Baseball wins weekend series

Michael T. Lyle Jr.

Despite a wet and mild weekend, the Quinnipiac baseball team clinched a hard-fought series against Northeast Conference foe Mount Saint Mary’s over the weekend.

Quinnipiac (8-12-1, 4-2 NEC) split a Sunday twinbill with The Mount, dropping the first game 3-2 before sweating out a tough 8-5 win in the rubber match of the weekend series at Bobcat Field.

“No matter how many games you play on a weekend, you have to play your rear end off to win them all,” Quinnipiac head coach Dan Gooley said. “I give my hats’ off to Mount Saint Mary’s for a tough series, but I also give credit for our team bouncing back in the second game.”

The squads were originally scheduled to play a doubleheader on Saturday, but following the Bobcats’ 9-2, seven-inning series opening win, heavy rain postponed the second game to a much-nicer Sunday afternoon.

The scheduling change didn’t seem to bother Quinnipiac as much, yet the team struggled offensively in the first contest. After Mount Saint Mary’s jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, Wilson Matos uncorked his third homerun of the season with a two-run shot to right center, putting the home team up, 2-1.

But the Mountaineers sealed the win with clutch plays in the sixth inning. After Joe Kotula’s RBI double knotted the score at 2-2, a squeeze play by Matt Eiden plated the go-ahead run in Brandon Woods to complete the scoring. The Mount’s Dustin Pease (5-2) took the win while Eric Bretscher (0-3) suffered the loss in relief.

In the second game, however, the Bobcats redeemed themselves. Fueled by a two-run single by Matos, Quinnipiac raced out to a 4-0 lead in the third inning. Ryan Rizzo added to the lead in the fourth with a two-out, two-run homer to right center and Quinnipiac had a 6-0 advantage. Jeff Mainetti and Tim Binkoski added RBI singles in the fifth and sixth innings to seemingly put the Bobcats in control, 8-0.

Quinnipiac, however, started to unravel in the seventh. Freshman pitcher Andy Mayer started the inning with two wild pitches that accounted for two of the three runs Mount Saint Mary’s scored to chip into the lead. Woods drove in another run on a single in the eighth to cut the Bobcat lead in half, 8-4.

But Quinnipiac wouldn’t allow Mount Saint Mary’s (10-13, 3-3) to get any closer. Paul Gibson and Michael Oskandy combined to shut down six of the last eleven Mountaineer batters en route to the win. Mayer (3-2) went seven innings, gave up three runs on six hits, struck out five and took the mound decision. Mount Saint Mary’s starting pitcher Justin Davis (2-3) suffered the loss.

Matos was the key to the Bobcats’ two wins in the series. The junior infielder had four hits, drove in four runs and smacked a homer over the weekend. He’s currently second on the team with a .333 batting average.

“(Matos) swung the bat well,” Gooley said. “He’s been playing real well for us the last 10 days. He’s an acrobat and great athlete”.

Quinnipiac was slated to continue its homestand with non-conference contests against Siena and in-state rival Yale on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. Wednesday’s game against Yale starts at 3 p.m. from Bobcat Field.

The Bobcats resume NEC play this weekend with a three-game series at Sacred Heart.