STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -The Monmouth University baseball team split a Northeast Conference doubleheader with Wagner College, Saturday afternoon at R.C.B Ballpark. The Hawks dropped the first game 7-4 before picking up a 7-4 victory in the nightcap. After the 1-1 afternoon, the Blue and White stand at 13-9 (5-3 NEC) on the year, while Wagner's record totals 9-14 (5-3 NEC).
In game two, Monmouth rallied back from four down to earn the victory. Trailing 4-3 heading into the seventh, Ed Martin (Hazlet, N.J./Raritan [Brookdale CC]) started the inning with a single and Jamie Rosenkranz (Oakhurst, N.J./Ocean Township) reached via an error on his sacrifice bunt attempt. Following a pitching change, Jake Gronsky's (Danville, Pa./Danville Area) bunt single loaded the bases and junior Danny Avella (Matawan, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) followed with a base-clearing double down the right field line to give the Hawks a 6-4 lead. Owen Stewart's (Howell, N.J./St. Rose) RBI-double in the ninth, plating Gronsky, who singled earlier in the inning, added an insurance run for the Blue and White.
Rookie Charlie Battis (Hamilton, N.J./Steinert) came in for the ninth and captured the save for Stephen Frey (Washingtonville, N.Y./Washingtonville), who picked up his third win of the year. In his longest outing of his career, Frey allowed four runs on nine hits without yielding a walk. Battis worked a perfect ninth with two punch-outs to complete his second save of the season.
Wagner jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second inning, highlighted by a two-run triple by Bill Murphy.
Monmouth got on the board in third as Martin reached on a fielding error, moved to second on Rosenkranz's single and came in to score on a Gronsky base hit to cut Wagner's lead to 4-1.
Chris Perret (Morris Plains, N.J./Morris Catholic) doubled with one out in the sixth, which moved Stewart, who reached on a fielder's choice, to third. Jon Guida (Martinsville, N.J./Bridgewater Raritan) connected on a two-run single up the middle, chasing in Stewart and Perret, to reduce the Wagner lead to one, 4-3.
Gronsky finished the nightcap 4-for-5 with a RBI, while Stewart and Guida each contributed two hits.
In game one, Nick Dini broke the ice for Wagner in the bottom of the first inning, connecting on a two-run single, to give Wagner an early 2-0 lead.
The Hawks chipped away at WC's lead in the second as Tim Bickford (Wallingford, Conn./Mark T. Sheehan) singled, moved to second on a Guida base knock and to third on Josh Boyd's (Port Murray, N.J./West Morris Catholic) walk. Martin connected on the first pitch through the right side, chasing in Bickford to cut the Seahawks' lead in half, 2-1.
Back-to-back singles by Jason Keel and Dini plated two runs for Wagner in the third inning and the Ian Miller scored on a balk in the home half of the fourth to increase the Seahawks' advantage to 5-1.
The Hawks tallied two runs in the sixth as Stewart singled to start the frame, moved to second and third on wild pitches, and came around to score on a Wagner throwing error. Bickford registered a one-out double to the left center field gap and was pitch-ran for by rookie Kyle Perry (Toms River, N.J./Toms River South). The freshman advanced to third on Guida's single and scored on a groundout by Boyd, brining the Hawks within two, 5-3.
Wagner added insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth on a two-run home run from Nick Alfano to go ahead 7-3.
Rosenkranz, who earned a free pass to reach base, came around to score on Stewart's base hit in the seventh to round out the Hawks' scoring.
Martin, Bickford, Perret, Guida and Stewart each registered two hits for the Blue and White in game one.
Dan Smith (Marlton, N.J./Cherokee) was tagged with the loss, falling to 3-3 on the season after working 5.2 innings allowing six earned runs on 10 hits with three strike outs. Freshman Adam Yunginger (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township) struck out the only batter he faced out of the Monmouth bullpen.
MU returns to action this Tuesday, March 27th, at 3:30 p.m. as it travels to Jersey City for a non-conference tilt with Saint Peter's.