- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 30 March 2016
- Written by JOHN SORCE | STAFF WRITER
In their opening series against a MAAC opponent and the first home series of the season, the Hawks baseball team swept the Rider Broncs (3-17, 0-3) in a three game series at MU Baseball Field.
MU trailed Rider 4-3 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning in the home opener on Friday, Mar. 25. Junior right fielder Chris Gaetano led off with a walk and stole second. He came around to score on an RBI single by junior catcher Ryan Bailey, who advanced to second on an error by the Rider right fielder. With the game tied at four, sophomore second baseman Justin Trochiano laid down a sacrifice bunt advancing Bailey to third with one out.
After senior shortstop Robbie Alessandrine struck out swinging for the second out of the inning, leadoff man and junior third baseman Grant Lamberton picked up his fourth hit of the day, an infield single in between home and third base, giving the Hawks runners on the corners with two out. After Lamberton advanced to second on a wild pitch, Rider decided to walk sophomore first baseman and reigning MAAC Player of the week Shaine Hughes to load the bases and set up a force at any base.
Senior left fielder Dan Shea came to the plate and worked the count full before sending the 3-2 offering over the right-center field wall for a grand slam. Shea’s third homer of the season gave MU an 8-4 lead that they held onto after sophomore left hander Justin Andrews worked around a leadoff single and ended the game with only four pitches by inducing a 4-6-3 double play, giving the Hawks a victory in their first home and conference game of the season.
“That’s the way we’ve played all year,” Monmouth head coach Dean Ehehalt said. “We’ve been real opportunistic late in the game and our guys are not afraid to be down late. It’s not a good thing to be down because you don’t have a lead, but it’s a good thing to be able to play down because you don’t get dejected. We’ve had the ability to come from behind on multiple occasions so far this season and I think our guys are comfortable doing so.”
Senior southpaw Frank Trimarco got into some trouble in the third inning, where he gave up four runs on five hits. But he settled down and allowed only one hit the rest of the way as he went eight innings allowing four runs on six hits, walking one and striking out seven in 105 pitches.
“He [Trimarco] really pitched a wonderful game,” Ehehalt said. “The inning they got four [runs] off him, he left a couple of balls out over the plate. They had a ball go up the middle and then a ball off the end of the bat that got through the hole on the right side. It was just one of those innings where they had a couple of seeing eye hits but they also barreled a couple of balls up. It’s frustrating as a pitcher and as a team, but it was only the third inning and we had a lot of time to come back. Rider made a good adjustment early in the game, but then we came back after that inning and began to pitch them inside more, which put Frank in a better groove.”
“We got a win against a quality team in grand fashion and I’m happy for our guys. We’ve spent a lot of time to get to this point and playing home is certainly something that we look forward to with our fan base. But I think our first five weeks being on the road really helped us develop as a team.”
MU took both ends of a doubleheader on Saturday, Mar. 26 by scores of 6-0 and 5-3. Junior right hander and reigning MAAC Pitcher of the Week Ricky Dennis got the ball for the Hawks in game one fresh off seven no-hit innings against No. 17 ECU and picked up where he left off. Dennis needed just 92 pitches and threw a complete game, four hit shutout while striking out five and walking only one. Hughes anchored the offense as he went 3-4 with 3 RBI, including a two run single in a three run fourth inning for the Hawks.
Senior southpaw Anthony Ciavarella took the ball in game two and gave Ehehalt seven quality innings, allowing three runs on seven hits while striking out seven. Freshman right hander Joe Molettiere recorded the final six outs for his third colligate save. Sophomore designated hitter Pete Papcun led off the fifth with his second home run of the season as he took a 2-1 offering out to left after MU scored four runs on five hits in the third.
The blue and white also downed Hofstra on the road 5-4 on Hughes’ RBI single in the top of the ninth with the game tied at four, driving in Alessandrine – the winning run – from second.
The Hawks improved to 11-11 on the season and are 3-0 in MAAC conference play. They return to the diamond with a home game against Rutgers on Wednesday, Mar. 30, followed by a three-game weekend road series at Manhattan.
PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth Athletics