BASEBALL OUTLASTS FDU, 5-3, IN 11 INNINGS
NORWICH, Conn. - Ed Martin (Hazlet, N.J./Raritan [Brookdale C.C.]) doubled to lead off the 11th and came around to score on Jake Gronsky's (Danville, Pa./Danville Area) single up the middle as the Monmouth University baseball team defeated Fairleigh Dickinson, 5-3, in the NEC Tournament Saturday afternoon. The win sets up an approximate 4 p.m. meeting with Sacred Heart. The Hawks must defeat the Pioneers today to force a winner-take-all championship game tomorrow.
Josh Boyd (Port Murray, N.J./West Morris Central) and Chris Perret (Morris Plains, N.J./Morris Catholic) led the Hawks with three hits apiece, while Jamie Rosenkranz (Oakhurst, N.J./Ocean Township) drove in a pair of runs with sacrifice flies. Gronsky also added a pair of hits and an RBI.
Joe Loiodice (Forest Hill, Md./John Carroll) picked up the win on the mound, pitching 3.1 innings of scoreless relief, allowing just two hits and a walk. Dan Smith (Marlton, N.J./Cherokee) started the game and went 7.2 innings, allowing three earned runs on 13 hits without walking a batter. Smith struck out one. Eric Snyder took the loss for FDU, allowing two earned runs on four hits and a walk.
The Hawks immediately jumped on the Knights for two runs in the first. Martin was hit by a pitch and Boyd doubled to left to put runners on second and third. Gronsky walked to load the bases, before Martin scored on a Perret fielder's choice that erased Gronsky at second. Boyd then scored on Rosenkranz's sacrifice fly to foul territory deep down the right field line to stake the Hawks to a 2-0 lead.
FDU evened the score in the bottom of the fourth with three consecutive two-out singles. Mike Eliasen singled up the middle, scoring Kyle Weeks. Following a Riley Moonan single down the right field line, Pat McClure's single through the left side brought Eliasen around to score the tying run.
The Hawks retook the lead in the top of the sixth. Perret laced a single up the middle to lead off the inning, before being erased at second on a failed sacrifice bunt attempt. But Danny Avella (Matawan, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) crushed a double off the right-center field wall to score Rosenkranz from first, giving MU a 3-2 lead.
After Jordan Ritz doubled with one out in the bottom of the seventh, Weeks tied the game at 3-3 with a two-out single up the middle.
After three scoreless frames, Martin led off the 11th with a double off the right field wall. He moved to third on a Boyd sacrifice bunt and scored when Gronsky singled up the middle through the drawn-in infield. Perret followed with a single through the right side, with Gronsky going first to third on the play. Rosenkrantz sent a fly ball deep enough to score Gronsky on the next play to give the Hawks an insurance run and a 5-3 lead. Loiodice induced a line-out and a 4-6-3 double play in the bottom half of the inning to end the game.