BASEBALL SWEEPS DOUBLEHEADER FROM WAGNER
WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Junior left-handed pitcher Andrew McGee (Toms River, N.J./Toms River South) threw his fifth complete game of the season and Owen Stewart (Howell, N.J./St. Rose) and Jon Guida (Martinsville, N.J./Bridgewater Raritan) added two RBI’s apiece as the Monmouth University baseball team swept a doubleheader against Wagner with a 3-2 win in Game 1 and a 3-1 victory in Game 2 on Saturday afternoon at the MU Baseball Field. With the wins, the Hawks improve to 19-12 (11-3 NEC), while the Seahawks fall to 12-18 (5-5 NEC).
Stewart led the Hawks’ offense with three hits and two RBI’s on the day, while Guida added two hits and two RBI’s. Kyle Perry (Toms River, N.J./Toms River South) and Jake Gronsky (Danville, Pa./Danville Area) also added two hits, a double and a run scored each. Dan Shea (Wilmington, Del./Salesianum) crushed his first collegiate home run in Game 1.
McGee, who entered the weekend second in the nation in complete games, went nine strong innings, allowing just two runs, one earned, on six hits without walking a batter. He struck out five. McGee set down 10 of the last 11 batters he faced and didn’t allow a runner past first base in the final three innings. T.J. Hunt (Wyckoff, N.J./Ramapo) earned the Game 2 win, allowing just one earned run on six hits without walking a batter. He struck out two and needed just 69 pitches to cruise through six innings. Jeff Paglione (Mantua, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) earned his first collegiate save, holding the Seahawks scoreless in the seventh inning of Game 2 on a hit and a walk, while striking out one.
A pair of Wagner pitchers threw complete games, but took losses on Saturday. Ryan Casey went eight innings in Game 1, allowing three earned runs on six hits and a walk. He struck out one. Matt Morris went six innings in Game 2, allowing three runs, one earned, on seven hits and two walks. He struck out one. Ian Miller led Wagner offensively with four hits, while Jayson Keel added three hits. Shaun Flynn had two hits, while Chris Smith, Nick Dini and Nick Alfano knocked in the three Seahawks runs on the day, scored by Miller, Smith and Dini.
All the scoring in Game 1 took place in the sixth inning. Wagner struck first for two runs. Smith reached on a throwing error and after Dini had a would-be triple ruled foul, he returned to the plate and tripled to left center, scoring Smith. Dini then scored on an Alfano sacrifice fly.
In the bottom half of the inning, Shea led off with a lined shot over the right field wall to cut the deficit in half. After Perry doubled and Gronsky reached with a one-out hit-by-pitch, Chris Perret’s (Morris Plains, N.J./Morris Catholic) groundout to first moved the runners to second and third. Stewart then sent a line drive past the third baseman for a two-out, two-run single that proved to be the difference in the game.
In the first inning of Game 2, the Hawks pieced together a run with a two-out rally. Perret and Stewart had consecutive singles through the right side and Bamford drew a walk to load the bases. Guida then grounded to third, but the ball took a tricky hop that Wagner third baseman Ben Ruta managed to stop on a dive, but he was left with no play. Perret scored on the play to give Monmouth a 1-0 lead.
The Seahawks drew even in the third with a two-out rally. Miller got things started with a single and scored on Smith’s double down the left field line. But again, the Hawks immediately responded to a Wagner run with a run of their own. Morris recorded the first two outs of the inning, before Bamford reached on an error to prolong the inning. Guida doubled to deep center to drive in his and the Hawks’ second run of the game.
The Hawks added an insurance run in the fifth when Perret reached on an error, moved to second on a Stewart sacrifice bunt, and scored on another error to push the advantage to 3-1. Hunt and Paglione would record three outs each to cement the win.
Monmouth concludes its Northeast Conference series with Wagner with another doubleheader on Sunday. First pitch from MU Baseball Field is scheduled for noon.