Bobcats fall to Rider in MAAC opener


Daniel Passapera

Quinnipiac baseball is 6-12 through 18 games this season.

John Bertoncini, Contributing Writer

The Quinnipiac baseball team narrowly avoided a shutout in an 11-3 beatdown at the hands of the Rider Broncs Friday afternoon, the first MAAC matchup of the season for both teams.

It was rocky from the start for Quinnipiac, with two Broncs runs coming in the top of the first, the first off an outfield error and the second off a wild pitch.

Trying to get things going in the second inning, Bobcats’ graduate student infielder Kyle Maves,  tried to steal second but Broncs junior catcher Brian Skettini popped up to throw Maves out with time to spare.

After a slow start, the Bobcats were able to bring themselves within striking distance in the bottom of the fifth inning. Down 3-0, Quinnipiac found itself with a full count, two outs with the bases loaded.

Rider senior pitcher Dylan Heine then picked off the Quinnipiac runner at third to end the inning, stifling the Bobcats’ hopes of getting on the board.

While the Bobcats struggled to find their rhythm on offense, they struggled just as hard to find their rhythm on defense. Right-handed starting pitcher Jimmy Hagan pitched five innings, giving up five runs on 10 hits before coming out of the game. The Bobcats went through a total of five different pitchers on the afternoon, allowing 16 hits and striking out seven.

After a squandered opportunity in the fifth and an uneventful sixth inning on offense, Rider senior catcher/first baseman Socrates Bardatsos smashed a two-run missile out of the park on the first pitch of his at-bat to make it 5-0.

With two consecutive ground balls rolling between the shortstop and second baseman, right-handed pitcher Aaron Zenus entered the game. After his first pitch nearly collided with a Rider batter’s face, the onslaught continued, with the Broncs tallying four more runs after the pitching change to make it 9-0.

No amount of pitching changes could save the Bobcats from Rider’s offense. Quinnipiac went through three more pitchers after Zenus, only to enter the ninth inning down 11 runs.

While its pitching was certainly not a bright spot for Quinnipiac, its offense went scoreless for eight consecutive innings, with the only Bobcat runs coming in the ninth to make the final score a slightly less egregious 11-3 Rider victory.

The Bobcats will continue their series against the Broncs on Sunday afternoon with a doubleheader in Lawrenceville.