BASEBALL FALLS AT VCU, 8-3
RICHMOND, Va. - Steve Wilgus (Woolwich, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) had three hits and Owen Stewart (Howell, N.J./St. Rose) added two hits, but the Monmouth University baseball team was defeated by Virginia Commonwealth, 8-3, Saturday afternoon at The Diamond. With the loss, the Hawks fall to 4-8, while the Rams improve to 11-4. The Hawks outhit the Rams, 13-8, but were done in on a key throwing error in the third inning that led to five unearned VCU runs.
Wilgus went 3-for-5 with an RBI, while Stewart went 2-for-4. Jon Guida (Martinsville, N.J./Bridgewater Raritan) added a double and a run-scoring sacrifice fly, while Chris Perret (Morris Plains, N.J./Morris Catholic) added an RBI single. Craig Sweeney (Middletown, N.J./Middletown South), Dave Moreno (Voorhees, N.J./Eastern Regional) and Cary Jacobson (Los Angeles, Calif./Palisades) each singled and scored a run.
Dan Smith (Marlton, N.J./Cherokee) took the loss for the Hawks, allowing eight runs, but only three earned, in 3.1 innings pitched. Smith allowed seven hits and three walks while striking out one. The Monmouth bullpen - Jeff Paglione (Mantua, N.J./Gloucester Catholic), Chris McKenna (Pine Beach, N.J./Toms River South), Stephen Frey (Washingtonville, N.J./Washingtonville) and Neil Harm (Hamilton, N.J./Steinert) - hurled 4.2 innings of scoreless, one-hit relief.
Vimael Machin and Taylor Buran had two hits and two RBI's each to lead VCU, while Chris Ayers added an RBI single and a run-scoring sacrifice fly. James Bunn had a double, an RBI and two runs scored, while Joey Cujas also added an RBI single. Tyler Buckley earned the win on the mound for the Rams, allowing one earned run on eight hits and one walk over six innings. Seth Greene allowed two earned runs on five hits over three innings to pick up his second save of the season.
After two scoreless frames to open the game, Smith retired the first two batters in the third. But after a walk, Jake Gronsky's (Danville, Pa./Danville Area) throwing error put runners on the corners and kept the inning alive. Four straight base hits accounting for five unearned runs followed before Smith was able to induce a groundout to end the third.
The Hawks got one run back in the top of the fourth. Sweeney and Joe Bamford (Washington, N.J./Warren Hills Regional [Northampton C.C.]) began the inning with consecutive singles to put runners on first and second. A fielder's choice by Stewart erased Bamford and put runners on the corners. A flyout and a Robbie Alessandrine (Sewell, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) walk loaded the bases with two outs before Wilgus plated the Hawks' first run of the game with a single to right.
But VCU added three more runs in the bottom of the fourth, all charged to Smith. After getting the leadoff batter to fly out, Smith surrendered two doubles and two walks, the second intentional, before giving way to Paglione. The sophomore right-hander allowed two of the three inherited baserunners to score on a sacrifice fly and a single, before McKenna came on to get the final out of the inning.
Neither team could scratch across a run between the fifth and eight innings, but the Hawks managed two runs in the ninth. Jacobson led off with a pinch hit single, the first hit of his collegiate career, before Moreno followed suit with a pinch-hit single to left to put runners on the corners. Guida followed with a one-out sacrifice fly to score Jacobson. Perret's two-out infield single plated Moreno before the Rams recorded the final out of the game.
The Hawks conclude their three-game set at VCU on Sunday afternoon. First pitch from The Diamond is scheduled for 11 a.m.