M Baseball 04.04.18

Baseball Comes Back to Win Series Against Canisius

Following a series loss at the hands of Marist, the Monmouth University baseball team looked to rebound in their first four home games of the season.

Last week, the Hawks split decisions in four home games which included a matchup with Hofstra and a three-game set with Canisius.

The Hawks’ first home win of the season came in a 4-2 victory in the opening game of the series against Canisius. The Golden Griffins jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after a run batted in (RBI) double in the third inning. The blue and white wasted no time in responding in their half of the third.

The inning started with a leadoff double courtesy of senior infielder Justin Trochiano. Junior outfielder Kyle Norman capitalized on a successful sacrifice and laced an RBI single up the middle to tie the game at one. Senior infielder Shaine Hughes capped the inning off by driving in a run on a groundout, giving the Hawks the lead at 2-1.

Senior right-hander Ricky Dennis threw six strong innings, allowing his offense to go to work later in the game. Dennis struck out four and allowed only two earned runs in what turned out to be his second win of the season. “We’ve been working on having a presence and Ricky came through big,” said Head Coach Dean Ehehalt.

The Hawks’ offense went to work again in the fifth. Sophomore outfielder John LaRocca bunted for a base hit and the late throw to first was off-target. It allowed Norman to come home and score all the way from first base. Senior infielder/outfielder Pete Papcun provided the insurance in the next inning, launching his fifth homerun of the season to give the blue and white a 4-2 lead for good.

On Saturday, Canisius and Monmouth wrapped up their series with a doubleheader. In the opener, the Golden Griffins scored five runs over the first three innings to open an early 5-0 lead over the Hawks. The blue and white responded in their half of the third when junior catcher J.D. Andreessen hit an infield single to second base, which allowed a run to score on a fielding error. Papcun followed with a base hit to right-center field, plating two runs and making the score 5-3.

The Griffs added two more runs in the fourth and the Hawks responded immediately thanks to a Norman RBI double which made the score 7-5. The Hawks’ offense could not follow it up as they did not have a base runner on board for the rest of the game and eventually lost by the same 7-5 score.

The second game of the double header provided a different story. The Hawks jumped out to the early lead in this one after LaRocca and junior catcher Clay Koniencki each had RBI singles in the second inning, making it 2-0 in favor of the blue and white. The Griffs answered right away, tying the game with one swing on a homerun in the sixth and then adding another run on a double to make it 3-2.

The Hawks came to the dish on fire in the seventh. Their offense got going when back-to-back walks with the bases loaded allowed them to regain the lead at 4-3. Then, Papcun and Hughes scored on a fielding error to make it 6-3. The inning was capped off when LaRocca doubled down the right field line, plating the blue and white’s fifth run of the inning and making the score 7-3. Senior right hander Austin Counsellor fired three flawless innings to allow the Hawks offense to win him the game by a final score of 9-3.

“Plate discipline was huge. We scored two big runs [in the seventh] by walking against a real good pitcher with two guys that had previously been chasing pitches,” Ehehalt said. “We strung together seven good at-bats in a row and had that never-say-die attitude.”

While the Hawks picked up the series win over their conference rival Canisius, they dropped their home opener last Tuesday to Hofstra by a score of 14-6. In the defeat, Papcun had two home runs as well as a triple. The Christian Brothers Academy graduate had five RBIs on the day, his most in a game since last April 1, when he knocked in six.

After the four-game week, the Hawks’ record stands at 7-15. They will take the field again this Wednesday in Princeton to face the Tigers. They will then travel to Connecticut to face Quinnipiac for a three-game series which will include a doubleheader on Saturday with the rubber match coming on Sunday.

PHOTO TAKEN by Karlee Sell