Baseball Takes Three of Four From Sacred Heart

The baseball team won three games out of four against Northeast Conference opponent the Sacred Heart Pioneers in West Long Branch this past weekend. The team collectively scored 37 runs off 50 hits in the series.

Southpaw junior Andrew McGee began the series with a 3-2 loss in a 12-inning game this past Friday. After a 10-inning effort, and two earned runs, McGee was replaced by the sophomore submarine righty, Jeff Paglione. The Pioneers scored the winning run off Paglione in the twelfth after a debatable stolen base call was made in Sacred Heart’s favor, placing a base runner in scoring position.

McGee’s talent was evenly matched by Sacred Heart’s starting pitcher, Troy Scribner. Prior to the ninth inning, there was a mere ten hits in the game. Both McGee and Scribner pitched ten frames and surrendered two runs.

As the contest was mainly dominated by the pitchers, the Hawks’ runs did not come easy. It was not until the ninth inning that MU scored their first run. Senior first baseman Chris Perret homered down the right field line for his fourth home run of the season and tied the game at 1-1.

Sacred Heart responded with a run of their own in the top of the tenth, giving them a 2-1 lead. MU quickly retaliated in the bottom of the tenth with the hero once again being Perret. With sophomore catcher Kyle Perry on third, Perret sent a ball between the gap at first and second to earn his second RBI of the game.

MU was back in their usual form for Saturday’s double header where they won both games, 6-3 and 18-4. Earning the start in game one was sophomore righty T.J. Hunt.

Hunt pitched five innings allowing two earned runs on four hits which was enough to earn the win. Both junior left-handed pitcher Stephen Frey and Paglione pitched an inning of work.

MU’s offense gave Hunt the insurance he needed early in the game as they scored five runs off seven hits all by the fourth inning.

The men would only add one more hit and one more run to the board when sophomore right fielder Craig Sweeney hit a round-tripper in the sixth.

Senior first baseman Owen Stewart went two-for-two at the plate providing the Hawks with two RBI and one run. Stewart currently leads the team with a .410 batting average.

“He’s a very smart player and I think it is starting to reap the benefits at the plate,” Head Coach Dean Ehehalt said about Stewart. “He’s a very competitive kid, a very seasoned player. He’s having a great year statistically and has been a big RBI guy for us. He’s being more aggressive.”

Perret and center fielder Steve Wilgus each had two hits in game one and scored two runs.

The blue and white won the second game, 18-4, with a fourth inning home run off Sweeney’s bat. The Hawks scored a run in every inning besides the second where they left two runners on the base paths, but they managed to have at least two hits in every frame.

Ehehalt changed the usual line-up by moving junior second baseman Jake Grosnky to leadoff. The swap proved effective as Gronsky hit a triple in the first inning and provided the Hawks with their first run. Gronsky finished the day with three hits and scored three runs. Batting second was Wilgus, who also went three-for-five and scored three runs along with three RBI.

On the mound for the Hawks in game two was freshman lefty, Frank Trimarco. Pitching a complete game, Trimarco earned his fifth win of the season and surrendered seven hits.

MU won the final contest of the series, 11-6 with Chris McKenna pitching seven-and-a-third, earning his second win of the season. The Hawks made sure to get on the board early once again as Gronsky crossed the plate in the first inning on a throwing error by the catcher.

The offense thrived in the third when they scored six runs off six hits and left a sole runner on the base path. Gronsky began the rally when he hit a single and eventually scored on a fielding error by Sacred Heart’s first baseman. The Hawks then scored a run in the fourth and three runs in the fifth to bring MU to 11 runs.

Gronsky and Sweeney led the Hawks with three hits a piece in four at bats while Perret lead the team in RBI with two.

The Hawks now lie second in the NEC with a record of 17-7, 27-18 overall. The Hawks will next travel to St. Peter’s today, May 1, with a start time of 3:30 pm.

When asked if the team prepares more for any team in particular, Coach Ehehalt said, “We don’t go into the weekend thinking one weekend is better than the other, our goal is to win the series.”

They will have a chance to win another four-game series this weekend as they play in Smithfield, RI to face the NEC’s first place team, Bryant University.

PHOTO COURTESY of MU Photography