toms River, N.J./Toms River South),and Nick Vallillo (Old Tappan, N.J./Northern Valley Regional) combined for two runs on two hits in an inning out of the bullpen.
Tom Coughlin threw 4.0 frames, yielding five runs on six hits, for CCSU while Nick Boyd took the loss, allowing four runs on five hits in 3.0 innings of relief.
In game one, CCSU jumped on the sophomore starter Pat Light (Colts Neck, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) in the first inning on two-out RBI single by Sportman, giving the Blue Devils a 1-0 lead.
The Hawks threatened in the bottom half frame loading the bases on a Rosenkranz single, a Gronsky walk, and Terry base-hit, yet Blue Devils' starter Nick Nuemann struck out the next three batters to escape the jam.
CCSU added to their lead on Mitch Well's sacrifice fly in the fifth, Jake Matuszak's RBI-single in the sixth and Tyler Caserta came home on a pass ball by Cal Costanzo (Edison, N.J./Edison) to give CCSU an 4-0 lead.
Light (1-4) is saddled with the loss, throwing 6.0 innings allowing three unearned runs, while striking out five, while McNamara threw a perfect inning in relief. Nuemann tossed a complete game shutout allowing six hits, one walk while fanning eight.
Monmouth returns to action on Tuesday, April 5th, in an exhibition game with the Lakewood BlueClaws, the Single-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. The game, a seven-inning affair, will be played at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood, N.J. Tickets can be purchased through the BlueClaws box office, with all proceeds going to charity. Gates open 5:30 p.m. with first pitch schedule for 6:05 p.m.