The Quinnipiac baseball team truly had an up-and-down weekend as it split a four-game series against Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, N.J. The Bobcats dropped the first two games of the series before responding in a big way and taking the last two games.
The first two games did not go as planned for the Bobcats (8-8-1, 2-2 NEC). They jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first game thanks to three runs in the third inning. However, a strong pitching performance from ace Pat Egan went sour when FDU’s John Paganotti singled through the right side of the infield to plate the game-winning run and hand Quinnipiac a loss, 5-4.
The second game was far worse for the Bobcats as they were defeated 12-2 with their only runs coming off a Jeff Carino two-run shot in the seventh. The game was well in hand at that point thanks to a seven-run first inning by FDU (7-18, 2-2 NEC).
“The first game of the series was tough. We played decent but they just played a little bit better and were able to take it in the end,” senior pitcher Paul Gibson said. “The second game of the series we just didn’t show up.”
Despite the poor showing the first two games, Quinnipiac was able to turn it around in the next two games, showing why it could be a force in the NEC.
“[Head coach Dan Gooley] pretty much told us that the level that we were playing at was just not going to get it done and give ourselves a chance to win the conference,” Gibson said. “We needed to all step our game up and take control.”
The Bobcats did just that. In the second game of the double header, they hit seven home runs en route to a 15-1 victory. It all started in the fourth inning when Pete Kummerfeldt hit a three-run bomb that was promptly followed by a solo shot from Wilson Matos. The hits kept on coming in the fifth, when Quinnipiac scored five more times highlighted by a Randy Gress two-run home run.
The hit parade continued into the sixth when Quinnipiac’s 4-5-6 hitters, Gress, Jeff Mainetti, and Kummerfeldt, went back-to-back-to-back to put the game out of reach.
Not to be overshadowed by the offensive prowess the Bobcats showed in the game was sophomore pitcher Chris Gloor. He went six innings giving up one run and the only hit FDU would manage in the game.
Quinnipiac would once again flash its offensive muscle in the rubber match of the series winning the game easily, 10-1. This time, the offense was much more centralized as Gress and senior Tim Binkoski combined to go 7-for-8 in the contest driving in five runs and scoring four.
As in its previous win, Quinnipiac’s pitching refused to go unnoticed. This time it was another sophomore who shut down the Knights. Joe Duffy pitched eight innings giving up just five hits while striking out four without allowing an earned run.
“I think the first two games of the series gave us a true wake-up call,” said Gibson, who contributed a scoreless ninth to close out the final game of the series. “After the final two games I think there was a sense, both within the team and coaching staff, that we were headed back in the right direction.”
The Bobcats continue action today at Dartmouth before returning home this weekend to face division rival Central Connecticut State University in what Gibson says will be a dog fight.
“I think we have two of the top teams in conference and even though it’s an early series it will have huge playoff implications,” Gibson said. “We are looking to sweep them at home to make a statement and take control of the conference and keep that control all the way through the regular season and the playoffs.”