‘Win the inning:’ Quinnipiac baseball comes back, topples Marist 6-4


Daniel Passapera

Junior outfielder Jared Zimbardo’s two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth put the Bobcats up 5-4.

Benjamin Yeargin, Associate Sports Editor

HAMDEN, Conn – Backed by a dominant bullpen, three hits from junior catcher/outfielder Keegan O’Connor, and two home runs from O’Connor and junior outfielder Jared Zimbardo, the Quinnipiac baseball team topped Marist 6-4 Friday afternoon.

Senior right-handed pitcher Jimmy Hagan received the starting nod for Quinnipiac, junior right-handed pitcher Brian Yetter got it for the Red Foxes.

Unlucky hits and an error from senior outfielder Braydon Seaburg allowed Marist to go up 3-0 early.

“(They) got a flare single that just barely got over DeRo’s (sophomore infielder Matt DeRosa’s) glove and a looping fly ball that flies in for a single,” head coach John Delaney said. “He did his job, just a lot of bad luck in those scenarios.”

Hagan settled in and allowed just one run in the next four innings that followed. He started getting his changeup to work and ultimately finished his outing with five innings pitched, allowing eight hits and three earned runs with just one strikeout.

In the bottom of the second, redshirt junior first baseman/designated hitter Sean Swenson worked a walk and advanced to third on a wild pitch and groundout from Seaburg. Senior infielder McGwire Tuffy singled and drove in Swenson to make it 3-1 Red Foxes.

A double from Red Foxes graduate student outfielder Brian Hart put him and freshman infielder Bayram Hot on second and third in the top of the fifth. Graduate student catcher Niko Amory flew out and brought Hot home to put Marist up 4-1.

The Bobcats responded right away with O’Connor striking again. The hottest hitter in the lineup received an off-speed pitch and took it dead center for a two-run homer, his third in the last four games, to put Quinnipiac back in the game 4-3.

“We’ve been talking about not playing for a score but playing for an inning,” Delaney said. “Win the inning is the easiest way to put it.”

That wasn’t all for the Bobcats.

Following a one-two-three inning from graduate student right-handed pitcher Frank Craska, Zimbardo found a breaking ball in the zone in the bottom of the sixth which he obliterated. A no-doubt home run off of Zimbardo’s bat put the Bobcats up 5-4 and sent the Quinnipiac bench into a frenzy.

“They were spinning me a lot of off speed today … I stayed as simple as possible and caught one out front (or) as they say party out front,” Zimbardo said.

An O’Connor single in the bottom of the seventh and a Swenson double down the left-field line put Quinnipiac up 6-4.

Throughout the game, junior first baseman Sebastian Mueller was miraculous defensively, stretching out to the point of the splits twice at first to get the Marist baserunners out by a step.

Things got testy in the top of the eighth when freshman left-handed pitcher Matt Alduino was ejected while arguing a hit batsman/strikeout call. Alduino left the game after pitching 1.1 scoreless and hitless innings.

Dominant no-hit pitching out of the bullpen from Craska, sophomore right-hander Ryan Hutchinson, Alduino and freshman righty Mike Poncini kept the Red Foxes offense at bay and closed out the 6-4 win.

“If you can go out there and throw two to three pitches for strikes, you’re going to make it a hell of a lot easier for the defense to get outs,” Zimbardo said.

The Bobcats looked like a unit today, with Delaney even getting in on the team fun, jumping and getting the team hype postgame while they were in the huddle.

Quinnipiac looks to ride the positive energy into another battle against Marist tomorrow at 3 p.m.