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BASEBALL BOWS OUT OF NEC TOURNAMENT; FALL 11-2 AGAINST MONMOUTH
Lakewood, NJ -- Monmouth advanced to the NEC Baseball Championship game with an 11-2 victory over fourth-seeded UMBC on Sunday afternoon at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood, NJ. The third-seeded Hawks will play top-seeded Central Connecticut State at 3:30 p.m. in the championship round. A Blue Devil win gives them their second straight NEC crown, while the Hawks must take two in a row from CCSU to win the title.
Monmouth jumped to a 1-0 lead in the first as Lance Koenig (Brielle, NJ/Manasquan) doubled and scored on an RBI single by Frank Pilitowski (Franklinville, NJ/Delsea Regional). UMBC tied the game at one in the bottom of the inning as Mike Orlando (Rochester, NY/W. Irondequoit) doubled and scored on a single by Scott Kosmicky (Baltimore, MD/Archbishop Curley).
The Hawks regained the lead for good with three runs in the third. With two outs, Mike St. Martine (Levittown, PA/Truman) singled and scored on a double by Fran Rotella (Secaucus, NJ/St. Peter’s Prep) to make it 2-1. Marc Weres (Union, NJ/Union) followed with a single to center to score Rotella, and Chris Ciminiello (St. James, NY/Smithtown) knocked Weres in with a double to left to push the lead to 4-1.
Monmouth tacked on two more runs in the fourth as Koenig walked and scored on a double by Pilitowski, who moved to third on an error. After a walk to St. Martine, Rotella smacked an infield single, scoring Pilitowski to make it 6-1. In the bottom of the fifth, Koenig singled home Ciminiello to stretch the Hawks’ lead to 7-1. Monmouth scored four more times in the sixth fueled by an RBI double by Rotella and RBI singles by Mike Kelly (Freehold, NJ/ Freehold Boro) and Koenig to make it 11-1.
The Retrievers got one run back with one out in the bottom of the ninth as Derek Fritz (Baltimore, MD/Archbishop Curley) reached on an error and scored on an RBI double to left center by Chris Becraft (Clarksville, MD/River Hill), but MU reliever Brian Driber (Point Pleasant, NJ/Point Boro) got Kosmicky to ground out to second and Chris Yetter (Columbia, MD/Wilde Lake) to fly out to left to end the game.
UMBC's season ended at 20-27, while Monmouth improved to 24-26.
Koenig, who tied Monmouth’s single-season record for doubles after hitting his 19th and 20th of the season, finished the afternoon 4-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs. Rotella added three hits, three RBIs and two runs for the Hawks. Glen Keeton (Middletown, NY/Minisink Valley) earned his third win of the season after allowing one earned run on nine hits while striking out seven. Driber pitched the ninth, giving up an unearned run and a hit.
UMBC’s Tom Ballenger (Clifton Park, NY/Shenendehowa) took the loss after allowing four earned runs on seven hits over 2.2 innings. Joe Muscillo (Long Branch, NJ/Long Branch) went 3-for-4, while Kosmicky and Becraft drove in a run each.