Baseball 04.18.18

Baseball Walks off Against Sacred Heart in Extras

Baseball defeated Sacred Heart University with a walk off double by sophomore infielder Johnny Zega in the bottom of the tenth. The Hawks opened a six-game homestand last week, winning four of the first five games.

The four-win week was highlighted by a doubleheader sweep by the Hawks on Saturday afternoon. They picked up wins over Maine and Sacred Heart.

In game one, Maine opened a 3-0 lead over Monmouth by the third inning. In the Hawks’ half of the inning, they responded by tying the game in one swing. Junior outfielder Kyle Norman tripled to right-center field and drove in three runs.

The Black Bears were held without a run the rest of the way as the Hawks’ offense went to work. In the fourth inning, the blue and white capitalized on a sacrifice fly to take their first lead of the afternoon at 4-3.

In the sixth, Norman reached on an error committed by the third baseman as another run crossed the plate which extended the lead to two runs. Junior catcher J.D. Andreessen put a bow on the game, hitting a two-run homer to left field in the eighth which made the score 7-3. The blue and white would seal the game in the ninth to win by the same 7-3 score.

The Hawks’ offense was given every opportunity to erase the early three-run deficit thanks to senior right-hander Ricky Dennis. Dennis picked up his third win of the season as he worked through seven innings, fanning eight batters in the process.

Game two of the doubleheader was nothing short of perhaps Monmouth’s most dramatic victory of the season as they went the distance against Sacred Heart.

The game featured a pitcher’s duel throughout as freshman right-hander Dan Klepchick became the first Hawks starting pitcher to work through eight innings this season. In those eight innings, he fanned nine batters while only allowing a single run.

With the game knotted at two runs a piece in the bottom of the tenth, Norman led off with a base hit to set the table for sophomore infielder Johnny Zega. Down in the count 1-2, Zega laced a double into the left-center field gap. Norman came into score and the Hawks came away from the game victorious in walk-off fashion by a final of 3-2. Senior right-handed pitcher Austin Counsellor picked up the save as he pitched scoreless innings in the ninth and tenth.

“Ricky was awesome in game one, he really handled the bottom half of the Maine lineup which allowed him to go deep in the game,” said Head Coach Dean Ehehalt.

“Pitching was excellent all day, especially after Ricky came out and set the tone.” Monmouth’s pitching staff struck out 11 batters in both games, tying a season-high.

Earlier in the week, the blue and white picked up wins on Tuesday and Wednesday over Penn and Columbia respectively.

Against Penn, the Hawks loaded the bases in the second, but could not score. The Quakers responded with a run in the third to take the early 1-0 lead. Monmouth tied the game at one in the fifth and in the following inning, sophomore infielder Danny Long hit a two-run single to give the Hawks the lead for good at 3-1. Freshman left-handed pticher Ryan Steckline picked up his first career victory in the effort.

Against Columbia, the Hawks’ offense poured on the runs in the first five innings, scoring nine unanswered after falling behind 2-0 in the first. The pitching staff allowed only one more run the of the way, as the blue and white were victorious yet again by a 9-3 final. Sophomore outfielder J.P. Walsh led the Hawks with three RBIs (runs-batted in) on the day while junior pitcher James Kelly picked up his first career win in the start.

Monmouth’s lone loss of the week came at the hands of Maine by a score of 15-10 on Friday. The Hawks’ offensive attack was well-spread throughout the lineup, but Norman and senior infielder Shaine Hughes led the way with three RBIs a piece.

Baseball will be playing four in a row on the road. They will visit Seton Hall on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. and then on Saturday they will begin a three-game series in New York against Niagara, with the first game starting at 12:00 p.m. 

PHOTO TAKEN by Karlee Sellafter