Quinnipiac head coach Dan Gooley waited three weeks for his team’s offense and pitching to click and give him a milestone victory: 500 wins. Senior captains Chris Migani and Kyle Nisson waited with Gooley to give him a much-deserved Gatorade bath.
Gooley got what he wanted, while Migani and Nisson gave their head coach exactly what he earned.
Nisson recorded a career-best five hits, Derek Lamacchia pitched into the seventh inning and the Quinnipiac baseball team beat Mount St. Mary’s, 17-3, Friday at Quinnipiac Baseball Field to give Gooley his 500th career win as head coach.
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“You get to 500 and that’s kind of special,” said Gooley, in his 27th season as a head coach. “That’s a fairly good-sized number.”
After the game, Migani and Nisson poured the contents of the Gatorade cooler on Gooley, something they had been waiting to do since the team’s previous win on March 23. The team had lost 13 straight games since.
“We’ve been waiting to do that for a while, so it’s pretty awesome,” said Nisson, who drove in five runs and scored five runs.
Added Gooley: “It felt great. Everybody was saying how cold it was. I don’t know, I felt pretty hot.”
The Bobcats (4-26, 3-14 Northeast Conference) built a 7-0 lead after the second inning. They scored five more in the fifth, three in the seventh and two in the eighth. The 17 runs were the most Quinnipiac scored in a game since April 21, 2011 vs. Yale, when the Bobcats won 19-18.
“It was awesome, everyone was hitting,” Nisson said.
The 17 runs were more than enough run support for Lamacchia (1-5), who struck out eight in 6 ⅔ innings of work. The Bobcats averaged 2.2 runs per game in Lamacchia’s previous six starts, but got ahead quickly today and never looked back.
“Big offensive boost today, that’s definitely a plus for us because I know we’ve been struggling lately,” Lamacchia said. “A lot of run support is good and I held them down, so it’s definitely key to win.”
Zak Palmer recorded five hits, Nic Civale and Forrest Dwyer both drove in three runs and Vincent Guglietti scored three times for the Bobcats.
The Bobcats have been held to three or fewer runs 18 times this season and have been shut out six times, but they didn’t struggle for runs or hits this game.
Nisson hit an RBI single to center in the first and after Palmer hit another single, Civale hit a double that hopped over the right field fence to drive in Nisson and give the Bobcats an early 2-0 lead.
Guglietti and Nisson both had RBI singles in the second off Mount St. Mary’s starter Karl LaMont (1-1), who allowed eight hits in 1 ⅓ innings.
In the fifth, Nisson lined a two-run single to left field to give the Bobcats a 9-0 lead and knocked reliever Chris Del Vecchio out of the game. Palmer followed with an RBI single of his own and two batters later, Scott Donaghue drove a single to left to give Quinnipiac a 12-0 lead.
Lamacchia wouldn’t let the Mountaineers (11-25, 4-13 NEC) get anywhere close. He retired the first six hitters he faced and forced seven ground outs.
“I’ve been saying it for the last 10-12 days that it’s really just a question of when our offense is going to catch our pitching,” Gooley said. “Today we happened to put everything together. It was great.”
Gooley has a 500-520-8 career record, and if he wins one more game this season, he will have 400 wins while at Quinnipiac. Gooley, who used to play at Quinnipiac, is the program’s leader in strikeouts (316), ranks second in wins (20) and led the Bobcats to their only NEC title in 2005.
He coached Quinnipiac from 1977 until 1987 and among the players he coached was former pitcher Turk Wendell. He left to coach at Hartford for five years starting in 1988. There, he coached the likes of Jeff Bagwell, who he says is one of the best hitters in Houston Astros history.
Gooley returned to Hamden as head coach in 2002 and has coached the Bobcats since. He coached the Bobcats to 29 wins in 2007, the most wins in a single season. He reached win No. 400 in 2006.
“During the course of your career, you hit numbers, and it seems that every 100 is special, and I was lucky enough to get 500 today,” Gooley said. “Maybe somewhere along the lines I’ll be lucky enough to get to 501. You just have to take it one pitch at a time, one inning at a time, one game at a time.”
All of the assistant coaches and players embraced Gooley after the game for reaching the milestone. Gooley said he was grateful for everyone who was with him to reach this point.
“I’ve had hundreds of players, loads of great assistant coaches, and my gratitude is to them,” Gooley said. “They’re the guys who did it, I just happened to be along for the ride.”