LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. – The Monmouth baseball team won its seventh straight game, and improved to 24-9 overall, with an 8-3 victory over Rider on Tuesday afternoon. Monmouth, which has won 22 of its last 23 games, collected double-digit hits for the fifth time in its last six outings, highlighted by home runs from Rick Niederhaus and Kyle Higgins.
Monmouth senior Brett Conner (1-0), who worked 6.0 innings, allowing just two earned runs, earned his first win of the season. Battling back from arm injuries during his career, the win was Conner’s first victory since the 2005 season. Junior Tim Ballard worked 3.0 scoreless frames, with four strikeouts, to earn his second save.
Rider jumped out first, posting an unearned run in the bottom of the first inning. After David Hayes connected on a one-out double and advanced to third on a groundout, he crossed the plate on a Monmouth error.
The Hawks went ahead 3-1 in the top of the second when Nick Pulsonetti and Ryan Terry reached base, in front of Niederhaus, who connected on a three-run home run to left field, his second of the year.
The Broncs knotted the score in the bottom of the third, when Maurice Williams connected on a two-out, two-run triple, tying the score at 3-3.
Monmouth went back in front, 4-3, in the top of the fourth, plating an unearned run, as Terry delivered a two-out single to left, driving in Brett Holland, who pinch ran for Pulsonetti.
Higgins put the Blue and White ahead 6-3 in the top of the seventh when the shortstop connected on a two-run homer to left, also driving in Niederhaus, who led off the frame with a walk. Monmouth, which posted four runs in the inning, pushed the lead to 8-3, when Shawn Teters walked, and crossed the plate on Paul Bottigliero’s double, and Bottigliero scored on a Holland single.
Higgins, who reached base in all five plate appearances, went 4-for-4 with a walk, two RBI and a run scored. Freshman Cal Costanzo went 2-for-4 for the Hawks in his start behind the dish.
Monmouth returns to action on Wednesday, when the Hawks travel to Saint Peter’s for a non-conference game, at 3:30 p.m.