Yeargin’s Yard: Lack of pitching depth proves costly

Baseball’s subpar rotation struggling to match offensive production

Benjamin Yeargin, Staff Writer

 The Quinnipiac baseball team (6-16, 1-2 MAAC) opened its 2022 conference slate by losing two out of its three games against the Canisius Golden Griffins (11-13, 3-3 MAAC). 

If Quinnipiac wants to consistently win, it needs to start junior left-handed pitcher Brandyn Garcia every day. Pure exaggeration, obviously, but there’s a morsel of truth in that. In Garcia’s seven starts on the year, the Bobcats have won four, which account for 66% of their total wins on the year. 

In the first game, Garcia took the mound against Canisius sophomore right-handed pitcher Matt Duffy. Both pitchers showed off a similar arsenal: a fastball sitting around 90-92 mph complemented by a wipeout slider. Garcia has slightly more velocity on his breaking ball, sitting around 80 mph whereas Duffy consistently clocks in around the mid 70s. Both pitchers epitomize the phrase “keep it simple, stupid,” simplifying their approach and ultimately dominating their starts. 

Garcia made an early blunder, catching too much of the plate with a fastball. Golden Griffins sophomore infielder Max Grant hit it over the fence, giving Canisius a one-run lead. Save for that mistake, Garcia and Duffy filled the strikeout column through four innings. Garcia tallied seven, while Duffy had nine. 

The Granby, Connecticut, native finished the day with six innings pitched, three hits allowed, two runs, one earned, five walks and nine strikeouts. 

Garcia’s lapse of command continues to determine the outcome of his starts this season, which has plagued him throughout his Bobcat career. Five walks in just over half a game is not a number to be proud of. Last year, he pitched 33.1 innings and yielded 16 walks, ninth most in the MAAC. Rider junior Frank Doelling, the conference leader in walks last year, pitched 57.1 innings and walked 29 batters. 

Besides Garcia’s stellar outing, Canisius’ dismal defense was the second-biggest reason Quinnipiac came away with a win. Duffy allowed one earned run on the day, but while he was on the mound, the Golden Griffins gave up five runs. 

Canisius committed two more errors. A passed ball went right through graduate student catcher Mike Mazzara’s legs, letting the Bobcats score another run. Another Mazzara error, a pick-off throw to third that soared into left field, allowed Quinnipiac senior infielder Kyle Maves to trot home. The Bobcats also scored two runs in the fifth and sixth, giving them a 5-2 advantage. 

Quinnipiac senior left-handed pitcher Anthony Ambrosino entered the game in the seventh inning and was magnificent, pitching three scoreless innings while allowing one hit and zero runs. Ambrosino peppered his mid-80s mph fastball throughout the zone and used his curveball and changeup to keep the Golden Griffins hitters on their toes. He pitched the final three innings and recorded the save, leading the Bobcats to take game one. 

Now let’s look at what happens when Garcia is not on the mound and Quinnipiac has to rely on its bullpen, like it had in games two and three. Hint, hint: it lost both games. 

In game two, which occurred 30 minutes after the Bobcats’ game one win, Quinnipiac junior pitcher Kevin Seitter took the rubber. Seitter threw 97 pitches in four innings for the Bobcats, allowing eight hits, five earned runs and three walks while striking out four. 

The Bobcats had to go to their bullpen early, first calling on graduate student pitcher Carter Poiry, who did not record an out on the mound. The walk bug bit him, as he only allowed two hits, but four earned runs. He had two walks, one with the bases loaded and a crucial passed ball, which allowed another run to score. 

Sophomore pitchers Chris Mazza and Andrew Cubberly were the next two out of the bullpen, both being responsible for a combined six runs, three earned. 

The Quinnipiac offense was not stagnant or dead, which you would usually expect from a team that has struggled like the Bobcats. However, they did too little too late. 

Connor Lawless

Quinnipiac batters tallied 11 hits in the second game, with senior first baseman Michael Kohn, and senior outfielders Gianni Arici and Keegan O’Connor all having multi-hit days. Senior infielder Sam LaChance pinch-hit and went deep for his second home run of the year . 

The Bobcats exploded for a massive ninth inning, loading the bases. LaChance and junior outfielder Braydon Seaburg walked in a run and Kohn drove in two runs. That was all Quinnipiac had in the ninth inning, ultimately losing 15-9. 

After the game, spectators heard head coach John Delaney voice his frustration toward the whole team in his post-game huddle. Expletive after expletive was fired onto the already exhausted Bobcats. 

Game three was bright and early Sunday morning, with first-pitch at 9 a.m. Bobcats sophomore left-handed pitcher Tate Copeland got tattooed early, allowing a two-run home run in the top of the first inning, to graduate student outfielder Mike Steffan. The next inning, Copeland allowed a two-run shot to graduate student first baseman/outfielder Vinny Chiarenza. Copeland’s day was over after that and senior pitcher Gabriel Romano came in for long relief. 

Romano was phenomenal, going 6.1 innings, five hits, one earned run and striking out five. Romano’s pitching was the principal reason Quinnipiac was still in this game. The Bobcats had a massive fifth inning, courtesy of Maves. The senior was involved in all three runs scored in the inning, driving in the first, forcing an error for the second run and scoring the third himself. Quinnipiac scored its final run courtesy of a double play from junior outfielder Anthony Donofrio. 

The hosts didn’t put up a fight in the bottom of the ninth, ending the game and securing a loss in the rubber match. 

The Bobcats’ offense is not bad, but the pitching is not deep enough to keep the team in games. When anyone besides Garcia or junior pitcher Jimmy Hagan (2.70 ERA in 13.1 innings) is on the mound, the team performs worse. It struggles to hold on runners, it allows too many walks and it puts too many pitches over the plate. 

Of course, you’ll get great outings from guys like Romano or Ambrosino, but ultimately Quinnipiac needs to have its pitchers go longer so it doesn’t have to rely entirely on the bullpen. 

The Bobcats will continue their season on April 6, at Boston College at 4 p.m.