WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. - The Monmouth University baseball team scored seven runs over the first three innings and held on to win 7-3 to complete a Northeast Conference series sweep of Quinnipiac, Saturday afternoon at MU Baseball Field. Hawks' starter Dan Smith (Marlton, N.J./Cherokee) picked up his fourth win of the year, while Owen Stewart (Howell, N.J./St. Rose) and Jon Guida (Martinsville, N.J./Bridgewater Raritan) chipped in two RBIs each for the Blue and White, which improved to 18-12 (9-3 NEC) with its fifth victory of the week.
Monmouth's first four batters all registered hits off Quinnipiac's starter Kevin O'Connell. Ed Martin (Hazlet, N.J./Raritan [Brookdale CC]) took a 1-0 offering to right field for a stand-up double to start the inning and senior classmate Jamie Rosenkranz (Oakhurst, N.J./Ocean Township) moved him to third on a single. Jake Gronsky (Danville, Pa./Danville Area) brought Martin home on a base hit up the middle and Danny Avella (Matawan, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) followed with a base knock of his own to load the bases. Chris Perret (Morris Plains, N.J./Morris Catholic) worked a walk to score Rosenkranz, Stewart grounded out, plating Gronsky, and Guida's sacrifice fly to center that allowed Avella to cross home gave the Hawks an early 4-0 lead.
The Hawks added to their advantage in the third inning as Gronsky singled and advanced to third on Avella's double to right field. After a QU pitching change, Stewart grounded out, which allowed Gronsky to touch home, and Guida followed with an RBI single to left, scoring Avella. Josh Boyd (Port Murray, N.J./West Morris Central) reached on an error by the right fielder, chasing in Guida all the way from first, to allow the Hawks to go ahead 7-0.
Quinnipiac cut into MU's lead in the seventh, plating three runs on three hits while benefiting from a Hawks' error, but could not come any closer than 7-3.
Martin, Gronsky, and Avella each registered two hits for the Blue and White, which scattered 11 base knocks on the afternoon.
Smith scattered six hits, yielding one earned run, while fanning five Bobcats to even his record at 4-4. Joe Loiodice (Forest Hill, Md./John Carroll) worked a perfect inning with a punch-out while rookie Charlie Battis (Hamilton, N.J./Notre Dame) threw a one-hit ninth.
O'Connell could not work his way out of the third, allowing six runs on six hits in 2.0 innings on the hill. Mathew Siciliano struck out two over six innings, yielding an unearned run on five hits out of QU's bullpen.
Monmouth will entertain Temple on Tuesday, April 10th, at 3 p.m. before hitting the road for five-straight.