FORT PIERCE, Fla.- The Eastern Nazarene College baseball team traded a pair of one-run decisions with Monmouth (Ill.) to open the 2019 campaign Saturday afternoon at Bob Gladwin Stadium in Fort Pierce, Florida
The Lions progress to 1-1 on the spring with the results while the Fighting Scots also move to 1-1 overall.
Anthony Esposito (Mount Royal, N.J.) racked up a team-high four base hits and added one run. Steven Pesce (Harrison, N.Y.) finished with three base knocks, two RBIs, one run scored, and one stolen base. Ryan Hardacre (Windham, N.H.), Hunter Leroux-Porter (Greenland, N.H.), and Matthew Urena (Flushing, N.Y.) all chipped in with one hit and one RBI on the day.
In the first game of the twinbill, Monmouth rallied past Eastern Nazarene 5-4 in extra innings.
The Lions scored three runs in the first to jump in front 3-0. With the bases loaded, Pesce belted a double off the left field fence to drive in Connor Simpson (Haverhill, Mass.) and Esposito. Zachary Carmody (Babylon, N.Y.) scampered home as Joshua Bombard (Rutland, Mass.) reached on a fielder's choice.
The Fighting Scots got on the board in the top of the sixth to cut the deficit to 3-1. Mike Dato singled to drive in Matt Temaner.
Monmouth vaulted ahead 4-3 with three runs in the top of the seventh inning. Harry Sanchez doubled to the gap in right-centerfield to knock in Jake Starkey from second base. Tyler Ulfig landed a base hit in center to plate Sanchez and Temaner.
Eastern Nazarene responded with the game-tying run in the home half of the seventh. Hardacre delivered a one-out single to drive in Simpson from third base.
The Fighting Scots reclaimed a one-run edge in the top of the eighth, 5-4. Anthony Ruggles rounded third and scored from second as Starkey doubled to right-center.
Brent Houle (Westfield, Mass.) pitched five innings and finished with five strikeouts in his 29th career start on the mound. Daniel Rivera (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) tossed 1.2 innings of relief and fanned three batters. Brandon Imonti (Tewksbury, Mass.) worked 1.1 frames in his 15th career appearance out of the bullpen.
In game two of the doubleheader, Eastern Nazarene bounced back to earn a 2-0 victory for its first win of the season.
The Lions broke the scoreless tie in the top of the fifth, plating one run to capture a 1-0 lead. Urena roped a single to left to score Bombard from second base.
Eastern Nazarene doubled its advantage to 2-0 in the top of the seventh. Leroux-Porter picked up his first collegiate hit and RBI as he flared a single to shallow left field to plate Pesce from third.
Brenndan Rogers (Hanson, Mass.) threw a complete-game shutout in his first start of the spring, dealing a career-high 10 strikeouts and allowing just two hits in seven innings of action.
Looking ahead, Eastern Nazarene returns to the diamond March 4 to square off against Wilkes in a single, nine-inning contest.