JERSEY CITY, N.J.
– The Monmouth University baseball team split a doubleheader at Saint Peter’s on Saturday afternoon, winning the first game 9-7 before falling in the later game, 7-6. MU is now 7-14 overall and 4-2 in the MAAC, while the Peacocks move to 6-20, 1-6 in the league.
Andrew McGee (Toms River, N.J./Toms River South) won the opener for Monmouth, going 8.2 innings, allowing six runs but only one earned on nine hits, striking out eight. Jeff Paglione (Mantua, N.J./Gloucester Catholic )finished the game off for his third save of the year. Zach Hopf got the loss for SPU, tossing 6.2 innings, surrendering two runs, one earned on six hits. Jake Gronsky (Danville, Pa./Danville Area) went 4-for-5 with three runs scored in the first game, and Craig Sweeney (Middletown, N.J./Middletown South) hit an opposite-field grand slam in the ninth inning of the first game.
Mark Wilson was the winner in the second game for Saint Peter’s, tossing 5.1 innings and allowing six runs, five earned on nine hits. Ed Mejias went 1.2 for the save. T.J. Hunt (Wyckoff, N.J./Ramapo) got the loss for MU, giving up five runs, four earned in 4.1 innings. Ricky Dennis (Warrington, Pa./Central Bucks South) threw a scoreless sixth out of the bullpen.
In the first game, MU got on the board in the third when Robbie Alessandrine (Sewell, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) was hit by a pitch and came around to score on Joe Bamford (Washington, N.J./Northampton C.C./Warren Hills Regional)’s run-scoring triple to right. Ariel Ramirez tied the game with a home run in the bottom of the frame. Sean Henry doubled and scored on an error in the fifth, giving SPU the 2-1 lead. Danny Avella (Matawan, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) laced an RBI single in the sixth after Gronsky got aboard with a single, tying the game at two.
The Hawks put up a three spot in the eighth, when Gronsky singled and moved to second on Sweeney’s walk. Avella drove one in with a double to center, and freshman Grant Lamberton (Newark, Del./Salesianum) followed with a two-run double, giving Monmouth a 5-2 advantage. The MU offense added four more on one swing in the ninth, as Sweeney hit an opposite-field grand slam to put MU up 9-2 after two walks and a base hit. It was Sweeney’s second home run in a week, hitting his first of the year last Saturday against Niagara.
Saint Peter’s plated five runs in the ninth to cut the lead to 9-7, scoring on McGee, Stephen Frey (Washingtonville, N.Y./Washingtonville) and Paglione, but couldn’t get the equalizer as Paglione got Vinny Maietta swinging to end the game and give Monmouth the Game One win.
The second game began with much of the same, when Sweeney sent a double to right that plated Bamford, who singled and moved over on a ground out and a wild pitch. A pair of hits in the third gave the Hawks a 2-0 lead when Gronsky led off with a double and Avella came through with a base hit to bring the run home. After SPU answered with a run in the last of the third, MU produced a pair in the top of the fourth. Bamford added an RBI single after Connor White (Wall, N.J./Wall) walked and Jon Guida (Martinsville, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) reached on an error. Guida and Bamford then executed a double steal, with Guida swiping home to make it 4-1 Monmouth.
The Peacocks put up six runs in the fifth on the strength of six hits and a Monmouth error. Henry had a two run double in the inning, and Chris Hugg produced a run-scoring hit as well. MU started the sixth with four straight hits from White, Guida, Ryan Bailey (Mount Kisco, N.Y./Fox Lane), and Bamford, the fourth of which plated a run. Steve Wilgus (Woolwich, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) put another run up with an RBI groundout, but the Blue and White would not get any closer, falling in the second game, 7-6.
Tomorrow is the final game of the weekend MAAC set at Saint Peter’s, and first pitch has been moved to 1:00 p.m. from noon.