The Monmouth University baseball team (16-14, 6-0 MAAC) defeated Niagara University (2-24, 0-6 MAAC) 5-1 in the series finale on Sunday for their second series sweep in conference play.
The Hawk’s overpowered Niagara 8-0 on Fri. behind dominant pitching and powerful offensive and defensive efforts. Head Coach Dean Ehehalt said, “Solid team win today. We received excellent pitching, made some nice plays on defense and were aggressive on the bases.”
Trey Dombroski earned his fourth win of the season Fri. throwing seven innings striking out seven and kept the Purple Eagles to only five hits with no earned runs. Stephen Aldrich took the mound in the eighth inning adding two more K’s, 0 hits and 0 earned runs.
Monmouth took the lead in the bottom of the third inning when Colin McCreary scored on a fielder’s choice. The offense exploded in the fifth adding five more.
Hits from McCreary, Casey Caufield, Dixon Black and Alex Barker in the bottom of the fifth put the Hawk’s ahead 3-0. James Harmstead slammed a three-run home to left field making it 6-0.
Harmstead leads the MAAC conference with nine homers this season.
MU added two more runs in the eighth on a two-run double by Black. The Hawk’s out hit Niagara 10/5 with four Monmouth players with multiple hits. Caufield extended his hitting streak to 23 games. Monmouth added two more runs in the eighth on Dixon Black’s two run double to win it 8-0.
A commanding performance by starting pitcher Dan Klepchick and homeruns from Alex Barker and Jay Bant gave Monmouth another win over Niagara on Saturday outscoring the Purple Eagles 4-3.
Dan Klepchick took the mound for Game 2 throwing 5.2 innings with eight strikeouts, allowing three hits. Klepchick moved into third all-time in school history in strikeouts with 222, passing Mike Liloia.
Monmouth got the lead in the bottom of the fourth when Barker blasted the ball over the right field fence. Barker’s seventh home run of the season put Monmouth ahead 1-0. A two-run double by Niagara in the sixth inning gave them a 2-1 lead.
The Hawk’s responded in the seventh when freshman Jay Bant homered to right field, scoring Joey Ventresca. Bant’s two-run homer put MU back in the lead 3-2. A bases-loaded walk by Bant made it 4-2.
Relievers Alex Barker and Ryan Bearse closed out the game allowing three hits, one earned run and striking out one. Bearse earned his second save of the season.
Monmouth’s Rob Hensey threw seven strong innings on Sunday and continues to overpower his opponents. Hensey added eight strikeouts for a team high 69 for the season. Hensey allowed only four hits, walked none and had no earned runs against.
Niagara took advantage of a Monmouth fielding error to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the second. Monmouth answered in the fourth when Dixon Black singled up the middle scoring Brady Mutz. The Hawk’s added two more in the bottom of the sixth. Dixon Black hit a double into left field scoring Brady Mutz and Jake Catalano giving Monmouth a 3-1 lead.
After Stephen Aldrich stranded the tying runs in the top of the eighth Alex Barker lined the ball to center field. Barker’s two-run single gave the Hawk’s a 5-1 lead going into the ninth.
Aldrich finished the game with a total of four strikeouts and three hits in two shutout innings earning his second save for the season. Coach Ehehalt said, “A nice way to finish the weekend. We battled all day, played good defense and a few balls found holes. Hensey gave us another good start and Aldrich was able to close it out. We had some good AB’s to create scoring opportunities; Dixon found a few holes and we cashed in on five two-out runs.”
The series sweep is Monmouth’s first ever 6-0 start in the MAAC and places them and puts them first in the MAAC standings.
Up next for Monmouth baseball is Seton Hall. The Hawks will host the Seton Hall Pirates Tuesday at 3p.m. The game will be on ESPN3.