ARLINGTON, Va.- Joe Bamford (Washington, N.J./Northampton C.C./Warren Hills Regional) went four-for-five with three runs scored, and Danny Avella (Matawan, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) drove in three runs as MU never trailed in a 6-5 win over George Washington on Saturday afternoon at Barcroft Park. MU improves to 3-8 with the win, while GW drops to 5-10.
Bamford and Avella led an MU offense that saw seven starters record at least one hit on the day, while T.J. Hunt (Wyckoff, N.J./Ramapo) started and threw 5.2 innings, allowing three runs, two earned on eight hits, striking out two. He moves to 1-2 with the win. Stephen Frey (Washingtonville, N.J./Washingtonville) came on to strike out Eli Kashi to end the sixth, and ended up going 2.1 innings, giving up two runs on three hits. Jeff Paglione (Mantua, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) entered to work a scoreless ninth inning to earn his second save of the season, throwing just six pitches to retire the Colonials in order and nail down the victory.
The home team was led by Owen Beightol, who went three-for-three with three runs scored. The four through eight spots in the Colonials lineup accounted for all but one of the hits GW recorded on the afternoon. Starter Aaron Weisberg threw five innings, surrendering five runs on nine hits, striking out six. Andrew Piccin went 2.1 scoreless out of the bullpen for George Washington.
Robbie Alessandrine (Sewell, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) dropped down a perfect bunt that split the pitcher and third baseman with one out in the third, and Bamford followed with a base hit to right. Steve Wilgus (Woolwich, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) then went the other way with a double off the left field warning track, scoring Alessandrine to give MU the 1-0 lead. Jake Gronsky (Danville, Pa./Danville Area) lifted a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0, and Avella punched a single back up the middle to make it a three-run inning for the Hawks.
Beightol singled to center to start the GW fourth, and moved up on Bobby Campbell’s slow roller up the third base line that earned him a single. Matthieu Robert laced a line-drive single to right to load the bases, and Kashi delivered a liner to center that scored two and cut the Monmouth lead to 3-2.
Bamford put down a well-placed bunt in the fifth that didn’t even get a throw from the third baseman Campbell. After stealing second, Bamford scored on Gronsky’s long drive to left that hit off the base of the wall. Avella was next, and he put one in nearly the exact same spot as Gronsky off the wall in left. All told, MU scored two in the frame and led 5-2.
Beightol hit a double hard to left leading off the sixth for George Washington, and Cody Bryant put one up the middle that Gronsky kept in the infield with a dive, but his throw to first was wide and allowed Beightol to come around and score, making it a 5-3 ballgame. The Blue and White would immediately answer in the top of the seventh, when Bamford snuck one inside the first base bag for a double leading off, his fourth hit of the game. Wilgus was hit in the back with a pitch, and Gronsky executed a sacrifice bunt successfully to move the runners into scoring position. Avella lifted a sac fly, and Monmouth regained the three-run lead, 6-3 after seven.
The Colonials added a pair in the eighth to draw within a run, as Beightol dropped a single into right and Bryant sent a double inside the third base bag with one out. A sacrifice fly scored Beightol, and Robert hit a fly ball to right that Craig Sweeney (Middletown, N.J./Middletown South) nearly made a sliding catch on, but it was ruled to have hit the turf and another run came home to make it 6-5, MU. Paglione went 1-2-3 in the ninth to lock down the MU win.
The series concludes tomorrow at Barcroft Park against George Washington, with first pitch set for noon in Arlington, Va.