Yeargin’s Yard: How Quinnipiac baseball can evolve in 2023


Daniel Passapera

Senior right-handed pitcher Kevin Seitter pitched a 1.80 ERA with the Newport Gulls in the New England Collegiate Baseball League last summer.

Benjamin Yeargin, Associate Sports Editor

The theory of evolution, also known as natural selection, is how an organism adapts to its circumstances. The Quinnipiac baseball team must go through its own evolution this spring, coming out of another losing season and losing key players to graduation and the transfer portal.

Additions and Subtractions

Starting with their two biggest losses to the transfer portal, senior left-handed pitcher Brandyn Garcia transferred to Texas A&M, a College World Series contender, and senior catcher/outfielder Danny Melnick transferred to Rutgers.

Garcia was Quinnipiac’s No. 1 starter while Melnick capped off last year with All-MAAC First Team honors and NEIBA All-New England First Team honors.

Quinnipiac also lost first baseman Michael Kohn to George Washington, outfielder Andrew McDermott to Queens University of Charlotte, first baseman Ryan Grace to Lesley, and right-handed pitchers Chris Mazza to LIU and Gabriel Romano to John Hopkins.

“It doesn’t matter,” head coach John Delaney said. “If kids don’t want to be here, they don’t want to be here. Some of the kids chose to go, some were told to go.”

To top it off, two veteran staples in infielder Ian Ostberg and left-handed pitcher Anthony Ambrosino graduated.

Another subtraction that greatly impacts the program isn’t someone who plays between the foul lines, it is the former assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Pat Egan, who has taken over as the next head coach of Sacred Heart.

“You have one of your best friends, a guy you coached with for eight years, you want him to move forward,” Delaney said.

It’s worth noting that the Bobcats bought in their own transfers. Senior right-handed pitcher Sam Favieri and graduate students Frank Craska and Tim Blaisdell transferred from UConn, Lafayette and Hartford, respectively. Sophomore infielder Nick Montagna joined from Pace (NCAA Division II), where he earned the NE10 Southwest Division Rookie Hitter of the Year award. And senior infielder/ outfielder Matt Tesoriero transferred from Catholic University (NCAA Division III).

The million-dollar question is this: who does that leave and how will the Bobcats evolve?


On the sticks, the four leaders of the offense will be junior outfielder Jared Zimbardo, senior outfielder/right-handed pitcher Anthony Donofrio, graduate student infielder Kyle Maves and junior catcher Keegan O’Connor.

Donofrio, Zimbardo and O’Connor finished the year second, third and fourth on the team in batting average, respectively, and all tallied at least 15 extra-base hits. These three could potentially make up the meat of the Bobcats order, hitting two-three-four.

Maves’ return to the team adds obvious speed as he led the team with 23 stolen bases last year, a consistent bat and someone who sets the tone for Quinnipiac.

“As much as you might see guys in the portal, we returned the biggest pieces on the entire team,” Delaney said. “You got Maves back, you got Donofrio back, you got Zimbardo back … tell me a lineup that’s going to be better with those three at the top.”

Another player that will obtain a significant role this season is junior infielder Matt DeRosa. The North Haven native was named an All-Star in the Future Collegiate Baseball Summer League where he hit .339/.391/.424 with 42 hits and six extra-base hits in 37 games. DeRosa has played shortstop, second and third base, and he could start at any of those positions come opening day.

Two more names to watch out for are senior right-handed pitcher/first baseman Sean Swenson and junior first baseman/outfielder Sebastian Mueller. Both had forgettable years last year but with Kohn gone, both will receive more playing time at first or at designated hitter.

Pitching and Schedule

In the rotation, the only lock to start is senior right-handed pitcher Kevin Seitter.

Seitter pitched superbly in the NECBL Sum- mer League with the Newport Gulls. He finished the year with a 1.80 ERA in eight games (six starts), allowing a combined seven earned runs and keeping opponents to a lackluster .168 batting average. Though this is a small sample size, if Seitter can pitch close to this level for the Bobcats, they’ll have a great shot to win every third or fourth game.

With junior left-handed pitcher Tate Copeland missing the season with Tommy John surgery, the other two spots are up for grabs.

Expect Blaisdell to get some nods, he was Hartford’s No. 1 starter and brings a plethora of experience with three pitches he can locate in the strike zone. Other names to be aware of for weekend starting or long-relief are sophomore Mason Ulsh and senior Jimmy Hagan, who were both injured all or most of last year, Craska and Favieri.

Quinnipiac’s biggest flaw last season was pitching depth, but this season the depth is there. With the names above along with more in store, the Bobcats have guys that can eat innings and have more options than last season. 

It’s worth noting the NCAA added a 20-second pitch clock, which hopes to speed up the pace of the game and will force adaptation on every player on the field.

“It’s going to be tough to be honest,” Maves said. “I’m a guy that likes to take my time between pitches … if you missed a sign (Delaney) would give it again, but now you can’t do that.”

The schedule is more or less the same as years past, a long stretch of out-of-conference games that showcases power five school Iowa, which then evolves into more local teams and conference play. Quinnipiac’s first home game is Saturday, March 18, against St. John’s at 12 p.m.

Final Thoughts

The Bobcats are hungry this year. The team wants to win and change people’s expectations.

“I think (people) should expect a team that’s going to want to win games … they’re going to see a tough nine innings of baseball,” Zimbardo said.

Quinnipiac will look to turn heads when it starts the season on Saturday, Feb. 18, against Iowa and Indiana State at the Snowbird Classic in Port Charlotte, Florida.