Trey Dombroski dominates on the mound as Quinnipiac falls to Monmouth

Ryan Raggio, Staff Writer

The Quinnipiac baseball team (7-20, 1-6 MAAC) looked to continue its momentum after a walk-off victory against Hartford on Tuesday, but came up short, falling 7-4 to the red-hot Monmouth Hawks (17-14, 7-0 MAAC). The Bobcats were tasked with facing Hawks junior pitcher Trey Dombroski on the mound, who currently holds the lowest earned run average (ERA) in the MAAC at 2.48. 

Before anyone could settle in, Monmouth was on the scoreboard. After a single by Hawks sophomore second baseman Casey Caufield and a walk, junior designated hitter Alex Barker launched a three-run home run off Quinnipiac junior pitcher Brandyn Garcia to dead center, putting the Hawks up 3-0. 

With no outs in the inning and three runs on the board, Garcia was in an early hole, but he was able to simmer down and find his rhythm. Garcia got out of the inning by striking out three Monmouth batters and followed with a scoreless top of the second, where he struck out two. Quinnipiac head coach John Delaney kept Garcia in the game despite his shaky start. 

“He wanted to stay in,” Delaney said. “After that first inning he was obviously settled in and he started to pitch better. It kept them off balance.”

Heading into the bottom half of the second inning, Quinnipiac graduate student first baseman Ian Ostberg crushed a 3-1 fastball over the left-center field wall, bringing the Bobcats within two. Following the home run, Dombroski looked unphased and proceeded to strike out the side. 

The score remained 3-1 in favor of the Hawks until the bottom of the fourth inning when junior catcher Danny Melnick hit a home run just over the left field fence, bringing the Bobcats within one. Monmouth head coach Dean Ehehalt was angered by Quinnipiac’s celebration, however the home plate umpire dismissed his objections. Despite Ostberg reaching first on a dropped third strike, Dombroski remained as cool as a cucumber on the mound and struck out the side. 

Monmouth would go on the attack in the top of the fifth inning after junior left fielder James Harmstead hit a missile over the left-center field fence. Garcia, still in the game, got out of the inning without giving up another hit and would finish the day pitching 6.1 innings, letting up five earned runs, one walk and 11 strikeouts. All five runs the Hawks scored on Garcia came through the longball, something Garcia has struggled with this year. 

“Going in I knew I had to attack,” Garcia said. “One pitch was too much of the middle and then after that I had to reset and go on with my day and my start. You have to forget those moments in order to proceed.” 

By the time the sixth inning came, tension had built between the two teams. The Bobcats were threatening with runners on first and third after heads up baserunning by senior infielder Kyle Maves. Before the next pitch was thrown, the umpires checked Dombroski for a sticky substance. This got Dombroski and Monmouth fans fired up, leading to a yelling spectator getting ejected from behind the right field foul pole. 

Dombroski began taking off his hat, glove and belt, shouting “I need a new belt!” After the search, a passed ball allowed Maves to score from third, cutting Monmouth’s lead to two. The New Jersey native locked back in and held the Bobcats scoreless for the rest of the inning,forcing two flyouts. 

Following an error and a walk in the top of the eighth inning, Hawks fifth-year outfielder Jake Catalano laced one to center field just out of the reach of diving Quinnipiac sophomore outfielder Jared Zimbardo, allowing Catalano to reach second. In the bottom half of the inning, Quinnipiac was able to get back a run after Melnick ripped a ball to right-center, scoring Maves from second. Melnick had a day at the plate, going 3-4 with a home run and two runs batted in. 

A consistent struggle this year for the Bobcats has been their bullpen. However, today it saw improvement. In 2.2 innings pitched, they allowed only two hits, two unearned runs and picked up three strikeouts. The pitching duties were split between senior Gabriel Romano and sophomore Matt Deluca. 

Dombrowski was dominant on the hill. He finished the day with eight innings pitched, allowing six hits and three earned runs, walking one batter and striking out 13.

Maves went 1-3 with an opposite field double and a walk against Dombroski and continued his strong campaign, entering the day with a .302 average at the plate. 

“Obviously he has really good stuff,” Maves said. “He can command the ball really well, but I like to hit off of guys that are like that. I think for me it kind of gets me up a little more than your typical at-bat. I definitely enjoy the challenge and I think the guys did as well.”

Despite being down 7-4 heading into the bottom of the ninth, Quinnipiac was full of energy and were all up on the dugout fence. Hawks senior closer Stephen Aldrick shut the door on the Bobcats however, striking out a pair to secure the win. 

The Bobcats will stay at home to finish the weekend against the Hawks tomorrow at 1 p.m. and then again on Saturday at noon.