BOCA RATON, Fla. – Senior Andrew McGee (Toms River, N.J./Toms River South) threw a complete game, allowing only four hits and one unearned run to go along with six strikeouts, to lead Monmouth to a 5-1 win over Florida Atlantic on opening night. MU gave McGee all the support he needed in the top of the first, scoring five runs on six hits before the lefthander threw a pitch. With the victory, MU wins it’s fourth straight season opener and moves to 1-0 on the year, while FAU falls to 3-2.
Offensively for Monmouth, Robbie Alessandrine (Sewell, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI’s and Dan Shea (Wilmington, Del./Salesianum) drove in a pair of his own in the win. The Hawks posted 11 hits as a group, with four players notching multi-hit games. FAU, which was receiving votes in multiple polls during the preseason, only managed four hits all night, two of which came from Brendon Sanger. Stephen Kerr drove in the only Owls run of the night with a ninth inning sacrifice fly. Monmouth left runners on base in the seventh and ninth innings, including leaving a pair stranded in the final frame.
The Monmouth bats started quickly, as the first four batters reached with hits in the first inning. Steve Wilgus (Woolwich, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) and Jon Guida (Martinsville, N.J./Bridgewater Raritan) singled to get things started, and Jake Gronsky (Danville, Pa./Danville Area) brought in the first MU run of the season with a double to left. Shea followed with a two-run double to left, putting Monmouth up 3-0 before Florida Atlantic recorded an out. After a Kyle Perry (Toms River, N.J./Toms River South) walk and a Joe Bamford (Washington, N.J./Northampton C.C./Warren Hills Regional) infield hit, Alessandrine knocked a single through the right side, bringing home Shea and Perry and pushing the lead to 5-0. When all was said and done, the Blue and White posted five runs on six hits in the opening frame of the 2014 campaign.
After allowing a leadoff single in the bottom of the first to Brendon Sanger, McGee got Kerr to line into a double play, starting a stretch of 13 consecutive batters retired. The senior faced the minimum into the fifth, when Esteban Puerta doubled and was thrown out at home after a Robert Buckley single. McGee retired the side in order in the seventh and eighth. On the night, McGee threw five 1-2-3 innings and faced the minimum in six of the nine frames.
FAU starter Austin Gomber struggled in the early stages, throwing more than 40 pitches in the opening frame and allowing five runs. He eventually settled in, finishing six innings and not allowing another run. He struck out seven and gave up eight hits on the evening, and was checked with his second loss of the year, falling to 0-2 in the early season.
The Owls plated their only run in the ninth, when Jose Bonilla Traverso reached on a Gronsky throwing error. After a Sanger double moved Bonilla to third, Kerr brought him home to break up the shutout with a sacrifice fly to center. Tyler Rocklein also reached, putting runners on the corners for FAU with just one out, before McGee got Ricky Santiago to hit into a 6-4-3 double play, closing out the opening night win for MU. McGee’s outing marked his 13th career complete game, moving him into a tie for fourth all-time in the category with Dan Severino.
Monmouth and FAU continue the series tomorrow afternoon at FAU Baseball Field with first pitch set for 4:00 p.m.