Baseball tunes up skills in Virginia

Chris Lima

The men’s baseball team returned home from a trip south to Virginia and West Virginia that included an offensive outburst and a first in the school’s history.

The Bobcats combined for 29 runs in only six games against three teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). The trip was highlighted by a 13-11 win over the University of Virginia Cavaliers who, as of Mar. 20, were No. 19 in the nation. The win against the Cavaliers marked the first time in Quinnipiac history that the men’s baseball team won a contest against an ACC opponent.

Ricky Coppola, who in 29 at-bats is hitting .379, said of the win, “In defeating a team like Virginia, a top team in the country, we feel that we can most definitely compete with teams of that stature.”

The Bobcats, with that win, are looking to compete with the favorites in their own conference. Central Connecticut State, a powerhouse in the Northeast Conference (NEC), also went south to play Virginia, but did not have the same success as the Bobcats. In three games against Virginia, Central could only muster five runs against the Cavaliers while giving up a total of 38, en-route to losing all three match-ups.

This is good news for the Bobcats, and even better news for Quinnipiac pitcher Patrick Egan. When asked if he had any games circled on his schedule, he said, “Central Connecticut. They are our rivals; I don’t want to lose to them. I hate seeing these guys win, I would love to bury Central all six times we play them.”

The Bobcats’ hope is becoming more of a reality this season. Egan, in the team’s home opener against Hofstra, pitched seven innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, striking out four batters, and only walking one. Egan’s performance, along with Coppola’s three hits and freshman Wilson Matos’ game winning double that cleared the bases, scoring two runs, gave the ‘Cats a light which they can follow the rest of the season.

Matos, one of the new faces in the lineup, enjoyed his first trip south at the college level. “The trip down south was a great experience for me. Being a Freshman I got to face some real quality college pitching,” Matos said. “It was a good preparation for our regular season.” In nine games this season, Matos is hitting .333, has six RBI’s, and leads the team in doubles and total bases.

Despite the wins against Virginia and Hofstra, the Bobcats believe they are far from where their potential can take them. The Bobcats were swept by the Richmond Spiders and the University of West Virginia Mountaineers, and lost two games to Hofstra before beating them in the third game of the series.

If the Bobcats wish to play deep into the NEC tournament at the end of the year, the team’s pitching must improve. In the first nine games of the season, the team has allowed 85 runs, registering a team ERA of 10.32.

Coppola agrees that the team has much room for improvement. Of the team’s stumbling, Coppola said “Early in the season, we have done some good things and some bad. By no means are we playing are best baseball yet. When that happens, we have the opportunity to be a very dangerous team.”