BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Junior Pat Light (Colts Neck, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) struck out a career-best and school record 15 batters, without allowing a walk, and the Monmouth University baseball team held off a late rally by LIU Brooklyn in the ninth inning to earn a 6-5 Northeast Conference victory, Friday afternoon at LIU Field. Trailing 6-0 in the ninth, the Blackbirds plated five runs on five hits and had the game-winning run on first with two outs, but Joe Loiodice (Forest Hills, Md./John Carroll) got Tyler Jones to groundout to second to earn his second save of the season. With the victory, the Hawks improve to 28-16 (16-5 NEC) on the season, while the Blackbirds fall to 16-28 (7-14 NEC).
Light, who earned his seventh win of the year, worked eight innings on the hill. The 6-foot-6 righty allowed one run on five hits en route to his fifth league win. The local product, who had four perfect innings against the Blackbirds, registered a double-digit strikeout total for the fourth time this season.
The Hawks broke the scoreless tie in the seventh inning as Ed Martin (Hazlet, N.J./Raritan [Brookdale CC]) singled and advanced to third on Chris Perret's (Morris Plains, N.J./Morris Catholic) one-out base knock. With runners on first and second after Martin was tagged out at home on a Owen Stewart's (Howell, N.J./St. Rose) fielder's choice, Jon Guida (Martinsville, N.J./Bridgewater Raritan) singled to center, chasing in Perret and moving Stewart to third. Josh Boyd (Port Murray, N.J./West Morris Central) connected on a two-run double and Kyle Perry (Toms River, N.J./Toms River South) recorded an infield single to give the Blue and White a 4-0 lead.
Jake Gronsky (Danville, Pa./Danville Area) started the Hawks' offense in the eighth with a one-out double and Martin followed with a single, advancing Gronsky to third. With Danny Avella (Matawan, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) at bat, Martin was caught stealing at second, which allowed Gronsky to swipe home to increase the Hawks' lead to 5-0.
MU chipped in another run in the ninth on Perry's RBI single up the middle, scoring Stewart, who earned a free pass three batters earlier.
LIU Brooklyn strung together four-straight hits, which scored two runs, to start its final at bat. A bases loaded walk tallied another marker and a two-run single from Brad Greve brought the Blackbirds within one, but Loiodice got the final groundout to preserve the Blue and White's 6-5 victory.
Perry went 3-for-4 on the afternoon with two RBI, while Stewart scored a pair of runs for MU.
The Hawks and Blackbirds continue their four-game Northeast Conference series tomorrow at 1 p.m. with a doubleheader.