Quinnipiac baseball falls 8-2 to Rider in game one of doubleheader


Daniel Passapera

Quinnipiac starts conference play 0-2 with the loss to Rider today.

Benjamin Yeargin, Associate Sports Editor

The Quinnipiac baseball team’s struggles continued as it lost to the Rider Broncs 8-2 Sunday afternoon.

Both teams were stagnant in the first three innings with graduate student pitchers Tim Blaisdell and Frank Doelling cruising for both sides. They pitched 32 and 39 pitches in the first three innings, respectively.

Blaisdell ran into trouble in the bottom of the third when Rider senior infielder John Volpe and senior outfielder Scott Shaw both got on with base hits. Senior catcher/first baseman Socrates Bardatsos got a pitch right down the middle from Blaisdell and ripped a double in the right-center gap, scoring both Volpe and Shaw.

A sacrifice fly and a base hit later left the Bobcats down 3-0 heading into the fourth.

Junior first baseman Sebastian Mueller responded instantly to the three Rider runs in the top of the fourth, cranking his first home run of the season over the center-field fence to make it 3-1 Broncs.

The top of the Rider lineup continued to bite Blaisdell, going 6-10 against the Wethersfield, Connecticut, native. They managed to get on base with walks and base hits and bring home another run in the bottom of the fourth with a sacrifice fly from junior catcher Brian Skettini.

After four innings of work, Blaisdell exited the game with a final stat line of four innings pitched, four runs allowed, eight hits and 67 pitches. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Mason Ulsh came on in relief.

Ulsh had a quiet bottom of the fifth, highlighted by a pickoff of senior outfielder Brendan O’Donnell.

Besides the Mueller home run, Doelling was pure filth, striking out five Bobcat batters throughout the day.

That changed in the sixth inning.

A walk to senior outfielder Anthony Donofrio and a double from Mueller put runners on second and third with one out for graduate student infielder Kyle Maves. He grounded out to Doelling on the second pitch of the at-bat. Doelling left the game after Maves’ at-bat and graduate student pitcher Danny Kerwin came on in relief.

Kerwin forced redshirt junior first baseman Sean Swenson to fly out five feet short of the right-field fence for the third out of the top of the sixth.

After a quick bottom of the sixth and top of the seventh, Rider got some offense going in the bottom of the seventh.

A ground ball that tipped off of Swenson’s glove allowed the Broncs to get Bardatsos and Skettini on the corners. A walk to senior first/third baseman Luke Lesch loaded the bases for O’Donnell. O’Donnell reached on an infield single and an Ulsh balk put Rider back up 6-1. A single from senior infielder Jack Winsett drove in two with the Broncs extending their lead to seven.

To get the second out in the bottom of the seventh, Swenson made a phenomenal play by running over to the Rider dugout and extending his body into it to make the catch.

Quinnipiac managed to load the bases in the top of the eighth, but a double play off the bat of Mueller killed the momentum. He was aggressive on the first pitch and it didn’t pay off. A ground ball from Maves left the Bobcats with no runs when it started with the bases loaded and no outs.

A solid relief outing from junior right-hander Andrew Cubberly which featured a diving catch from Donofrio left the Bobcats going into the top of the ninth down 8-1.

Quick outs from freshman outfielder John Heitzman and senior outfielder Braydon Seaburg left Quinnipiac down to its last out. The Bobcats’ final hoorah included a deep home run off the bat of junior catcher/outfielder Keegan O’Connor, a Smith hit by pitch and a base hit from senior infielder McGwire Tuffy.

A called strike three to junior outfielder Jared Zimbardo ended the Quinnipiac rally, and Rider took game one of the series 8-2.

The second game of the doubleheader begins at 3 p.m. in Lawrenceville.