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Monmouth Baseball Drops Rubber Match Against Delaware

Monmouth Baseball dropped to an 8-10 overall record after a weekend series against the University of Delaware Blue Hens. The Hawks traveled to Newark, Delaware for a three game series against the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) opponent and came up short going 1 for 3 against the Blue Hens.

In Friday’s matchup the Hawks offense and defense proved to be too much for the Blue Hens. The defensive effort by pitchers Trey Dombroski, Stephen Aldrich and Dixon Black kept Delaware scoreless over eight innings. Aldrich earned his first win of the season with four two-hit shutout innings out of the bullpen.

Monmouth jumped ahead 2-0 in the top of the first when James Harmstead’s first double of the day scored Dixon Black and set up Joey Ventresca’s RBI single into center. Delaware answered back in the bottom of the first with four runs.

The score remained 4-2 until Monmouth’s offense took control in the top of the sixth. The Hawk’s took advantage of two Blue Hens errors and scored three runs in the sixth. A double from Harmstead and singles by Jake Catalano and Brady Mutz gave the Hawks a 5-4 lead.
Monmouth added five more in the top of the seventh giving the Hawks all they needed and finished the game with a 10-4 win.

Coach Dean Ehehalt said, “Steve Aldrich was solid out of the pen and provided us a much needed spark. Our lineup showed a lot of grit when we needed. Harmstead and Catalano had big days with the bats. It was nice to see our guys respond in a tough fashion early in the game.” Harmstead went 4-4 for the second time this season with three doubles and a single. Catalano went three for five with three RBI’s.

The Blue Hens took Game 2 8-7 despite an eighth inning rally by the Hawks. Delaware took an early lead scoring 1 on three hits in the bottom of the first and adding a second in the next inning. Monmouth was able to get one back when Jake Catalano homered over the left field fence in the fourth. That was Catalano’s first homer of the season and second in his Monmouth career.

Delaware answered with a homerun of their own in the bottom of the fourth. In the top of the fifth Monmouth’s Alex Barker hit his first of two over the fence bringing the Hawk’s within one. Delaware was able to tack on another run in the fifth. Starting pitcher Dan Klepchick went five innings striking out two, with ten hits and 3 earned runs against him.

The Blue Hens grew the lead to 7-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning with 3 hits and 3 runs against reliever Alex Barker. The Monmouth bats came alive in the top of the eighth to rally back and tie the game 7-7.

A combination of singles from Jay Bant and Harry Padden and walks by Casey Caufield and Dixon Black set the stage for Barker. Barker slammed on over the fence for his second career grand slam and second homerun for the day. Barker’s five RBI’s are the most in a game this year.

Delaware once again answered back with a run in the bottom of the eighth taking an 8-7 lead. Monmouth finished the game with 7 runs off of 9 hits. The Hawk’s left 10 on base and had 2 errors in the 8-7 loss to Delaware. Coach Ehehalt said, “We battled back in the late innings. Offensively we had some good moments, pitched out of a few jams and never quit. Defensively we needed to be better today, can’t give teams 4 or 5 outs in an inning.”

The series rubber match on Sunday didn’t go Monmouth’s way. Despite an outstanding effort on the mound by Rob Hensey the Hawk’s couldn’t surpass the offensive effort of the Blue Hens. Hensey went five innings striking out eight, with nine hits and four earned runs against him.

Monmouth was out hit 14-4 in the series finale. Phil Stahl was the lone Hawk to cross the plate in the top of the seventh. Monmouth’s Jake Catalano got his 13th RBI for the season with an infield ground ball that scored Stahl. Infielder Andrew Schmid collected his first career hit and Frankie Hernandez made his first career appearance in the 10-1 series finale loss. The team hopes for a win very soon.

Looking ahead, MU heads to Fordham University to take on the Rams for a weekend series starting at 3 p.m. on Friday.