May 13, 2010
Jeff Heppner (Aqubogue, NY) launched a grand slam in the eighth inning to blow open an 11-4 victory against Monmouth in Northeast Conference action this afternoon. Chris Zaccherio (Manhasset, NY) allowed seven hits while striking out seven in the complete game victory, inducing three double play balls along the way. The Pioneers have now won 11 of their last 14 games and currently sit in second place in the NEC standings.
Monmouth (20-20, 13-12 NEC) took an early 1-0 lead as Ryan Terry hit a one-out solo homerun, his ninth long ball of 2010. The Pioneers would immediately respond in their half of the first, fueled by a leadoff infield single from Mike Drowne (South Hadley, MA). On the play the Hawks shortstop Jamie Rosenkranz threw the ball away trying to gun down Drowne, allowing the SHU leadoff hitter to advance to second. Steve Tedesco (Mission Viejo, CA) advanced the runner to third with a ground ball to the right side and John Murphy (Seymour, CT) picked up the RBI with another ground ball to the second baseman to tie the game.
Sacred Heart (25-22, 16-9 NEC) opened up a 4-1 lead in the second inning as they pushed across three runs. Rob Griffith (Lake Ronkonkoma, NY), JJ Edwards (Endwell, NY), and Hunter Phillips (Monroe, CT) put together three straight singles to start the frame. Rocco Gondek (Glastonbury, CT) supplied the first run with a sacrifice fly to center, making it a 2-1 ball game. MJ Schifano (Monroe, NY) laid down a bunt on a successful squeeze play to push the score to 3-1 while also reaching first base with a single. Tedesco rounded out the scoring with the Pioneers second sacrifice fly of the inning.
The Hawks bounced right back in the top of the third as Rosenkranz belted a three-run homer to knot the game at four. The inning was not without controversy as SHU pitcher was called for a questionable balk to advance the runners. Zaccherio also thought he had struck out Rosenkranz on the pitch before his blast on a borderline offering.
The Pioneers regained the lead in the fifth inning as Murphy started the frame with a single just over the first base bag and down the right field line. Heppner singled to left field to put runners at the corners with nobody out. Edwards then lifted a deep fly ball to center that should have been SHU's third sacrifice fly of the game, but it was dropped by Josh Boyd to allow the run to score without recording an out. Monmouth starter Nick Meyers got the next two outs and before a single to left from Gondek. However, the Hawks defense would come through as Nick Pulsonetti gunned down Griffith at home to keep the Sacred Heart lead at 5-4.
Sacred Heart padded the lead in the sixth after Schifano led off with a triple to center field and later scored on a Murphy sacrifice fly. The Pioneers would blow the game wide open in the eighth inning, scoring five runs on just one hit. The first two batters in the inning reached after being hit by a pitch and advanced twice thanks to a pair of wild pitches. Another walk would load the bases for Heppner, the Pioneers cleanup hitter. Heppner crushed a 2-1 pitch to deep left field for his 13th homer of 2010 and moving his RBI total to a team leading 50. Zaccherio came out in the ninth to finish off his seventh win of the season, along with his sixth complete game.
The Pioneers and Hawks will play a double header tomorrow afternoon in Bridgeport, CT at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard. First pitch is set for 12:00 pm. Jared Balbach (Pine Bush, NY) and Corey Corcoran (Norwich, CT) are the scheduled starters for Sacred Heart.