WEST LONG BRANCH, New Jersey – Despite driving in the tying run in the top of the eighth inning to even the score at 2-2, late runs were the downfall of the Marist baseball team as the Red Foxes fell to the Monmouth Hawks by a final score of 7-2 on Friday.
The loss drops Marist to 15-14 (5-5 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) while the Hawks improve to 11-18 (6-4 MAAC).
Redshirt senior Matt Pagano led Marist offensively finishing with two hits and one RBI, while redshirt sophomore Chris Tracz picked up two hits as well. Redshirt freshman Tyler Kapuscinski finished with one hit and one run scored to extend his hitting streak to eight games and redshirt junior Greg Kocinski picked up a hit and a run scored to extend his hitting streak to four games. Junior Andrew Rouse picked up a hit and senior Tyler Kirkpatrick finished with a hit on the afternoon.
On the mound, senior Sean Keenan got a no decision, throwing six innings while giving up two runs on three hits with six walks and six strikeouts and junior Tony Romanelli pitched two innings, giving up five runs on four hits with three walks and one strikeout.
The Red Foxes got on the board first in the top of the first inning when Kapuscinski singled with one out and advanced to second on a wild pitch two batters later. Gregoire followed with a hit by pitch and Kocinski reached on an error by the third baseman that allowed Kapuscinski to scored and give Marist the early 1-0 lead.
Monmouth answered in the bottom of the inning with back-to-back lead off walks, followed by an RBI single and an RBI sac fly to take the 2-1 lead.
Both teams had opportunities to score but clutch pitching on both sides by Keenan and Hawk started Jordan McCrum kept the game at 2-1.
In the top of the eighth inning, Kocinski singled to right field with one out and advanced to second on a fielding error by the right fielder. Following a fly out, Pagano ripped a single back up the middle that scored Pagano and tied the game at 2-2.
The Hawks answered in the bottom of the eighth off a lead off walk with the runner advancing to second on a passed ball during the next at bat. A walk set up men on first and second with no outs and the next batter laid down a bunt single and then advanced to third on a throwing error by the third baseman that allowed two runs to score. A hit by pitch set up men on first and third and the following batter hit an RBI single up the middle to make it 5-2 Monmouth. After a foul out and an intentional walk, a single through the left side scored two more runs and the Hawks held a 7-2 lead.
The Red Foxes came to bat in the top of the ninth inning looking to rally but were unable as they went down in order to give Monmouth the 7-2 Game 1 victory.
The two teams will wrap up the three game series with a seven and nine inning doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 12 PM.