FAIRFIELD, Conn.– Chris McKenna (Pine Beach, N.J./Toms River South) fired seven shutout frames in the second game of a doubleheader at Fairfield on Saturday afternoon to give Monmouth the victory in the second game, 2-0. Fairfield took the first game, 7-1, and after the three game set, MU is 11-18 (6-7 MAAC), while Fairfield is 20-15 (10-4 MAAC).
EJ Ashworth got the first game victory for the Stags, outdueling T.J. Hunt (Wyckoff, N.J./Ramapo) in the seven-inning affair. Ashworth went all seven, allowing a run on nine hits, striking out three. Hunt went four and gave up six runs on eight hits, and Anthony Ciavarella (Phillipsburg, N.J./Phillipsburg) went the final two and allowed a run. Danny Avella (Matawan, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) went 3-for-3 for the Hawks in the first game, and Chris Gaetano (Madison Township, Pa./Scranton Preparatory) added a pair of hits for the Blue and White.
Game Two, a nine-inning contest, saw McKenna hurl seven scoreless innings, giving up five hits and one walk along with five strikeouts. Stephen Frey (Washingtonville, N.Y./Washingtonville) went two innings in relief to earn his first save of the year, allowing only one hit in his time. Mike Wallace started for Fairfield and lasted 6.1 innings, surrendering two runs on nine hits. Three Fairfield relievers combined for 2.2 scoreless stanzas. Offensively for Monmouth, Joe Bamford (Washington, N.J./Northampton C.C./Warren Hills Regional) went 3-for-4 with a walk and an RBI.
Dean Sadik led off the first game with a double, moved to third on a ground out, and scored on Ryan Plourde’s RBI single to give Fairfield a 1-0 lead. The Stags added a pair in the third, when Alex Witkus started things with a singled to left. He moved up on a sacrifice and a ground out, and after Plourde walked, Jake Salpietro tripled them both home to make it 3-0 Fairfield.
Monmouth got a run back in the fourth, with Avella doubling to center and scoring on Connor White (Wall, N.J./Wall)’s infield single. It was short lived, as the Stags struck for three in the bottom of the inning. Brendan Tracy, Billy Zolga and Sal Ciccone all singled consecutively to start the frame, with Tracy scoring on a throwing error by White on Ciccone’s bunt single. Zolga scored on a ground out, and Rob LoPinto doubled home the third run to open it up at 6-1 Stags.
Fairfield added a run on the sixth on Sadik’s RBI single, and Monmouth would get no closer as the final score stood at 7-1.
MU got McKenna an early run in the second game with two outs, when Craig Sweeney (Middletown, N.J./Middletown South) singled and Avella scored him with a double to right. McKenna retired the Stags in order in the first and third innings, and worked through a few scattered base runners in the other innings. He stranded two Stags in the second and sixth.
Monmouth added an insurance run in the seventh via two walks, a hit by pitch and an infield hit. Grant Lamberton (Newark, Del./Salesianum) was hit by a pitch, and Sweeney singled to second. A walk to Gaetano loaded the bases, and Bamford drew a bases loaded walk to make it 2-0 Monmouth. In the seventh, Fairfield put runners on first and third with one out before McKenna battled through it.
Frey came on for a 1-2-3 eighth inning, and allowed a leadoff single in the ninth inning before retiring the next three consecutively to lock down the save and the win for MU, splitting the twinbill with the Stags.
Monmouth returns to the field on Tuesday at Seton Hall. First pitch is set for 4:00 p.m.
mckenna pitches monmouth baseball to game two win, doubleheader split at fairfield