- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 23 March 2016
- Written by JOHN SORCE | STAFF WRITER
Coming off the program’s first ever victory against a top-10 program against the University of Virginia on Mar. 6, the MU baseball team went 4-4 over spring break.
The Hawks took one out of three against George Washington, defeated James Madison and VCU and won one game against an East Carolina team that is ranked 17th in the country.
Junior RHP Ricky Dennis took a no-hitter into the eighth for Monmouth against ECU on Mar. 20, which was broken up by a single. But the next batter lined into a 3-3-6 triple play to end the inning and the day for the 6’8” right hander. He threw eight innings, allowed the one hit, walked and hit a batter while striking out six.
“Ricky Dennis was the story of the day,” said head coach Dean Ehehalt. “He got into a great rhythm early and took it from there.”
The Hawks scored a run in four straight innings starting in the first when junior right fielder Chris Gaetano drove in junior third baseman Grant Lamberton, who led off the game with a walk. Back to back doubles by sophomore first baseman Sophomore second baseman Justin Trochiano’s first home run of the season in the fourth made it 3-0 and redshirt freshman outfielder Ryan Byrd pinch ran in the eighth and scored on junior catcher Ryan Bailey’s RBI single.
Dennis was perfect through 6 1/3 until a hit batsman broke that up, but a groundout and a fly out kept the no-hitter in tact through seven.
“Today was a great team win and the epitome of playing together,” Ehehalt said. “Bouncing back like we did today shows a lot of toughness. We got on the board early which always helps. I can’t be more proud of our team development up to this point.”
MU topped JMU by a score of 11-10 on Mar. 15 behind an offensive outburst led by Hughes, Papcun and Gaetano who all recorded two hits. The offense broke out for 13 hits as a unit.
“We swung the bats pretty good today and did what we needed to do to get the win,” Ehehalt said. “It seemed as though we pitched out of trouble after pitching into it.”
Sophomore southpaw Mike Brambilla made his second career start and lasted four innings against JMU, allowing four runs on six hits and three strikeouts. Redshirt sophomore Justin Andrews gave up five runs over the last three innings, but it was enough to record his second save of the season.
MU was back on the field the next day against VCU and once again, the offense carried the team in a 12-4 victory. The top three in the order combined to go 6-15 and drove in 11 runs which was highlighted by senior center fielder Dan Shea’s three-extra base hits, including a three-run home run in the eighth inning.
Freshman right hander Joe Molettiere got the start and hurled 4.2 innings, allowing one unearned run on three hits while striking out six to pick up his first colligate victory. Fellow freshman RHP Jordan McCrum came in and threw 3.1 innings out of the bullpen, scattering five hits and allowed only one run.
“Joe Molettiere was tremendous and Jordan McCrum was very effective as well,” Ehehalt said. “The two of them showed a lot of poise and competed extremely well.”
The game remained scoreless until the fourth, when MU broke out with six runs. They also added four runs in the eighth, highlighted by Shea’s three-run homer, and two in the ninth.
“We capitalized with two big innings,” Ehehalt said. “Hughes and Shea once again came through in clutch fashion.”
After dropping the first game against GW on Mar. 11, the Hawks came back and downed the Colonials by a score of 4-1 behind senior left-hander Anthony Ciavarella’s six innings of one run ball.
The blue and white (7-11) return to the diamond for their home opener and first conference game against the Rider Broncs (2-14) on Friday, Mar. 25 with a double-header on Saturday to complete the three-game series.
PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth Athletics