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Sports

Baseball Gets Swept in Spider Invitational

Baseball 03.23.18After Wednesday’s day game at Villanova was cancelled due to inclement weather and field conditions, 4-8 baseball traveled to Richmond, Virginia where they were swept in the Spider Invitational.

The packed three game weekend began on Friday morning where the Hawks were handed an 11-4 loss at the hands of the 2-9 Yale Bulldogs in a battle of struggling ball clubs looking to get back on the right track.

Monmouth did however get on the board first thanks to senior right fielder Pete Papcun who drove in sophomore left fielder John LaRocca. LaRocca was one of the few bright spots for Monmouth in the ballgame as he went 1-for-4 with a run scored and a run batted in (RBI) that gave them the lead in the third. Another bright spot was senior right-handed pitcher Ricky Dennis who took the bump for the Hawks and struck out a career-best seven batters in the defeat.

The story of the game was defensive struggles for Monmouth as Dennis threw six innings while allowing six runs only two of which were earned.

“Today was definitely a tale of two games,” Head Coach Dean Ehehalt said. “We didn’t do a very good job of collecting outs in the middle of the game and it definitely hurt us.”

All four of Monmouth’s unearned runs came in Dennis’ sixth and final inning of work where two errors turned the Hawk’s lead into a four-run deficit.

Yale tacked on five more in the following innings to take an 11-2 lead before Monmouth attempted to get back in the game in the ninth. Freshman Colin McCreary pinch hit in the inning recording his first collegiate hit and scored a run in the process. However, it was all too late as two runs in the ninth simply tightened the final score to an 11-4 defeat despite MU only getting outhit 12-9 on the day.

“Credit goes to Yale; they are a really impressive defensive team and made all the plays.” Ehehalt said. “Ricky pitched well and certainly deserved better.”

It was a quick turnaround for Monmouth who were defeated by Lehigh 10-3 on Saturday afternoon in their second game of the Spider Invitational. Junior right-handed pitcher Joe Molettiere found the rubber in this one and had his least impressive outing of the season so far giving up six earned runs on six hits in five innings of work while suffering his first loss in a month.

Monmouth attempted to get back in the game in the fourth when junior center fielder Kyle Norman drove in two runs with a single that tightened the score to 3-2.

Lehigh bounced back with three of their own in the inning, before eventually putting the game away with a crushing three-run bomb in the seventh that extended their lead to 10-2.

Monmouth did end the game’s scoring in the seventh when junior catcher Clay Koniencki connected with an RBI double that scored LaRocca.

“We certainly didn’t fire our best shot today and we need to compete much better moving forward,” Ehehalt said.

MU closed out their weekend’s play by dropping a 7-6 nail-biter to the host of the tournament themselves, the Richmond Spiders. This proved to be a much closer affair than the first two games of the weekend as Monmouth took a lead all the way to the eighth inning of the ballgame. This lead was thanks to a five run fourth inning to make the score 5-2 which was caused by a Richmond error and wild pitch as well as Freshman Ryan Steckline’s run scored. Steckline went 2-for-4 on the day with a walk just a week after earning Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Rookie of the Week honors.

The Spiders were able to rally in the eighth inning with three runs of their own giving them the 7-6 lead which they were able to hang on to in the top of the ninth.

The win improved Richmond’s record to 11-8 while the winless weekend dropped Monmouth’s record to 4-11.

“MAAC play starts next weekend and everybody starts 0-0,” Ehehalt said. “We have been on the road five straight weekends and look forward to starting conference play.”

Monmouth will travel to Staten Island to face 10-8 Wagner on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m.

PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth Athletics

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