The baseball team has had no luck with the weather this season. First, it had five of 10 games cancelled over its spring trip to North Carolina last week. Yesterday it had what was to be its home-opener – a game against Monmouth – moved to the Hawks' home field in West Long Branch, N.J., because Princeton's field was still too wet from rain a few days ago.
Thus far, the Tigers have been down on the weather but now they have another thing detracting from their season – a 7-4 loss to Monmouth (7-9). The loss drops Princeton to 3-3 on the season.
Heading into the bottom of the fourth inning, the Tigers led the game, 3-1. But that was the last time Princeton would lead as the Hawks scored four runs on three hits in the bottom of the fourth. Monmouth's scoring was capped off by a two-run home run by Chris Montenegro in the bottom of the sixth.
As close as it gets
Princeton closed the gap to 7-4 in the top of the seventh with a sacrifice fly by sophomore catcher Buster Small, but that was the last run of the game.
Junior first baseman Matt Evans dominated the game offensively for the Tigers. Evans had three hits, two of which were doubles, two runs and one RBI in his four at bats.
Other strong offensive performances for Princeton came from junior left fielder Jason Koonin and junior center fielder Michael Hazen, who had one hit and one run apiece. Koonin also had a double as did senior second baseman Asher Griffin. Freshman right fielder Mickey Martin also contributed well with two RBI in the third inning.
Share the wealth
Princeton certainly displayed the depth of its pitching staff as four hurlers – juniors Howard Horn, Pat Henning, Jeff Golden and senior Ben Matsil – took the mound for two innings each. But the depth of Princeton's pitching was not enough to defeat the Hawks' Joe Aragona (3-1), who was credited with the win, striking out eight Tiger hitters in six innings. Henning (0-1) was credited with the Tiger loss.
Princeton continued to experiment in its lineup – a task left incomplete with the shortened spring trip. In the uncertain position of third base, sophomore Mike Levy and junior John Pearson both played. Both Martin and freshman Andrew Hanson played in right field and freshman Max Krance and sophomore Jesse Ryan had chances to prove themselves in the designated hitter slot.
But the Tigers have plenty of opportunities to tie together loose ends in their lineup in the next two weeks before the Ivy League season begins April 4 against their likely opponent for the Ivy crown – Harvard. Princeton will also have a chance to avenge yesterday's loss when it returns to West Long Branch for a doubleheader this Sunday.
Before they can have their rematch with the Hawks, however, the Tigers will face Wagner in a doubleheader that should be their new home opener – weather permitting, of course.