– In its first game of the 2009 NCAA Regional, the Monmouth University baseball team fell 8-1 to the No. 10-ranked team in the nation, the Ole Miss Rebels, in the Oxford Regional at O-U Stadium, in front of 8,511 fans.
Ole Miss, hosting its fifth NCAA Regional, and appearing in its seventh straight NCAA Tournament, improves to 41-17 on the season, while Monmouth falls to 32-24.
Back-to-back doubles to left field to open the game gave Ole Miss an early 1-0 advantage, and after Monmouth was unable to turn a double-play, a Kyle Henson sacrifice fly to left pushed the Rebels in front 2-0. Zach Miller’s run-scoring triple to the right field corner inflated the lead to 3-0, against starter Brett Brach
In the bottom of the second, Evan Button laced a one-out ground rule double to right center, and came around with Ole Miss’ fourth run, on Jordan Henry’s chopper up the middle.
In the top of the third, Monmouth put a pair of runners on, after Jamie Rosenkranz
reached on a throwing error charged to the third baseman, and Josh Boyd
dropped down a bunt single, but Ole Miss starting pitcher, Drew Pomeranz, worked out of trouble with a strikeout and groundout.Nick Pulsonetti
laced a double off the left field wall in the top of the sixth inning with one out but was unable to score after Pomeranz was able to get Chris Collazo
and Paul Bottigliero
to strike out swinging to end the threat.
A long single off the right field wall by Bobby Dombrowski
and a two-out walk to Josh Boyd
gave Monmouth two base runners in the top of the seventh, but Brett Holland
’s groundout to short left the Hawks trailing by four runs.
Brach, who had not allowed a hit since the second inning, surrendered a lead-off single to Jordan Henry in the bottom of the seventh, and after a balk moved Henry into scoring position, Matt Smith delivered a two-out, run-scoring single, to push the Rebels ahead 5-0.
After Monmouth went down 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth, Ole Miss put two runners on with no out off reliever Nick McNamara
. After a hit-by-pitch and an infield single, Kevin Mort’s sacrifice bunt advanced both runners into scoring position. With the infield playing in, pinch-hitter Tim Ferguson laced a two-run single through the left side to increase the advantage to 7-0.
Following a free pass to lead-off hitter Henry, Tim Ballard
entered in relief of McNamara, before Logan Power’s RBI groundout pushed the lead to 8-0.Paul Bottigliero
drew a lead-off walk for the Hawks in the top of the ninth, while David Jacob
followed with a single through the right side, which advanced pinch-runner Matt McEndy
to second base. After a wild pitch from reliever Rory McKean advanced both runners into scoring position, Boyd delivered a run-scoring infield single to make the score 8-1.
Brach (7-3), who retired 13-of-14 batters during one stretch, tossed seven innings for the Hawks, allowing five runs on eight hits with eight strikeouts, in the loss.
Pomeranz, who walked the lead-off batter in the top of the ninth prior to exiting the contest, tossed 8.0 frames for the top-seeded Rebels, scattering five hits, with 10 strikeouts, while improving his record to 7-4 on the year.
Monmouth, playing in its fourth NCAA Tournament, stranded nine base runners in the loss, as the Hawks connected on seven hits during the game. Boyd went 2-for-3 for Monmouth, adding the Hawks lone RBI in the contest.
McNamara worked one-third of an inning, allowing three runs on two hits, while Ballard hurled a scoreless two-thirds of an inning.
With the loss, Monmouth returns to action tomorrow in its second game of the 2009 NCAA Oxford Regional, as the Hawks will face the No. 2 seed Missouri at 1:00 p.m. CT. photo courtesy of Matthew Sharpe