WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Behind freshmen pitching and two, two-out home runs, the Monmouth University baseball team swept a doubleheader from visiting Vermont, 3-0 and 7-5, on Saturday afternoon. Monmouth improves to 8-6-1 on the year, while the Catamounts fall to 4-8.
In the first game, Monmouth starting pitcher, freshman Ryan Buch (Yardley, Pa./Conwell Egan) improved to 3-0 on the season, by working six scoreless innings with eight strikeouts, while allowing just three hits, in the Hawks’ 3-0 victory.
Senior Kyle Messineo (Cedar Grove, N.J./Cedar Grove) drove in the Hawks’ first run of the game with a double to leftfield, while junior John Dennis’ (Union, N.J./Union) single up the middle plated two more runs in the fourth to give the Hawks a 3-0 win.
Trailing 3-0 in game two, Messineo connected on a two-out, three-run home run to leftfield in the fifth inning to give the Hawks a 4-3 lead, and senior Justin Braun (Stony Brook, N.Y./St. John the Baptist) delivered a pinch-hit, two-out, three-run homer, which proved to be the game-winner, in the sixth frame, as Monmouth posted a 7-5 triumph.
The Catamounts went ahead 3-0 in the third inning off Monmouth starter Matt Frazier (Whippany, N.J./Whippany Park), as UVM collected five hits in the frame.
Monmouth trimmed the lead to 3-1 in the fourth when Messineo scored on a Rick Niederhaus (Whitehouse Station, N.J./Hunterdon Central) double play groundout. Messineo provided the Blue and White its first lead of the game when he connected on his second home run of the season, just inside the leftfield foul pole.
Vermont responded with two runs in the top of the sixth, when Bryce Shattie’s pinch-hit, two-out single through the left side, plated Jeff Heppner and Kyle Massie.
Trailing 5-4 in the bottom of the sixth, Shawn Teters (Springdale, Ark./Springdale) and Niederhaus drew walks off reliever Eric Thompson, before Braun delivered his two-out heroics.
Justin Esposito (Red Bank, N.J./Middletown North), who earned the save in game one, worked the final 1.1 innings, allowing no runs, to earn the win, improving his record to 1-1 on the season. Thompson fell to 0-2.
Messineo went 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored in the second game, while Frazier went 5.1 innings, allowing four runs on six hits in his second career start.
Monmouth returns to action on Sunday, March 25, when the Hawks host Vermont in the final game of the series at noon.