Sports

Baseball Improves to 12-4, Second in NEC

The baseball team hosted this weekend’s series against Northeast Conference Rival, the Wagner Seahawks, as they won three of four games. The Hawks faced the Seahawks in two double headers, with Saturday’s first game being nine innings and the second being seven innings. On Sunday, the first game was seven innings long while the second game went nine frames.

Opening the series for the Hawks was junior southpaw Andrew McGee. McGee pitched all nine innings earning his fifth complete game, thus tying his five complete game record from last season. With the win over Wagner, McGee boosted his record to 6-1 and yet, McGee felt beating Wagner as a team was more important than any personal record.

“Wagner is our biggest rival. I don’t really know why but for some reason, whenever we play them, we just always get amped up to play,” McGee said. “When I came in as a freshman, everyone wanted to beat Wagner. It’s not personal, we just get amped to play them.”

McGee surrendered two runs, one of which was earned, in the contest and struck out five batters.

MU’s offense had a tough battle against Wagner ace Ryan Casey. Collectively, the team connected for six hits, two of which came off senior third baseman Owen Stewart’s bat.

The blue and white had a game changing sixth inning when they scored three runs off three hits. Leading the rally was freshman designated hitter Danny Shea as he hit his first collegiate home run over the left field wall giving MU a 1-0 lead. Sophomore catcher Kyle Perry followed with a double to give the Hawks their second runner in scoring position of the game. Sophomore center fielder Steve Wilgus and senior first baseman Chris Perret both failed to get to first, bringing junior second baseman Jake Gronsky to the plate. Gronsky reached first after being hit in the head with a pitch.

With two on, Stewart singled down the left field line plating both Perry and Gronsky. Prior to the game, the Hawks held a 14-0 record when leading in the sixth and 0-11 when trailing in the sixth. MU once again prevailed with the win, the final score showed 3-2.

After a quick 30 minute break, the two teams took the field for game two of the doubleheader. On the mound for MU and picking up his third win was sophomore right-handed pitcher, TJ Hunt. Lasting a full six innings, Hunt finished with six hits, two strikeouts and one earned run. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Jeff Paglione closed the game and earned his first save of the season.

The Hawks were able to give Hunt an early advantage in the game. By the end of the first inning, MU was leading 1-0 thanks to junior shortstop Jon Guida’s single to score Perret from third. Guida helped Hunt once again in the third when he doubled to center scoring senior right fielder Joe Bamford. The men gained their final run in the fifth when Perret scored on a throwing error by Seahawks’ short stop Shaun Flynn.

Even though the Hawks’ offense was stellar on the day, they left at least one runner on base in every inning except for the sixth in the second game on Saturday.

After being well rested, the two teams met for game three of the series on Sunday at noon. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Adam Yunginger was originally awarded the start in game one, but left the game before recording a single out. While Yunginger was seen on the mound, the Seahawks scored all three runs, two of which were earned. Replacing Yungigner in the first was freshman southpaw Frank Trimarco. Trimarco lead the Hawks to a 7-3 victory as he notched his third win of the season and second of the week. He also had seven scoreless frames, one walk and six strikeouts in his seventh appearance for the blue and white.

The Hawks retailiated in the bottom of the first when Bamford reached base safely on a fielder’s choice scoring Gronsky from third. Guida next stepped into the batter’s box and knocked a single down the left side of the diamond to bring home Stewart from second base. Freshman right fielder Casey Saverio struck out looking on a full count to end the inning.

MU gained the lead in the fifth as the team scored three runs off one hit. Both Gronsky and Perret walked giving two men on the base path for Stewart. Leading the Hawks with a .425 batting average, Stewart hit a single to score Gronsky and advance Perret to second. Next to the plate was Bamford, who was also issued a walk.

With the bases loaded, Guida approached the batter’s box. Guida, who had two RBI in Saturday’s second game, was awarded another as he was hit by a pitch plating Perret from third.

As Shea was up to bat next, the Wagner Seahawks pitcher threw a wild ball, which Stewart ran home, bringing the scoreboard to 5-3 in MU’s favor. Shea then ended the inning as he struck out looking.

The Hawks scored their final two runs in the seventh when Stewart hit another single, scoring both Gronsky and Wilgus who were on base. Gronsky scored three of the Hawks’ seven runs while Stewart knocked in three of the Hawks’ seven runs.

At 3:00 pm, MU took on Wagner for the final game of the series. Senior southpaw Dan Smith got the nod from Head Coach Dean Ehehalt but couldn’t get the win as the Hawks fell 6-3 to Wagner. With the loss, Smith’s record dropped to 1-6 for the season, a far cry from his 6-6 record last season. Although Smith was given the loss, he held the Seahawks to four runs, all earned, off ten hits while striking out five in the game.

Coming into the game during the eighth was reliever junior lefty Stephen Frey. Frey surrendered two earned runs to Wagner in his one and a third innings pitched. Paglione, who pitched the previous day, was called on in the ninth to record the final outs of the game.

Perret, Stewart and Bamford all had an RBI in the match up while freshman third baseman Robbie Alessandrine, Gronsky and Perret scored for the Hawks.

Winning three out of four, the Hawks improve their record to 20-13 (12-4 NEC) while Wagner shows a 13-19 (6-6 NEC) record.

MU will next play later today against Rutgers in Pistcataway, NJ with a start time of 3:30 pm.

PHOTO COURTESY of MU Photography