Baseball Downs Monmouth 10-3 in Series Opener
FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The Fairfield University baseball team shook off a slow start and pounded out 16 hits to roll over Monmouth University, 10-3, this afternoon at Alumni Diamond. Six Stags had multi-hit games, including sophomore Jake Salpietro who was a triple short of the cycle.
Salpietro went 3-for-5 with a single, a double, and homer while driving in three runs. Junior Alex Witkus went 3-for-4 with a double, three stolen bases, and a run scored. Witkus was caught stealing on his fourth attempt of the day, snapping a string of 25 consecutive bases stolen.
Senior Ryan Plourde went 2-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored while junior Billy Zolga went 2-for-4 with a triple, two RBIs, and a run scored. Jack Giannini went 2-for-3 with a double, two walks, and two runs scored while Sal Ciccone went 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Sophomore Aaron Howell picked up the win to improve to 2-4 on the season. Howell went 7.0 innings, scattering 10 hits and a walk while striking out two batters. The only blemish on Howell’s day was a five-hit, three-run first inning.
Fairfield (19-14; 9-3 MAAC) got on the board in the bottom of fourth inning. With one out, Rob LoPinto doubled down the leftfield line while Giannini walked on four straight pitches. With two outs, Zolga tripled to deep centerfield to pull the Stags within 3-2. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Witkus reached on an error and made his way around to third with two stolen bases. He then easily scored on a passed ball to tie the game 3-3.
The Stags played small ball in the bottom of the sixth which led to a big inning. Giannini drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice by Brendan Tracy. After Zolga reached on a blooper, Ciccone bunted for a hit to load the bases. Junior Dean Sadik delivered a single to leftfield to drive in Giannini and Zolga for the 5-3 advantage. After a sacrifice by Witkus, Plourde bounced a single through the left side to clear the bases and extend the lead to 7-3. Salpietro then stepped to the plate and sent the first pitch he saw over the fence in leftfield for his fifth homer of the season.
After Howell’s day was complete, Monmouth threatened in the eighth inning by loading the bases but reliever Tucker Panciera was able to get out of the jam. The Stags added their tenth run of the day in the bottom of the eighth as Salpietro plated Plourde with a two-out double. Junior Andrew Gallagher closed out the ninth inning for the Stags.
Andrew McGee (2-4) took the loss, giving up seven runs, six earned on 10 hits.
Fairfield and Monmouth (10-11; 5-6 MAAC) will close out the series tomorrow, April 19, with a doubleheader beginning at 12pm on Alumni Diamond.