WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. - Chris Perret (Morris Plains, N.J./Morris Catholic) took the first pitch to the left center field gap, scoring two runs to cap off the Monmouth University baseball team's six-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat Rider, 6-5, Wednesday afternoon at MU Baseball Field. After eight scoreless innings, Rider (9-22) struck for five runs in the top of ninth before the Hawks (20-12) strung together seven hits to score six runs to walk off with their seventh-straight win.
Rider scored five runs on five hits and used the benefit of a Monmouth error to break the ice in the final frame. Down 5-0, Josh Boyd (Port Murray, N.J./West Morris Central) reached safely for the fourth time in as many plate appearances with a single to lead off the bottom of the ninth. Steve Wilgus (Woolwich, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) followed with a single, before Craig Sweeney (Middletown, N.J./Middletown South) ripped a pinch-hit double down the left field line to score Boyd and cut the MU deficit to 5-1.
With runners on second and third, Ed Martin (Hazlet, N.J./Raritan [Brookdale C.C.]) brought in Wilgus to make it a 5-2 game. Martin advanced to second on a wild pitch, before moving to third on a Jamie Rosenkrantz (Oakhurst, N.J./Ocean Township) single through the left side to plate Sweeney and whittle the Rider advantage to 5-3, still without recording an out.
After Rider reliever Jerry Mulderig was pulled in favor of Sean Kuberiet, Jake Gronsky (Danville, Pa./Danville Area) made it six-straight Monmouth base hits with a single to right field, bringing in Martin and leaving runners on first and second and the Hawks trailing by just one run. After Danny Avella (Matawan, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) flew out for the first out of the inning, Perret doubled to left center, scoring both Gronsky and Rosenkrantz to give Monmouth the dramatic victory.
Jeff Paglione (Mantua, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) was credited with his first-career win on the mound after coming on to record the last out of the top of the ninth. John McDonald (Langhorne, Pa./Conwell Egan Catholic) pitched six strong innings in making his first start of the year, scattering three hits and two walks while striking out one. Kuberiet took the loss, recording one out in the ninth, while allowing one earned run on two hits.
The Hawks return to Northeast Conference action Friday, when they travel to New Britain, Conn., to take on Central Connecticut State. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.