Yeargin’s Yard: Quinnipiac baseball MAAC Tournament preview


Cameron Levasseur

Keegan O’Connor (above) was one of three Bobcats named to the All-MAAC First Team.

Benjamin Yeargin, Managing Editor

The last time the Quinnipiac baseball team was in the MAAC Tournament was 2019. The then-No. 2-seeded Bobcats earned the conference championship via a 6-5 extra-innings win against the Fairfield Stags.

Fast forward four years later, Quinnipiac is back in the tournament with a blazing offense and solid pitching, hoping to make a run at the conference title and claw its way back into the NCAA Tournament.

But what caused the Bobcats to have their most successful season in four years?


The most important ingredient in Quinnipiac’s recipe for success this season has undoubtedly been the offense. The Bobcats’ offense finished second-best in the MAAC, with its .308 team average and 73 home runs good enough for second and third in the conference, respectively. The 73 dingers also set a program record.

As of late, the sticks have done nothing but raked. Since May 1, the Bobcats have gone 11-1 and outscored their opponents 147-61.

During that time frame, junior catcher Keegan O’Connor earned a MAAC Player of the Week nod for his weekend against the Hartford Hawks. The Andover, Massachusetts, native went 12-19 with four home runs and 10 RBIs.

O’Connor along with senior outfielder Anthony Donofrio were also named to the All-MAAC First Team this past season.

Throughout the season, graduate student infielder Kyle Maves — All-MAAC Second Teamer —, Donofrio, redshirt junior designated hitter Sean Swenson, O’Connor and junior first baseman Sebastian Mueller all have clobbered the baseball.

Each of those five players have hit over .310 with an OPS above .890 this season, elite numbers that rival the lineups of No. 1 and No. 3-seeded Fairfield and Canisius. To add on, Donofrio, Mueller, O’Connor and junior outfielder Jared Zimbardo all hit over 10 dingers this season.

Even players who haven’t necessarily been showstoppers have put up solid numbers. Senior outfielder Braydon Seaburg notched a slash line of .291/.413/.487 with 11 extra-base hits and senior infielder McGwire Tuffy is holding his own with a respectable .271 average and .771 OPS.

This offense is nothing like Quinnipiac baseball has ever seen before. It’s well-rounded, powerful, crafty and full of speed. It’s arguably the best offense in head coach John Delaney’s tenure, with the 2019 MAAC Championship team not putting up numbers close to this year.

If the Bobcats are going to make a championship run, the already potent offense must be firing on all cylinders.


Senior right-handed pitcher Kevin Seitter has been everything Quinnipiac hoped for. The Ridgewood, New Jersey, product holds a 3.78 ERA, good for second in the MAAC, and finished with a 1.96 ERA in conference play. He was also named to the All-MAAC First Team.

Seitter’s fastball and slider — his primary off-speed pitch — have worked well for him. He collected 70 strikeouts throughout the year, which finished sixth in the conference. The righty also earned MAAC Pitcher of the Week honors for his seven one-run innings against Siena on May 18.

Expect Seitter to get the nod against Niagara, the Bobcats’ first-round opponent, and be a force on the mound throughout the tournament.

Quinnipiac graduate student righty Tim Blaisdell will also be on the bump if the Bobcats advance in the tournament. His pitch-to-contact approach bodes well for a Quinnipiac defense that finished fourth in the conference with a .966 fielding percentage.

If Blaisdell pitches, what he needs to do is keep his off-speed low to generate more ground balls from the opposing offenses and let the infield do the work. In his most recent start against the Siena Saints, Blaisdell got seven of his 18 outs on ground balls, which must continue for him to see success in the tournament.

The bullpen has been solid all year, headlined by solid years from sophomore righty Ryan Hutchinson, and freshmen righty Mike Poncini and left-handed pitcher Matt Alduino.

Bobcats pitching is equally if not more important in their tournament success than the offense, and it all starts against the No. 5-seeded Niagara Purple Eagles.

Niagara Preview

Quinnipiac is slated to play Niagara in the first round of the MAAC Tournament. In their season series against the Purple Eagles, the Bobcats lost two out of three at Niagara Falls, New York.

In game one, Niagara pounced on Poncini for five runs in the second which Quinnipiac couldn’t rebound from. A Swenson grand slam and an offensive barrage gave the Bobcats the game two dub, and the Purple Eagles walked it off in game three.

Niagara’s fifth-ranked offense is spearheaded by graduate student infielder Max Giordano whose .375 average, 1.244 OPS and 16 home runs all lead the Purple Eagles. Freshman utilityman Nick Groves and junior infielder Kelly Corl also lead the offense with averages above .340 and over 10 extra-base hits.

Niagara’s one-two pitching punch of senior righty’s Zach Cameron and Marcus Cashman provides a well-rounded team that will prove tough to the Bobcats.

Final Thoughts

The crucial matchup of the series will be Quinnipiac’s offense versus Niagara’s pitching. If the Bobcats can win that duel, they’ll put themselves in a good position to win the game.

The winner of this contest will advance to play No. 2-seeded Rider on May 25 at 3 p.m., and the loser will play the loser of No. 6 Manhattan vs No. 3 Canisius on May 24 at 7 p.m.