WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – The Monmouth baseball team, which has won 17 of its last 18 games, posted an 11-4 victory over Rider in non-conference action on Tuesday afternoon. Junior Tim Ballard’s three and one-third innings of scoreless relief helped the Hawks improve to 19-9 overall, while Rider falls to 17-14.
Monmouth notched three runs in the third inning, as senior Kyle Higgins scored after consecutive wild pitches, and junior Paul Bottigliero jacked his first home run, a two-run shot over the scoreboard in left center, for the 3-0 lead.
Freshman Ryan Terry led of the Monmouth fourth inning with a single to left, and advanced all the way to third after a stolen base and a wild pitch. After junior Brett Holland walked, to put runners at the corners, Terry scored on the second wild pitch of the frame, putting the Hawks ahead 4-0.
Freshman Cal Costanzo, making just his second career start behind the plate, put Monmouth in front 5-0 in the same inning, with his single up the middle, which scored Holland. Senior Andy Meyers’ bloop double to left drove in Costanzo, as the Hawks took a 6-0 edge, and Bottigliero notched his second run-scoring hit, a single to center, for the 7-0 advantage.
Rider finally broke through in the top of the fifth inning, when David Hayes connected on a two-run, two-out double with the bases loaded off sophomore starter Kyle Breese, to pull within 7-2. The Broncs received a second two-run double when Sean Olson followed with a double to left center, pulling Rider within three runs, and chasing Breese from the game.
Ballard ended the Broncs’ rally by getting Mason Heyne to line out to Higgins at short.
In the sixth, Monmouth got a run back to make the score 8-4, as a pair of wild pitches allowed Shawn Teters to cross after he originally reached on an infield single.
Terry’s third homer of the season, a lead-off shot to left field, put the Hawks in front 9-4, in the bottom of the seventh. After Holland was issued a walk, Costanzo’s hit-and-run single through the right side put runners at the corners before Higgins drove in Holland with a single to center, as Monmouth grabbed a 10-4 advantage. Monmouth reclaimed a seven-run lead when Meyers reached on an error, allowing Costanzo to score.
Breese, who worked 4.2 innings in his fourth start of the season, allowed four runs on six hits to the Broncs, in the no-decision. Ballard, who improved his scoreless inning streak to 19.1 innings, earned the win. The righty allowed three hits, with four strikeouts and no walks, to improve his record to 3-0 on the season. Sophomore Nick Vallillo pitched a scoreless ninth to preserve the win for the Blue and White.
Terry went 3-for-5 to lead Monmouth’s 12-hit outing, while Bottigliero added two hits and three RBI, and Costanazo registered his first career two-hit day.
Heyne had three doubles to lead the Broncs’ eight-hit attack.
Monmouth returns to action on Friday, when the Hawks open a four-game Northeast Conference series with Quinnipiac. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.