WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Behind a season-high 19 hits, including three home runs, the Monmouth University baseball team defeated Iona, 17-1, on Wednesday afternoon. Senior Kyle Messineo (Cedar Grove, N.J./Cedar Grove) drove in a career-high five runs, while junior Andy Meyers (Stratford, N.J./Sterling) connected on his second grand slam of the year, to help the Hawks improve to 9-7-1. The Gaels fall to 7-12 on the season.
After Iona touched Monmouth starting pitcher Brad Brach (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township) for a run on three consecutive singles to start the game, the Hawks responded with a run in the bottom of the first to tie the game, as Shawn Teters (Springdale, Ark./Springdale) laced a single to leftfield to plate Meyers, who had drawn a one-out walk.
Monmouth tacked on two runs in the second frame when Messineo lifted a sacrifice fly and Kyle Higgins (Green Brook, N.J./Watchung Valley) delivered an RBI single, making the score 3-1.
Messineo’s third home run of the season, a three-run shot down the leftfield line in the fourth, started a five-run ralley in the inning. Teters delivered another RBI single, while Rick Niederhaus (Whitehouse Station, N.J./Hunterdon Central) lifted a sacrifice fly to left to drive home Meyers, increasing the Hawks’ lead to 8-1.
After a two-run sixth inning, behind run-scoring hits from Teters and pinch hitter John Elia (Hillsdale, N.J./Pascack Valley), the Blue and White tacked on five runs in the seventh, highlighted by a Messineo RBI single and Meyers’ second grand slam of the season, making the score 15-1.
Justin Braun’s (Stony Brook, N.Y./St. John the Baptist) home run to left field drove in Kevin Williams (Franklin, N.J./Pope John), who had collected his first career hit in the prior at-bat, ballooned the advantage to 17-1.
Brach went 7.0 innings, allowing the solo run on five hits, while striking out five to improve to 2-1 on the season. After allowing singles to the first three batters of the game, Brach surrendered just two singles and a fielder’s choice to the next 24 batters faced.
In his first game in the leadoff spot, Messineo went 2-for-3, with five RBI and three runs scored. Higgins added four hits and three runs, while Meyers tallied four RBI and two runs scored. Teters, Braun and John Dennis (Union, N.J./Union) each collected three hits for the Hawks.
Kevin Carmody (0-1) was saddled with the loss, after working 5.0 innings, allowing eight runs on nine hits, while walking six.
Monmouth returns to action this weekend, when the Hawks travel to Lynchburg, Virginia for a three-game series at Liberty University, starting on Saturday, March 31 at 11 a.m.