CARY, N.C. - For the second-straight season, the Monmouth University baseball team earned an opening day victory, as it defeated Wright State, 10-2, in the 2012 opener for both teams, Friday afternoon at the USA Baseball Complex. Trailing by a run in the fourth inning, senior Josh Boyd (Port Murrary, N.J./West Morris Central) and sophomore Jake Gronsky (Danville, Pa./Danville Area) combined to drive in four runs, all with two outs, which gave MU a lead it would never relinquish. Junior starter Pat Light (Colts Neck, N.J./Christina Brothers Academy) hurled 7.0 innings, striking out six without allowing a walk en route to his first win of the season.
"We just went out and played our game today," said Head Coach Dean Ehehalt following the victory. "Pat was masterful on the mound and it really gave us a boost with his performance. Our guys continued to battle and we put up four runs the 5th thanks to good at-bats and a clutch double by Jake. We played very good defensively and I am pleased with the effort we showed against a good program in Wright State."
Heading into the fifth inning down a run, senior Ed Martin (Hazlet, N.J./Raritan [Brookdale CC]) led off the frame with a single and moved to second on Tim Bickford's (Wallingford, Conn./Mark T. Sheehan)walk. After back-to-back strikeouts from Raiders' starter, Joey Hoelzel, Boyd laced a single to center, plating Martin to knot the game at one. Jamie Rosenkranz (Oakhurst, N.J./Ocean Township) worked a walk which set up Gronsky, who took the first pitch he saw to the gap in left-center field, clearing the bases which gave MU to a 4-1 lead.
The Hawks never looked as back as they tacked on two more runs in the sixth on Jon Guida's (Martinsville, N.J./Bridgewater Raritan) single, chasing in Martin who doubled, and Boyd's bunt single, scoring Craig Sweeney (Middletown, N.J./Middletown South) who worked a walk after a nine-pitch at-bat.
WSU added a run in the eighth inning on Corey Davis' single to right, but the Blue and White responded with four in the final frame on RBI hits from Gronsky, junior Danny Avella (Matawan, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) and Bickford, while receiving the help of a wild pitch with the bases loaded.
Gronsky finished the day 3-for-5 with four runs batted in and a run scored, while Boyd contributed two hits, two RBIs and came around to score twice. Martin and Guida both had a pair of hits in the victory.
Sophomore Andrew McGee (Toms River, N.J./Toms River South) relieved Light for the final two innings, allowing one run on three hits while fanning two and also did not allow a walk. Hoelzel is tagged with the loss for Wright State, which used five pitchers in the contest, as he went 4.2 innings yielding four runs on four hits. The Raiders received 4.1 innings from their bullpen, which allowed six runs on seven hits.
Monmouth is back in action tomorrow for a doubleheader against Saint Joseph's at 11:30 a.m. followed by a clash with Youngstown State at 3 p.m., both at the USA Baseball Complex.
Follow MU Baseball on Twitter: @MUHawksBaseball