Sports

MU Baseball Ends 1-2 in Navy Tournament

robbieThe baseball team traveled to Max Bishop Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland for a tournament against Towson University, Navy, and University of Pennsylvania this past weekend. With the two losses and one tournament win, the men currently post a 2-7 record.

The Hawks began the tournament with a loss to the Towson University Tigers on Friday, March 7. Starting pitcher senior Andrew McGee was able to hold the Tigers' offense to four hits and no runs until the fifth inning. Towson broke the scoreless game when junior Peter Bowles doubled down the left field line and drove in two runners. Senior Dominic Fratantuono continued the streak with a single to center field plating Bowles.

MU had a decent chance to earn some runs in the third inning when senior Joe Bamford tripled to right center. However, sophomore Robbie Alessandrine then grounded out to first while junior Steve Wilgus grounded out to short. With two outs, senior Jon Guida grounded out to third.

"We did strand some opportunities," head coach Dean Ehehalt said. "I think as we start to practice more and get outside more that will kind of take care of itself."

The Hawks were given another prime opportunity to advance their runner in the fourth when senior Jake Gronsky doubled down the line to start the inning. Sophomore Danny Shea followed with a deep fly to center which was caught by Towson. Senior Danny Avella advanced Grosnky to third on a sacrifice bunt which brought junior Craig Sweeney to bat. Sweeney was able to connect and send the ball out to left field, but it was caught by Towson. The blue and white left a total of six runners on base during the game.

With the loss, MU fell to 1-6 while Towson improved to 7-3. This now marks Towson's best opening record since 2001. The Tigers' win also propels their starting pitcher, junior righthander Chris Acker to 13.1 consecutive scoreless innings. McGee is now 1-2 for the season.

The Hawks tried to push past the Towson loss as they faced the tournament's host team, Navy, March 8. The game was tied three different times; however, it was not enough as Navy won 4-3 via a walk off double from Robert Currie.

"It's a typical Monmouth verse Navy game. One run typically wins those games and they take advantage of every mistake you make," Ehehalt said. "We took advantage earlier in the game of a mistake they made. It was a good baseball game and someone had to lose, unfortunately it was us."

Sweeney carried the team as he scored one of the three runs and two of MU's six hits. Junior TJ Hunt started for the Hawks and last 5.2 innings giving up three runs while fanning four. Sophomore Frank Trimarco threw the following 2.2 innings giving up one run on four hits. Trimarco was also given the loss. Navy's starter Stephen Moore was on the mound for eight innings giving up two runs, one earned off four hits. Navy's Currie and Drew Hayes had the most hits of the day as each went 3-for-4. The loss snaps MU's three game winning streak against Navy.

The Hawks finished the tournament with a 7-5 win against the University of Pennsylvania Quakers on Sunday, March 9.

UPenn held an early advantage as Marshall Harden connected for a double which sent teammate Austin Bossart home in the first inning.

The blue and white retaliated in the fifth when they were able to load the bases. Alessandrine was the first to receive an RBI with a base hit to tie the game. Freshman Grant Lamberton then cleared the bases with a double to left center giving MU a three run advantage.

The Hawks scored three more runs during the eighth inning. Senior Jake Gronsky and Avella started the rally by gaining back-to-back walks. Sweeney connected for a single bringing Gronsky home. Jacobson was able to increase MU's lead with a RBI double. The men scored their final run of the game when Alessandrine drew a bases loaded walk.

UPenn answered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the eighth but couldn't do enough damage to earn the win. The final score was 7-5 in the Hawks favor.

Starting pitcher, junior Chris McKenna, picked up his first win of the season allowing only one run on four hits. Sweeney and Jacobson led MU offensively with two hits a piece while Lamberton plated the most runners.

The team will be back on the field Friday for a three game series at George Washington University (3-9). First pitch is set for 3 pm.

PHOTOS COURTESY of Jim Reme