WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Andrew McGee (Toms River, N.J./Toms River South) threw a complete game shutout, his third complete game his last four outings, as the Monmouth University baseball team split its Northeast Conference opening doubleheader against Quinnipiac with a 1-0 win and a 3-2 loss Saturday afternoon at MU Baseball Field. The series was moved to West Long Branch because Quinnipiac’s field was unplayable, resulting in the Bobcats being designated the home team for the series. The Hawks move to 7-9 (1-1 NEC), while the Bobcats got a walk-off win in Game 2 to move to 6-6 (1-1 NEC).
McGee scattered 11 hits and two walks while striking out seven in the nine-inning complete-game shutout. T.J. Hunt (Wyckoff, N.J./Ramapo) allowed two runs, but neither were earned, in going five innings in his first-career start. He allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out one over five-plus innings. Neil Harm (Hamilton, N.J./Steinert) took the loss in Game 2, allowing an earned run on two hits and two walks without retiring a batter in the eighth inning of what was scheduled to be a seven-inning contest.
Owen Stewart (Howell, N.J./St. Rose) led the Hawks offense with a 3-for-5 effort with a pair of sacrifice bunts. Dan Shea (Wilmington, Del./Salesianum) and Steve Wilgus (Woolwich, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) had two hits each, with Shea adding an RBI in Game 2. Jake Gronsky (Danville, Pa./Danville Area) got the Hawks on the board in Game 2 with an RBI double.
Scott Donaghue had a pair of multi-hit games to pace the Quinnipiac offense, finishing with a 5-for-8 effort. Nic Civale and Chris Migani had three hits each for the Bobcats, with Migani delivering a walk-off single in the eighth inning of Game 2. Derek Lamacchia took the tough-luck loss for the Bobcats, allowing one earned run on four hits and a walk over the full nine innings of Game 1. He struck out six. Spencer Kane got the Game 2 start and allowed two earned runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out two. Gary Binkiewicz hurled three innings of sterling relief to pick up the win. He allowed just two hits while striking out one.
In Game 1, the Bobcats threatened in the bottom of the first inning. With two outs, Civale got things started with a single before Migani doubled down the left field line. Civale tried to score on the play, but was cut down by a perfect relay from left fielder Joe Bamford (Washington, N.J./Warren Hills Regional [Northampton C.C.]) to shortstop Jon Guida (Martinsville, N.J./Bridgewater Raritan) to catcher Kyle Perry (Toms River, N.J./Toms River South).
The Hawks immediately responded with a run in the top of the second. Chris Perret (Morris Plains, N.J./Morris Catholic) led off with a walk before moving to second on a groundout. Stewart followed with a two-out infield single and Perret scored on an errant throw to first.
The run would be all McGee needed to secure the victory. The crafty lefty allowed a baserunner to reach in each of the nine innings but prevented a Bobcat from crossing home plate. He worked out of a first and third situation with one out in the fourth, getting a line out and a strikeout to extinguish the threat. In the sixth, the Bobcats threatened with runners on second and third with two outs, but McGee induced a ground ball for the final out. With his pitch count climbing, McGee did not allow a baserunner past first base in the final three innings.
In Game 2, the Hawks jumped out to a 2-0 lead with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Craig Sweeney (Middletown, N.J./Middletown South) led off the fourth with a double to left center before Bamford drew a walk. Stewart moved the runners over to second and third with a sacrifice bunt before Shea delivered an RBI single through the right side, putting runners on the corners. An unsuccessful squeeze play and a foul out ended the Hawks’ threat in the fourth.
In the fifth, Guida was hit by a pitch and scored on Gronsky’s double to left, staking the Hawks to a 2-0 lead. Perret moved Gronsky over to third with a groundout but Kane coaxed a groundout and a popout to limit the damage to one.
A hit-by-pitch, a single to left and a bunt single off Hunt loaded the bases for the Bobcats in the bottom of the sixth. Monmouth Head Coach Dean Ehehalt then turned to Jeff Paglione (Mantua, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) and the sidearming righty induced a 1-2-3 double play. Ehehalt again went to his bullpen to summon Stephen Frey (Washingtonville, N.J./Washingtonville). Frey induced a ground ball to shortstop and looked to be out of the inning. But a throwing error allowed two runs to score, tying the game.
After a scoreless seventh and top half of the eighth, Ehehalt called on Harm. The veteran righty walked the first batter he faced, threw the ball away on a pickoff attempt and surrendered an infield single to put runners on the corners. After intentionally walking Forrest Dwyer to load the bases, Migani delivered a base hit to left center to end the game.
The Hawks and Bobcats conclude their NEC series tomorrow at MU Baseball Field. A nine-inning game is scheduled for noon before a seven-inning game follows to wrap up the series.