WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Craig Sweeney (Middletown, N.J./Middletown South) had four hits and scored twice as the Monmouth University baseball team split a Northeast Conference doubleheader with Quinnipiac, Sunday afternoon on the MU Baseball Field, defeating the Bobcats, 5-1, in Game 1, before falling by the same score in Game 2. With the split, the Hawks move to 8-10 (2-2 NEC), while the Bobcats are now 7-7 (2-2 NEC).
Steve Wilgus (Woolwich, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) added three hits, while Kyle Perry (Toms River, N.J./Toms River South) and Owen Stewart (Howell, N.J./St. Rose) had two hits apiece. Perry added a pair of RBI’s while Stewart had a run scored and an RBI. Chris Perret (Morris Plains, N.J./Morris Catholic) also added a pair of RBI’s on the day.
On the mound, Adam Yunginger (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township) got the win in Game 1, hurling the complete seven innings. He allowed just one earned run on four hits and a walk, striking out four. Dan Smith (Marlton, N.J./Cherokee) took the Game 2 loss, allowing five runs, three earned, on seven hits and three walks in 5.1 innings pitched. He struck out one. Jeff Paglione (Mantua, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) pitched 2.2 solid innings of relief, limiting the Bobcats to one hit and one walk, while allowing just one inherited runner to score.
Brian Ruditys, Tom Donovan and Zak Palmer led the QU offense with two hits apiece, while Vincent Guglietti had a team-best two RBI’s. Justin Thomas got the Game 2 victory, hurling seven innings while allowing one earned run on six hits and two walks. He struck out four. Kevin O’Connell closed out the victory with two solid innings of relief. In Game 1, Nick Fabrizio took the loss, allowing five runs, four earned, on three hits and three walks over five innings pitched. He struck out two.
The Bobcats struck first in Game 1 with a run in the second inning. Chris Migani led off with an infield single and stole second. He then scored on Guglietti’s single up the middle. The Hawks got the run back in the fourth. Sweeney led off the inning with a single through the left side before advancing to second on a wild pitch. He moved to third on a groundout and scored on Stewart’s sacrifice fly to right."
The Hawks broke the game open with four runs in the top of the sixth. Jake Gronsky (Danville, Pa./Danville Area) led off with a walk and moved to second on Sweeney’s single to left. Jon Guida (Martinsville, N.J./Bridgewater Raritan) singled through the left side to load the bases, before Stewart hit a ground ball to third. The third baseman charged and threw errantly home to allow Gronsky to score the go-ahead run. Fabrizio was then pulled in favor of lefty Matt DeRosa. The junior lefty induced a force out at home before plunking Perret to force Guida to the plate. DeRosa was then replaced by O’Connell, who immediately allowed a two-run Perry single through the left side, scoring Stewart and Dan Shea (Wilmington, Del./Salesianum) to stake MU to a 5-1 lead.
The lead was more than enough for Yunginger, who mowed down 12 of the final 13 Bobcats hitters to close out the complete-game victory.
In Game 2, the Bobcats struck for three runs in the first. After Smith retired the first two batters, Nic Civale topped a ground ball to third that Stewart backed up on, allowing Civale enough time to reach base. Migani followed with a walk, before Guglietti singled to left to drive in Civale. Migani also scored on a two-base error in the outfield, while Guglietti moved to third on the play. A fielding error on the next play allowed Guglietti to score, staking the Bobcats to a 3-0 lead.
The QU lead extended to 4-0 when Ruditys led off the fifth with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a Migani single up the middle. The Hawks got a run back in the top of the sixth when Sweeney led off with a single, moved to third on Stewart’s two-out single to right center and scored on an infield single from Perret. In the bottom of the inning, Donovan walked with one out, moved to second on a Jesse Ullrich single through the right side, and after Smith was replaced on the mound by Paglione, scored on a Ruditys single to center. Paglione did well to limit the damage to one run by inducing the next batter into a 4-6-3 double play, but the Bobcats held onto the 5-1 lead the rest of the way.
The Hawks return to action Tuesday, when they play host to future MAAC foe Saint Peter’s. First pitch from MU Baseball Field is scheduled for 3 p.m.