May 15, 2010
Mike Drowne (South Hadley, MA) scored three runs as the Sacred Heart baseball team defeated Monmouth 6-4 today at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard. Jeff Heppner (Aqubogue, NY) notched the RBI double in the seventh to score Drowne with what would prove to be the winning run. Matt Fitton (Lebanon, CT) picked up his second win of the series in relief for Sacred Heart.
Monmouth (20-23, 13-15 NEC) got started early as Mike Casale led off the game with a single through the left side of the infield. Nick Pulsonetti would drive a 3-2 pitch into the left center field gap to score Casale and give the Hawks a 1-0 lead. The Pioneers would then commit two errors, one on a pickoff move from starter Troy Scribner (Washington Depot, CT), to allow Monmouth to make it a 2-0 game after the first half inning.
The Hawks extended the lead to 4-0 with a pair of runs in the top of the third. Ryan Terry and Nick Pulsonetti started the inning with back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners. Pulsonetti left to steal second base and the catcher Heppner threw to second. However, no one covered the bag as the ball went into center field, allowing Terry to score. Owen Stewart then delivered a single to drive in Pulsonetti to make it a 4-0 affair.
Sacred Heart (28-22, 19-9) got its first hit off Hawks starter Dan Smith in the third as they pushed across three runs in the inning. Rocco Gondek (Glastonbury, CT) opened the inning reaching on an error and MJ Schifano (Monroe, NY) followed him with a single down the left field line. Drowne loaded the bases as he worked out a walk, his 14th free pass of 2010. That would bring up Steve Tedesco (Mission Viejo, CA) who had a pair of walk-off hits in yesterday’s double header. The senior left fielder would again provide a big hit as he drove in two runs with a single to left. Heppner, the next batter, made a bid for extra bases but was robbed by a great diving catch from Pulsonetti in right center field. The Pioneers would still get a third run on the play as Drowne crossed the plate with what would be a loud sacrifice fly.
The Hawks threatened in the top of the fourth as they loaded the bases with just one out. Scribner would rebound and get back-to-back strikeouts at the top of the Monmouth batting order to escape the jam.
The Pioneers tied the game after manufacturing a run in the bottom of the fifth. Drowne started the frame with a bloop hit to right field. The center fielder would steal his 31st base of the season on the first pitch to Tedesco, who moved the runner to third with a sacrifice fly to right. Freshman John Murphy (Seymour, CT) would ground out to second base but the run would score for his 40th RBI of the season, tying the game at four.
Drowne would start the seventh inning the same way as the fifth, slashing a single up the middle. Tedesco laid down a good sacrifice bunt to move the runner into scoring position. Heppner came to the plate with two outs and this time would not be denied extra bases as he laced a double down the right field line to give SHU a 5-4 lead. Rob Griffith (Lake Ronkonkoma, NY) notched a second straight two out hitter as Heppner beat a play at the plate to extend the advantage to 6-4.
Fitton came in and pitched 1.2 innings of relief as he picked up a win in a second straight game. Schifano, who started the game at third base, pitched the last inning and a third to pick up his first save of 2010.
The Pioneers have now won 14 of their last 17 as they sweep Monmouth to clinch a spot in this year’s NEC tournament. Sacred Heart travels to Bryant next weekend as they face the Bulldogs in a four game series with the Northeast Conference regular season title on the line.