West Long Branch, N.J. (NEWS10) — Alex Barker hit a walk-off grand slam to send second seeded Monmouth to the MAAC Championship Round with a 6-4 victory over No. 7 Siena Baseball in the decisive Game Three of the best-of-three MAAC Quarterfinals on the Jersey Shore. The Hawks scored six unanswered runs against the Saints who harbored a 4-0 lead into the sixth inning.
All four batters reached in the bottom of the ninth for Monmouth (24-11) as Barker sent the Hawks to the four-team MAAC Championship Round set to begin Wednesday at Fairfield. Each of the MAAC’s top-four seeds won their quarterfinal round matchups.
Siena (15-24) got off to a hot start, plating four runs in the second inning off Rob Hensey. The MAAC Pitcher of the Year had entered playing having allowed just four runs all season spanning his first six starts and 37.2 innings pitched.
Evan St. Claire opened the scoring with a two-run double, while Donovan Montgomery capped the frame with a run-scoring single. The Saints ultimately chased Hensey, who entered the day ranked second nationally in ERA (0.96), after just 3.1 innings having allowed all four runs.
However, Monmouth reliever Danny Long allowed just one hit and one walk over 5.2 shutout innings of relief, giving the Hawks a chance to chip away. Monmouth got on the board with single runs in the sixth and seventh innings to halve the deficit.
Brooks Knapek went six strong for Siena, surrendering five hits and two runs (one earned) while striking out six.