Baseball 02.19.20

Baseball Splits Weekend in NC

Baseball travelled to North Carolina to open up their season this weekend as the Hawks defeated New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) on Friday by a score of 4-3, split a double-header with Bucknell winning 3-1 and losing 5-4 and fell to Penn State by a score of 14-2 on Sunday.

In their game against NJIT, Dan Klepchick got the nod to open the season. This is his second consecutive season where he was the starter on opening day. Klepchick pitched 5.2 innings of two run ball while striking out four. Monmouth was able to hold the NJIT offense to only two runs throughout 12 innings of offense during this heated affair.

After giving up an RBI double in the top of the fourth, the Hawks quickly responded in the fifth as senior outfielder J.P. Walsh drove in Monmouth’s first run of the ball game. Junior outfielder Jake Catalano answered with a two RBI double which put the Hawks in front 3-1. NJIT was able to tie the game up with an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth to send the game to extras. The Hawks would then go on to win in the 12th via a Highlanders throwing error. This was the first time Monmouth won their opener since 2016.

In their first game against Bucknell, the Hawks wasted no time getting on the board as junior outfielder Jalen Jenkins got on base via a double and later scored. Jenkins also drove in his first run of his collegiate career in the bottom of the fifth to give the blue and white a 2-0 lead. The Hawks would hold on to the lead and win their second consecutive game.

Sophomore left-handed pitcher Rob Hensey pitched a fantastic game as he threw seven shutout innings while only allowing two hits. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Nick Houghton was credited with the save, the third of his career.

In the second game of the double header, Bucknell got off to a quick 3-0 lead on six hits. The Hawks answered in the top of the second to cut the deficit to only one due to a bases loaded walk and an infield single off the bat of senior infielder Johnny Zega.

By the ninth inning, the Hawks were down 5-2 and were starting a rally. They loaded the bases due to two consecutive singles and a walk. The Hawks cut the lead down to one due to a sacrifice fly and a bunt single off the bat of Walsh. Monmouth was unable to score the equalizer, losing their first game of the campaign.

In their final game of the weekend, the blue and white hosted Penn State representing the Big Ten. The Hawks fell behind early as they were down 5-0 by the end of the second. The Hawks got a run back in the third. However, a five-run sixth inning for the Nittany Lions put Sunday’s contest out of reach.

Monmouth recorded a total of seven hits which came off the bats of seven different players. Freshman right-handed pitcher Ryan Bearse made his collegiate debut and threw 1.1 shutout innings.

“Tough one today,” said head coach Dean Ehehalt, “We fell behind early and couldn’t keep them off the board. Over the course of the four games, definitely a lot of positives to come out the weekend. We played some excellent defense, pitched well and showed some toughness during our first three games.”

The Hawks will play three games next weekend as they host the University of South Carolina (USC) Upstate on Friday at 4:00 p.m., Presbyterian on Saturday at noon and face off against Wofford on Sunday for their first road game of the season.

PHOTO TAKEN by Karlee Sell