Sports

Baseball Drops Two out of Three at Canisius

MB 2 3 CanisiusThe baseball team resumed Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) play and dropped two out of three games against Canisius this weekend at Demske Sports Complex in Buffalo, NY.

The blue and white opened their second conference series with a bang, putting up 17 runs for the second time this season as they downed Canisius 17-6 in the first of two on Saturday, Apr. 1.

Monmouth scored a run in both the third and fourth innings, but eight runs in the second and seven runs in the fifth is what propelled them to victory.

Junior designated hitter Pete Papcun led off the second inning with a double and scored on a single up the middle by senior outfielder Ryan Crowley, who scored on a triple by sophomore catcher Clay Koniencki. A wild pitch allowed Koniencki to score the third run of the inning. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases for senior first baseman Shaine Hughes, who drove in two with a single to right. Monmouth scored their sixth run of the inning on a fielder’s choice before Papcun delivered a two-run blast to right field, his third of the season, capping the eight-run frame.

In the fifth, freshman shortstop Danny Long, who was named MAAC Rookie of the Week on Tuesday, doubled home two runs after Koniencki and junior second baseman Justin Trochiano walked to open the frame. Back-to-back walks loaded the bases for senior outfielder Tom Jakubowski, who drove in a run with a single to left. Papcun then cleared the bases with a three-run double to center field and later scored on a sacrifice fly.

Papcun went 4-4 and drove in six runs for the second time this season, while also crossing the plate three times. Hughes ended up going 2-2 with three runs batted in (RBI) and drew three walks, while Long finished the game 3-4 with three RBI and two runs scored.

“We swung the bats and got off to a big lead,” Head Coach Dean Ehehalt said. “Pete has been real consistent lately. He has worked hard after fighting through a tough stretch early where he was pitched to a little differently and he has adjusted his offensive approach and that’s been a benefit to him.”

Sophomore right-hander Jordan McCrum picked up his third win on the season after throwing 5.2 innings allowing six earned runs on five hits, walking four and striking out four. He threw 102 pitches and 60 strikes. Junior left-hander Ryan Lillie recorded the save after throwing 3.1 hitless frames, striking out four and allowing only one walk.

The Hawks dropped the second game, a seven-inning affair, 4-3. After Canisius took an early lead, senior right fielder Chris Gaetano belted a solo home run on a 1-2 pitch to right in the second, tying the game at one. Monmouth answered again in the top of the fifth when senior third baseman Grant Lamberton drove in Crowley with a single to center field, knotting the game up at two.

Down by a run with three outs to go, Crowley delivered a game-tying homer to left, but Canisius scored the winning run with the bases loaded and two out in the bottom half of the frame.

The Hawks were unable to hold a late lead in the rubber game on Sunday, falling 11-10. They entered the bottom of the eighth inning with a 10-6 lead, but surrendered five runs in the frame. Monmouth retired two of the first three batters via strikeout. But the Golden Griffs refused to go down quietly. Down to their final four outs with a runner on first, a single, an RBI double, a two run single and another single that plated two runs on an error gave Canisius an 11-10 lead. It was Monmouth’s second deficit of the afternoon, and it ultimately cost them the series.

“There’s several areas where we need to get better at,” Ehehalt said. “One area is playing steadier defense. We have a reputation of being a decent offensive team, but we need to take more ownership in making routine plays, closing innings down and playing in a non-hasty fashion.”

The Hawks are now 7-16 overall and 4-2 in the MAAC. They return to action this afternoon when they take on Princeton before they hit the road again for a three-game weekend series with Siena. First pitch at MU Baseball Field will be at 3 p.m.

PHOTO COURTESY of Karlee Sell