WILKES-BARRE, PA (March 30, 2019) - The King's College baseball team split a doubleheader with visiting FDU-Florham on Saturday afternoon at Lipo Field to win the season series against the Devils. The Monarchs won the first game 4-1 before the Devils scored three unearned runs in the eighth to win the nightcap 10-7.
After playing 11 innings and a very late night on Friday, it took a while for the Monarch bats to get going in the opener as FDU-Florham starter Kyle Nepton held the Monarch to just two hits through the first five innings. One of those hits was a big one for King's as Matt Mellinger knocked in the first run of the game in the bottom of the first inning with a single through the left side to score Christian Pack from second. Pack and Dan Hartson had drawn walks to get on base prior to Mellinger's at-bat. The Devils got that run back in the top of the second with a pair of singles and a groundout to short.
From there it was a pitching duel until the sixth as Colby Toth and Nepton allowed a combined three singles from the bottom of the second to the top of the sixth. Pack led off the bottom of the sixth with a single up the middle and then stole second. Hartson hit a single to right to move Pack to third and then stole second. Mellinger then roped a double down the left field line to plate two runs and give KC the lead. Two batters later Noah Adams gave the Monarchs an insurance run with a double to left center scoring Mellinger.
FDU-Florham led off the seventh with a pinch-hit single before Toth got a fly out to center and a strikeout. After a wild pitch and an infield single to the hole at short the Monarchs made a call to the pen for Cooper Johnson. Johnson got a groundball to short on the second pitch he threw to end the game and pick up his first career save.
Toth pitched excellently to record his second victory of the year. The freshman threw 109 pitches in 6.2 innings and allowed just one run on six hits with four strikeouts and two walks. Mellinger knocked in three runs on two hits and scored a run and was involved in all four runs for the Monarchs.
The Devils jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in the first two innings of the second game. King's loaded the bases with one out in the first, but Joseph Bello was able to get a strikeout and a groundball to third to get out of the jam. The Monarchs cut into the lead in the second as Noah Adams and Seth Laky hit back-to-back singles to start the inning. Jacob Adamski knocked in a run with two outs before Hartson doubled to left to plate another run. That was all the Monarchs were able to score before the Devils got the third out.
FDU-Florham tacked on another run in the fourth, but the Monarchs responded in the bottom half with two more runs to make it a two-run game. Matt Dobeck started the two-out rally by drawing a walk. Adamski singled through the left side. The Devils thought they got out of the inning when Hartson hit a grounder to third but a hustling Adamski beat the throw to second base. Mellinger made the decision not to try and throw Hartson out at first hurt knocking a single through the left side to score two runs. Jonathan Hoyt walked to reload the bases before Tyler Reynolds just got under a ball for the final out to center field.
The Monarchs had a big fifth inning to take their first lead of the game. Laky and Sean McKee hit back-to-back singles to center field putting runners at the corners and forcing a pitching change. McKee stole second before Laky scored and McKee moved to third on a wild pitch. Dobeck knocked in a run to tie the game at six with another single to center. He then stole second before Adamski recorded another hit to put runners back on the corners and force another call to the bullpen. Adamski stole second to take away the possible double-play. Hartson gave the Monarchs the 7-6 lead with a single to right before recording King's fourth steal of the inning. Michael Godlewski was able to get two strikeouts to get out of the inning with no more damage.
The Devils loaded the bases in the sixth with one out before the Monarchs brought in Jacob Lupas to get out of the jam. He did just that with a fly ball to shallow left that McKee grabbed and then a fly out to right. In the seventh Halik Hamer led off with a double to left center. Two batters later he was driven in for the tying run by Tyler McCulloch with a single to center. The Devils then scored three unearned runs in the eighth on three hits and an inning-opening error to take a 10-7 lead. In the bottom of the inning, King's was able to put two guys on base but were unable to knock them in.
Adamski, Hartson, and Laky had three hits each in the game for the Monarchs as they racked up 15 total hits. Mellinger had another two RBI while Hartson also knocked in two. King's, however, left 13 men on base in the game
King's will look to rebound from the tough loss in the second game on Tuesday when they travel up to Scranton for a 5 pm first pitch against University of Scranton.