NEW BRITAIN, Conn. – Junior right-hander Brad Brach (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township), the Northeast Conference Pitcher of the Year, tossed a complete-game shutout to lead the No. 3 seeded Monmouth University baseball team to a 9-0 win over No. 2 seeded Mount St. Mary’s in the second game of the 2007 NEC Tournament on Thursday afternoon at New Britain Stadium.
The Hawks (34-21-1) will now face Central Connecticut (24-24), the No. 4 seed, on Friday at 3:30 p.m. in a winners’ bracket game.
Monmouth broke the game open early with six runs in the top of the second inning. All of runs were unearned and came with two outs.
Chris Collazo (Wall, N.J./Wall) was hit by a pitch with one out to start the rally. One out later, Justin Braun (Stony Brook, N.Y./St. John the Baptist) reached on an error. Catcher John Dennis (Union, N.J./Union) followed with a two-run double that opened the scoring in the contest.
Dennis’ two-bagger was the first of six straight hits for the Hawks. The next batter, Kyle Higgins (Green Brook, N.J./Watchung Hills), cracked a RBI single to put Monmouth up 3-0. An RBI double from senior Kyle Messineo (Cedar Grove, N.J./Cedar Grove) made it 4-0 before Andy Meyers (Stratford, N.J./Sterling) drove in Messineo with a run-scoring single of his own. Junior Shawn Teters (Springdale, Ark./Springdale) capped the scoring with a RBI double.
Braun extended the Hawks lead to 7-0 with a solo home run to left centerfield, in the top of the eighth inning, his fifth home run of the year.
The Hawks added two runs in the ninth when Meyers connected for a run-scoring double off the right field wall and Collazo added an RBI single.
Brach (9-2), scattered seven hits on the afternoon, en route to his 21st career win, making him the all-time winningest pitcher in Monmouth history. The junior posted his sixth complete game, and his fourth shutout on the year, while striking out five, giving him 81 on the season, one off his own career record.
Higgins, Meyers, Collazo and Dennis each collected two hits, as the Hawks pounded out 12 base knocks on the game. Meyers and Dennis drove in two apiece in the Blue and White’s 34th victory on the season.