BASEBALL OUTSLUGS LAFAYETTE, 16-10
EASTON, PA. – The Monmouth University baseball team outlasted Lafayette, 16-10, on Wednesday afternoon, as the Hawks connected on 19 hits en route to the non-conference win that was halted due to darkness in the top of the ninth inning. The Hawks improve to 16-10-1 on the season with the victory, while the Leopards fall to 17-12.
Monmouth loaded the bases in the first inning and capitalized on a sacrifice fly from senior Kyle Messineo (Cedar Grove, N.J./Cedar Grove) to take a 1-0 lead. Messineo drove in Kyle Higgins (Green Brook, N.J./Watchung Hills), who led off the game with a free pass from Lafayette starter Brad Woodfield.
The Leopards claimed a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first when Brad Weiss delivered a sacrifice fly, and Kevin Leasure laced a two-out, run-scoring single to left off Monmouth starting pitcher, freshman Nick Vallillo (Old Tappan, N.J./Northern Valley Regional).
LC went up 3-1 in the third, as a two-out error led to a score.
The Hawks responded with a five-run fourth frame, loading the bases, with no outs, off reliever Steve Roberts. With the bases packed, Justin Braun (Stony Brook, N.Y./St. John the Baptist) delivered a single, which was followed by a Brett Holland (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin) fielder’s choice groundout, tying the score at 3-3. With two runners in scoring position, Chris Collazo (Wall, N.J./Wall) scored on a wild pitch, which was followed by a Shawn Teters (Springdale, Ark./Springdale) two-run double to left, making the score 6-3.
Lafayette retaliated in the bottom of the fourth, when Mike Raible delivered a three-run double with two outs, tying the score at 6-6.
Rick Niederhaus (Whitehouse Station, N.J./Hunterdon Central) put the Hawks back ahead in the fifth, as the sophomore connected on his second home run of the season to lead off the inning. Collazo followed suit by unloading on his first career home run, a two-run shot to left, to give the Blue and White a 9-6 advantage.
The Leopards trimmed the Monmouth lead to 9-8 in the home half of the fifth, as a leadoff double, followed by a single pulled Lafayette within two runs. A sacrifice fly made the score 9-8. LC reclaimed the lead in the sixth as run-scoring singles by Kevin Leasure and Ian McCutcheon made the score 10-9.
Monmouth pulled even at 10-10 in the top of the seventh, when Messineo led off with a single, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and came around on Braun’s RBI single, but were unable to capitalize on a bases loaded situation.
MU carded four runs in the top of the eighth to snare a 14-10 advantage. The Hawks opened the frame with back-to-back singles from Andy Meyers (Stratford, N.J./Sterling) and Niederhaus, before Messineo was hit-by-a-pitch to load the bases once again. A passed ball allowed Meyers to score, before a Collazo groundout plated Niederhaus. Braun then followed with his first career triple, to left centerfield, to plate Messineo. John Dennis (Union, N.J./Union) drove in Braun with a sacrifice fly to make the score 14-10.
Teters connected on his first career home run in the top of the ninth inning, a two-run shot to left, to account for the final score.
Niederhaus went 4-for-5, including the home run, with three runs scored, while Braun tied career-highs with three hits and three RBI. Teters (three hits), Meyers, Messineo (three hits) and Collazo (three hits) each added multi-hit games.
Matt Frazier (Whippany, N.J./Whippany Park) earned the win for the Hawks, improving his record to 3-1, as the freshman worked 2.0 scoreless innings of relief. Vallillo tossed 4.0 innings surrendering eight runs on eight hits to open the contest.
Monmouth returns to action on Friday, when the Hawks take on Long Island University in Northeast Conference play at 3 p.m., the first game of a four-game series.