Baseball Stands at 14-6, Second in NEC

MU Baseball split a four-game series this weekend as they were hosted by Northeast Conference rivals Farleigh Dickinson. MU compiled 26 runs off 35 hits in the series and currently post a 23-16 record (14-6 NEC).

The Hawks were able to take the first game of the series, which was played on Friday, 8-2. On the mound for MU was southpaw junior, Andrew McGee, who pitched his sixth complete game of the year and improved his record to 7-1. McGee struck out nine and allowed seven hits in his appearance.

In regards to his pitcher, Head Coach Dean Ehehalt said, “I think one of the attributes is that a guy like Andy McGee, a guy that wins conference recognition, has that ability to be special every weekend. Every weekend is a different challenge to him.”

The offense gave McGee support early on as they were able to score six of their eight runs in the first inning. Sophomore center fielder Steve Wilgus led off for the Hawks and with a 2-2 count, he hit a home run down the right field line. The men were also able to bat a round before junior second baseman Jake Gronsky grounded to shortstop, ending the scoring streak. Wilgus also led the team in hits with three and RBI with four in the game.

On Saturday, the Hawks played the Knights for a double header with both games lasting seven frames.

Sophomore right hander TJ Hunt began the Saturday stretch and picked up his second loss of the season as MU fell to the Knights, 7-5. Hunt ended his day one out shy of throwing two complete innings.

Before leaving the mound, Hunt surrendered all of FDU’s runs as the Knights scored three in the first inning and four in the second inning.

Replacing Hunt was fellow sophomore right handed pitcher, Chris McKenna. In four and a third innings, McKenna gave up a mere three hits and struck out three batters. Wilgus and Gronsky knocked in two runs each while senior first baseman Chris Perret had one RBI.

This loss was not unexpected by Ehehalt since FDU had a winning record at home last season. “We’re playing there and they [FDU] are good at home. We knocked them out last year. They’re hungry to get back in the hunt.”

The second Saturday game ended in MU’s favor as the Hawks won, 8-3 with freshman lefty Frank Trimarco featured on the mound. Trimarco hurled six innings and pinned three earned runs to his name.

Relieving him in the seventh was sophomore righty Jeff Paglione who surrendered one hit in his one inning appearance.

The Hawks offensive catalyst was Jake Gronsky, who had five RBI and two hits in his four plate appearances. His fifth inning at-bat changed what was a 2-2 ball game.

With the bases loaded and a 2-0 count, Gronsky sent the ball over the left field wall for a grand slam and his first hit of the game. In the sixth inning, Gronsky hit a double to right, scoring freshman catcher Connor White from third. Other RBI came off the bats of Wilgus, Perret, and senior third baseman Owen Stewart.

The last game of the series went into extra innings as the Hawks and the Knights were tied at 5-5 after the ninth.

Senior southpaw Dan Smith started the game for MU and lasted four complete frames before being replaced. Smith finished his line with four earned runs off of five hits. When asked why Smith has been struggling this season, Ehehalt said, “We haven’t played great defense behind Dan. He hasn’t gotten the defensive support other guys have. At the same time, he is a proven winner in the past and we are hoping that he can get hot down the stretch and return to form.”

Junior lefty Stephen Frey took over for Smith and pitched three and a third until he, too, was relieved by Paglione.

Paglione suffered the loss when he gave up a one-out single in the tenth to end the game, 6-5 in the Knights favor. MU collectively had seven hits in the game, tying for their lowest of the series.

The Hawks will next play in a home stretch as they compete against Lafayette today at 3:30 pm and NEC’s Sacred Heart University for a four game series this weekend.

PHOTO COURTESY of MU Photography