Fairfield, CT – Fresh off winning three out of four against the first place Bryant Bulldogs, the Sacred Heart baseball team heads to West Long Branch, New Jersey this weekend to take on the Monmouth Hawks. SHU and Monmouth currently sit right behind Bryant in the NEC standings with identical 14-6 conference records. Sacred Heart has had Monmouth's number of late, winning seven of the last eight matchups between the two schools.
Sacred Heart (19-17, 14-6) comes into this weekend red hot after beating the Bryant Bulldogs three out of four games last weekend. SHU handed Bryant their first three NEC losses of the season and snapped their 19 game win streak on Friday afternoon. Senior Troy Scribner (Washington Depot, CT) shut down Bryant on Friday, allowing just three hits and striking out 11 Bulldogs, en route to the 4-1 victory. For his terrific effort against the Bulldogs, Scribner was named NEC Co-Pitcher of the Week and also one of four players to earn Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week honors.
Senior shortstop John Murphy (Seymour, CT) joined Scribner on the NEC Honor Roll, winning NEC Player of the Week for the second time this season. Murphy went 7-12 with 3 RBI, 3 walks, and 3 stolen bases in the four game series against Bryant. Murphy also smacked a two out, two RBI walk-off double in the bottom of the seventh inning in game two of the Saturday doubleheader. Murphy leads the team with a .372 batting average this season (4th in NEC) and leads the conference with a .620 slugging percentage.
Monmouth comes into this weekend after splitting their last weekend series against in-state rival Fairleigh Dickinson. Monmouth sits at 14-6 in the NEC and is 9-4 at home this season. The Hawks are led by senior third baseman Owen Stewart who currently leads the league with a .404 batting average. On the mound MU is led by junior left-hander Andrew McGee who has pitched 74.1 innings this season, tops in the NEC. McGee also ranks fourth in the NEC with a 1.94 ERA.
SHU and Monmouth met six times last season with the Pioneers winning five of the six matchups. Sacred Heart defeated Monmouth three out of four in the final weekend of the regular season at Harbor Yard before heading to the conference tournament. The two NEC rivals also met twice in the NEC Tournament with SHU winning both games in consecutive days to earn their second consecutive NEC Tournament Championship. In the semi-finals, junior Nick Leiningen (Millwood, NY) pitched a complete game shutout as SHU advanced to their third straight NEC title game. SHU would get another terrific pitching performance the next day from Kody Kerski (Waterbury, CT) as the Pioneers defeated Monmouth 5-1 to earn their second consecutive NEC Tournament Championship. SHU defeated Monmouth in the 2011 NEC Championship game as well.
SHU and Monmouth get things started tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 pm. We will have live play-by-play for all four games on the Pioneers Sports Network.