Monmouth Splits Double-Header With Niagara

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Courtesy Monmouth University Photo

(ISN) – NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. – The Monmouth baseball team scored 14 runs on 21 hits and hit four home runs in winning the first game of a doubleheader at Niagara on Saturday, 14-13 in ten innings. Niagara took the second game 9-4, and now sit at 9-19-2, 6-5 in conference while Monmouth is 11-17, 5-6 in the league.

Every Hawk who started in the first game registered a hit, as Monmouth posted 14 runs on 21 hits in the ten innings. Shaine Hughes (Sewell, N.J./Washington Township) led the way with his first two career home runs, including the game-winner in extras, driving in five runs in a four-for-seven afternoon. Grant Lamberton (Newark, Del./Salesianum) went three-for-five with three runs driven in, while Ryan Bailey (Mount Kisco, N.Y./Fox Lane) added his first career home run and Dan Shea (Wilmington, Del./Salesianum) hit a two-run home run as well. Thomas Rodrigues went three-for-six with four RBI’s, and Anthony Firenzi, Joel Brophy and Michael Fuhrman all homered for the Purple Eagles.

On the mound in the opener, Chris McKenna (Pine Beach, N.J./Toms River South) threw 5.1 innings, allowing five runs and fanning three. Zachary Kolodziejski allowed nine runs, six earned, on 11 hits through three after starting for Niagara. Ultimately, Justin Andrews (Langhorne, Pa./Neshaminy) got the win with two scoreless innings out of the bullpen for MU, and Tyler Saundry suffered the loss for the Purple Eagles after allowing Hughes’ home run in the tenth.

In the second game, T.J. Hunt (Wyckoff, N.J./Ramapo took the loss for Monmouth, allowing five runs on seven hits through four. Ben Zaccagnino allowed three runs in four innings for the Purple Eagles and eventually ended up with a no-decision as Mac Curran threw a scoreless fifth to get the win. Offensively, Kyle Perry (Toms River, N.J./Toms River South) had two hits and an RBI for Monmouth, while Rodrigues led the way with another four RBI’s for Niagara.

Game One started with Monmouth getting a run on Hughes’ RBI single. The Hawks then posted a five spot in the second, with Dave Moreno (Voorhees, N.J./Eastern Regional) driving in a run with a base hit and Lamberton collecting a sacrifice fly ahead of Hughes blasting his first career home run, a three-run shot to right. Niagara got three of those runs back in the bottom of the frame, with Firenzi leading off with a homer to left and Geoff Seto driving in two more with a single to center.

With the score 6-3, Bailey knocked his first collegiate home run to right center and after Moreno doubled, Lamberton also homered to right, his first of the season. Fuhrman got a run back for Niagara in the bottom of the frame, and the score stood at 9-4 after three.

Brophy’s homer with one out in the fourth marked the third consecutive inning that Niagara hit one out, and cut the Monmouth lead to 9-5. The Hawks tacked on a run in the sixth on a Robbie Alessandrine (Sewell, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) RBI single, and Monmouth took a 10-5 lead before Niagara posted a big seventh inning to take the lead. Brophy tagged a sac fly after consecutive hits, and Daniel Procopio singled through the right side as a pinch hitter to bring in the second run. A Tanner Kirwer sac fly gave the home team its third run of the inning before the big blow, a three-run home run from Rodrigues to put Niagara in front, 11-10.

The Blue and White had an immediate answer, when Perry walked and Shea drove his first home run of the year to right to put Monmouth back up, 12-11. MU would add another run in the inning on a Steve Wilgus (Woolwich, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) bases-loaded walk and take a 13-11 edge to the ninth.

The Purple Eagles were not done, as Rodriguez drove in a run with a base hit to make it 13-1 in the ninth. Fuhrman hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to tie the game, and with a chance to win it, Firenzi hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning and send the game to extras.

In the tenth, Hughes sent his second homer of the game over the center field wall and Andrews allowed just a walk in the bottom of the inning to give Monmouth the game one victory, 14-13.

In game two, both teams were kept off the board until the fourth, when Perry singled through the left side and Christian Holland (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin) drove in a run and allowed another one to score after getting hung up between first and second. In the fifth, after Kirwer singled home a run, Rodriguez knocked a grand slam to instantly give Niagara the lead, 5-3. Bailey got a run back to make it 5-4 with a double in the sixth before the Purple Eagles added four in the bottom of the inning. Taylor Hackett added a two-run single and Fuhrman scored two more to give Niagara a 9-4 lead, which would be the final.

The two teams wrap up the three-game series tomorrow at noon.

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