JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Sean Henry (Brick, N.J./Brick Township) capped a six-run fifth inning with a two-run double and Ed Mejias (Ocean Township, N.J./Ocean Township) recorded the final five outs to preserve a 7-6 victory against Monmouth in the nightcap of a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) baseball doubleheader on Saturday. The Hawks won the opener, 9-7.
Trailing 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth, the Peacocks (6-20, 1-6 MAAC) batted around and Henry smacked a two-run opposite field double to bring home the sixth and seventh runs for what proved to be the decisive runs. Henry recorded two hits and two runs scored in the first game. Saint Peter's then allowed two runs in the sixth to cut the advantage to 7-6 before Mejias entered the game. Coming in with the tying run at third and the go-ahead run at second, the senior got out of the jam with a strikeout and a fly out to right in foul territory. Mejias then posted two strikeouts and a ground out to earn his first save of the season.
Kyle Grimes (Iselin, N.Y./John F. Kennedy Memorial) added four hits, two runs scored and two RBIs while Ariel Ramirez (San Domingo, Dominican Republic/Babeque) tallied two hits, two RBIs and three runs scored in twinbill.
Jake Gronsky fueled the Hawks (7-14, 4-2 MAAC) with five hits and four runs scored. Joe Bamford added four hits, three RBIs and two runs scored while Danny Avella recorded three hits, three RBIs and a run scored on the afternoon.
Saint Peter's rallied from a three-run deficit and then held off a late Monmouth charge to earn the split in the first conference doubleheader between the two teams after the Hawks joined the league this season.
After Monmouth grabbed a 4-1 lead by scoring twice in the third, the Peacocks erupted for six runs in the fifth to take the lead for good.
Ramirez and Jon Kristoffersen (Jefferson, N.J./Jefferson Township) started the rally with consecutive walks before Grimes beat out an infield single while both Ramirez and Kristofferson scored on the overthrow with Grimes moving to second on the play. Chris Hugg (Ironia, N.J./Randolph) brought home Grimes on a single to center to tie the game at 4. After Jim Smith (Hatfield, Pa./North Penn) doubled to put two runners in scoring position and Nick Henriquez (Paramus, N.J./Paramus) was intentionally walked, Vinny Maietta (Franklin Square, N.Y./St. Mary's) hit a sacrifice fly to left to plate Hugg with the go-ahead run before Henry capped the six-run inning with a two-run double to right field for a 7-4 lead.
After the Hawks loaded the bases with three-straight singles, Bamford and Steve Wilgus continued the hit barrage with RBI singles to trim the margin to 7-6. Mejias then entered the game and registered the final five outs to help Saint Peter's earn its first league win of the year.
Monmouth jumped out to an early 1-0 lead thanks to a Craig Sweeney run-scoring double in the first. Avella then added another run in the third on an RBI single to center for a 2-0 margin.
The Peacocks loaded the bases in the third after Ramirez reached on an error and Kristoffersen and Grimes each singled to right. With one out, Hugg was robbed of a base hit down the left field line by Robbie Alessandrine and grounded into a fielder's choice forcing out Ramirez at the plate. Kristoffersen then touched home on a wild pitch to cut the deficit in half.
The Hawks added two runs in the fourth after a Bamford RBI single to center and then he was a part of the backend of a double steal for a 4-1 advantage. Saint Peter's then scored six runs and went on for the win.
Mark Wilson (Clark, N.J./Arthur L. Johnson) earned the win in the second game after pitching the first 5.1 innings of the contest.
The opener was a on pace for a quick two-hour affair before the two teams combined for 12 runs in the inning and a half with Monmouth coming out on top, 9-7.
With the game tied at 2, the Hawks scored three times in the eighth on an Avella RBI double and a Grant Lamberton two-run double down the right field line for a 5-2 lead. Sweeney then smacked what proved to be an all-important grand slam in the ninth to increase the Monmouth lead to 9-2.
Saint Peter's rallied for five runs in the bottom of the ninth and left the tying runs in scoring position. Maietta started the rally by reaching on an error with one out. Henry singled and Ramirez doubled home Maietta with two outs. After Kristoffersen walked, Grimes smacked a two-run single to center to bring in Ramirez and Henry. Hugg walked to load the bases before Henriquez scored Kristoffersen and Grimes on a two-run single through the right side to cut the deficit to two runs at 9-7. Smith reached on an error to load the bases and put the tying run on second, but a strikeout ended the threat and the first game.
Bamford got the scoring started with an RBI triple in the third to hand the Hawks a 1-0 edge.
Ramirez answered right back for the Peacocks with a one-out opposite field homer to tie the game at 1. Saint Peter's then took its first lead after Henry doubled and touched home on an error in the fifth.
Monmouth responded with an Avella RBI single up the middle in the sixth to tie the game before the Hawks scored seven unanswered runs to take the lead and held on for a 9-7 lead.
AJ Celentano (South Plainfield, N.J./South Plainfield) took the loss for Saint Peter's. Zach Hopf (Woodbridge, N.J./Woodbridge Township) pitched well in the loss, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits with five strikeouts in 6.2 innings pitched.
The two teams will play at Jaroschak Field on Sunday in the rubber game of the three-game series. Game time is 1 p.m. and John Leiter (Toms River, N.J./Toms River South) is scheduled to take the hill for the Peacocks.