WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – The Monmouth University baseball team clinched a berth in the 2013 Northeast Conference Tournament behind eight strong innings from Andrew McGee (Toms River, N.J./Toms River South) in beating LIU Brooklyn, 6-1, on Friday afternoon at the MU Baseball Field. With the win, MU picks up its 30th win for the third consecutive season and improve to 30-21 (19-10 NEC) on the year. The Blackbirds fall to 19-31 (15-14 NEC) on the season.
Four Hawks added multiple hits, as Jake Gronsky (Danville Pa./Danville Area), Joe Bamford (Washington, N.J./Warren Hills Regional [Northampton CC]), Jon Guida (Martinsville, N.J/Bridgewater Raritan) and Dan Shea (Wilmington, Del./Salesanium) all had two hits. Guida also scored twice as the Hawks put up a run in the fifth and five more in the sixth. McGee went eight innings, allowing just one run on five hits, striking out five and walking nobody. The eight innings run his season total to 102.1, surpassing Pat Light's record (101.1 IP) set last season. Jeff Paglione (Mantua, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) threw a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the victory.
John Ziznewski was the only Blackbird who had two hits on the day, and three other LIU Brooklyn players had a hit. Justin Topa got the loss, going six innings and allowing six runs, only four of them earned, on ten hits. Tito Marrero tossed two scoreless innings in relief.
The Blackbirds got on the board first in the fourth inning when Kyle DeMarco led off with a bunt single down the first base line. Ziznewski followed with a base hit back through the box, setting up Kevin Needham for an RBI ground out after Jesse Brown sacrificed the runners up a base.
Monmouth battled back in the bottom of the fifth when Bamford led off with a single just out of the reach of the shortstop Ziznewski and moved to second on a Craig Sweeney (Middletown, N.J./Middletown South) ground out. After Bamford was retired at third on a Guida fielder’s choice, Shea pushed a single through the left side and Robbie Alessandrine (Sewell, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) followed with a base hit to center. With two down and the bases loaded, Kyle Perry (Toms River, N.J./Toms River South) grounded one to second that was bobbled by DeMarco and enabled MU to tie the game at 1.
The Hawks grabbed the lead with five runs in the sixth to widen their lead to 6-1. Gronsky and Bamford singled in front of Sweeney, who knocked a base hit to left to bring in the first run of the inning. Guida singled on a grounder to third and went to second on a throwing error by Diego Perez, enabling Bamford to come home. Shea continued the hit parade for MU with a single through the right side to score Sweeney. Alessandrine followed with a base hit of his own, scoring Shea and after a fielding error by left fielder Mike Garcia, Guida came home as well to cap off the five run frame.
The series continues tomorrow with a doubleheader of seven-inning games set to begin at 1 p.m. from the MU Baseball Field.