WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – T.J. Hunt (Wyckoff, N.J.) tossed his third complete game of the year and Monmouth scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth to take the second game of a doubleheader from Canisius at home on Saturday afternoon, 3-1. The Golden Griffins took the opener, 6-0 to finish the day 20-23, 9-5 in conference while MU is 13-19, 7-7 in league.
“T.J. Hunt was real good, we had one big at bat in the middle of the game in a bases loaded situation with one of their better guys up and T.J. handled it really well,” said Head Coach Dean Ehehalt. “We did some good things late and Chris Gaetano came through with a big hit, Dan Shea padded it and we got a really good team win.”
Shaine Hughes (Sewell, N.J./Washington Township) legged out a double to lead off the sixth, and after Kyle Perry (Toms River, N.J./Toms River South) bunted him to third, Chris Gaetano (Madison Township, Pa./Scranton Preparatory) laced a double to left center to give Monmouth the 2-1 lead. After Gaetano went to third on a ground ball, Dan Shea (Wilmington, Del./Salesianum) singled on a ball destined for right field that was kept on the infield but enabled Gaetano to score anyway to put the Hawks up 3-1.
Connor Panas originally got Canisius on the board with a bases loaded ground out in the fourth. Monmouth immediately answered to tie the game in the bottom of the inning, after Perry and Gaetano hit back-to-back one out singles and Steve Wilgus (Woolwich, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) ripped a ball towards first that Panas made a nice pickup on, getting the out at second but allowing the run to come in.
Hunt threw all seven in the opener, allowing a run on three hits with six strikeouts. Devon Stewart fanned nine, allowing three runs for Canisius in throwing all six innings in taking the loss. Gaetano was 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run, and Shea had two hits and an RBI as well. No Canisius player had more than one hit as Hunt fired off three of seven 1-2-3 innings, and never allowed more than one Golden Griffins hit in an inning.
Canisius took the opener 6-0 behind strong pitching from Alex Godzak and Zachary Sloan, scoring in three separate innings to take the opener. After a pitchers duel through four between Godzak and Chris McKenna (Pine Beach, N.J./Toms River South), Canisius scored in the fifth on a pair of MU errors on one play. With two out and runners at second and third, Jake Lumley hit a ball to short that was mishandled by Robbie Alessandrine (Sewell, N.J./Gloucester Catholic). After Wilgus threw a strike to Hughes at third from center, the ball was knocked free of his glove enabling both runs to score and give the visitors a 2-0 lead.
Jack Massa drove in a run with a single in the sixth to extend the lead to 3-0, and the Golden Griffins broke it open in the seventh. Jesse Puscheck brought home a run with an RBI single to left, and Brett Siddall drove a long two-run double to straightaway center to put the score at 6-0, which would be the final.
McKenna took the loss, firing 6.1 innings and allowing six runs, four earned on seven hits with four strikeouts. Jeff Paglione (Mantua, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) added 1.2 scoreless, and Charlie Battis (Hamilton, N.J./Notre Dame) worked a scoreless ninth for Monmouth. Godzak was the winner for Canisius, allowing no runs on two hits through six. Sloan allowed just one hit in his three relief innings. Siddall was 3-for-3 with two RBI’s for Canisius.
The series wraps up tomorrow at noon with a single nine-inning game scheduled for the MU Baseball Field.