The hardware that drove QU baseball

Matt Lefebvre

The first three years of the new millennium have been anything but kind to the Quinnipiac baseball team. After going a combined 34-91 (26-50 NEC) since 2000, the Bobcats did not appear to be a threat to anyone in the Northeast Conference. But with the emergence of new stars and the leadership of veteran Head Coach Dan Gooley, the ‘Cats were able to amass a 23-19 (16-7 NEC) record in 2003-04 and receive plenty of hardware along the way.

Gooley, who is in his second stint as head coach at Quinnipiac, was award NEC Coach of the Year. He arrived back in Hamden before the start of the 2001-02 season and immediately brought back the winning attitude. The team improved by seven wins overall and won six more conference games. Since then, the team has increased its win total each year. By recording a 16-7 conference record, the ‘Cats made their first appearance in the NEC tournament since its arrival to the league in 1998, clinching the No. 2 seed. For his career, Gooley is 356-285-6. His Quinnipiac coaching record is equally impressive at 307-268-5, a.529 winning percentage.

Sophomore starting pitcher Patrick Egan took home the NEC’s Pitcher of the Year Award, becoming the first pitcher in school history to do so. The 6’8″ righty who started his QU career on the hardwood for Joe DeSantis’ basketball team has been even more dominant on the mound than he was on the court. Egan posted a 7-2 regular season record and led the NEC in earned run average (2.54), shutouts (two) and complete games (six) and was second in the league in opponents’ batting average against with .220. Egan was even more impressive in league play where he posted a 6-1 record and a 1.86 ERA. Besides leading the team in wins, shutouts and complete games, Egan also was the staff leader in games started (nine), innings pitched (60.1) and batters faced (222). He was second on the team in strikeouts with 39, seven behind fellow starter Chris Wakefield.

Egan was also given First Team All-NEC honors along with teammates Albert Marano and Bryan Sabatella.

Together Marano and Sabatella combined to be one of the most dangerous duos in the NEC in 2003-04. They led an offensive attack that out hit and out slugged their opponents.

Sabatella, a sophomore, will be one of the main offensive focal points of the Bobcat offense in 2004-05. This season he led the team in runs scored (33), hits (57), doubles (16), total bases (90) and tied for the team lead in stolen bases with six (Marano). He ranked second on the team in batting average (.356) and at-bats with 160. His batting average and doubles ranked seventh and second in the NEC, respectively. He was third in the NEC in slugging percentage with a .562 mark.

As a senior, Marano was equally impressive. He led the ‘Cats in triples (two), home runs (seven), slugging percentage (.568) and walks (21). Marano registered second on the team in runs scored (31), hits (55), total bases (88), on-base percentage (.430) and was tied for second in runs batted in with 31 (Sabatella), finishing one behind outstanding freshman Wilson Matos for the team lead.

The loss of Marano to graduation will be a substantial blow to the Bobcat offense in 2004-05 but with up and coming stars like Sabatella, Matos and Egan the team appears to be in good hands for the next few seasons under the watchful eye of Coach Gooley.