Quinnipiac baseball coach Dan Gooley enjoys one thing about doubleheaders: if at first you don’t succeed, try again.
After suffering a 7-5 setback in the first of a Saturday afternoon twin bill with Northeast Conference foe Fairleigh Dickinson, Gooley’s squad, indeed, tried and tried the second time around. The result was a convincing 10-1, seven-inning romp of the Knights in front of a combined 90 chilly fans at Bobcat Field.
“It feels great to win on any day,” said the 16th year head coach. “It was disappointing to lose the first game, but we battled back and swung the bat well the second time.”
In the first game, the Bobcats took advantage of some poor fielding and raced out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, scoring all their unearned runs on an error from Knights’ center fielder Vicente Medina.
After the Knights responded with a five-run second to take the lead, 5-3, Quinnipiac came back to even the score at 5-5 in the bottom of the third, fueled by a solo home run from Randy Gress.
But Fairleigh Dickinson sealed its third win of the season with two runs in the top of the seventh to close out the scoring. John O’Hara (2-1) took the mound decision for the Knights while Eric Bretscher (0-2) suffered the loss in relief.
Despite game-time temperatures being in the low 40’s with a medium windchill, Quinnipiac looked more revamped in the second game of the doubleheader. The Bobcats (4-10, 1-1 NEC) once again took advantage of some poor fielding from the Fairleigh Dickinson defense and raced out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning – a lead they would not relinquish this time. RBI doubles from Gress and Kevin MacIlvane helped put Quinnipiac in control, 5-0.
In the third, the Knights got on the scoreboard with an RBI double by Vincente Medina, but Quinnipiac chased Fairleigh Dickinson starter John Meadus as an RBI single by John Delaney drove in Ricky Coppola – who earlier in the inning singled, then stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error – for a commanding 6-1 advantage.
The Bobcats then used a three-run fifth to close out the scoring on RBI doubles from Delaney and Ryan Rizzo. Rizzo later scored on wild pitch to help Quinnipiac win the first of the three-game weekend series.
After the offensive juggernaught, Bobcats’ sophomore pitcher Eric Weber took control. He retired six of the final seven Fairleigh Dickinson batters en route to his first collegiate victory of his career. He went the distance while limiting the Knights (3-13, 1-1) to one run on four hits and striking out five.
“We started to get some runs early and that made it easier on my confidence level,” Weber said “I fell behind in the count a couple of times, but our defense came through for us.”
MacIlvane (3 hits, 2 RBIs), Coppola (3 hits) and Rizzo (3 hits, 2 runs) paced the Bobcats’ offensive explosion in the win.
Quinnipiac routed Fairleigh Dickinson in Sunday’s rubber match, 19-2.
Following the weekend series with the Knights, the Bobcats were to continue their homestand with contents against Vermont and Dartmouth on Tuesday and Wednesday at 3 p.m. Quinnipiac travels to West Point, N.Y. for a 3 p.m. showdown with Army on Thursday.