Bobcats advance to MAAC Semifinals with come-from-behind win over Canisius


Peyton McKenzie

No. 4 Quinnipiac baseball held on to a 7-6 come-from-behind victory over No. 3 Canisius on Friday.

Ethan Hurwitz, Sports Editor

Coming off the team’s first loss since May 6, the Quinnipiac baseball team found its postseason footing, clinching its spot in the MAAC Semifinals after a 7-6 win over No. 3 Canisius Friday afternoon.

Head coach John Delaney went with a lineup change, moving graduate student second baseman Kyle Maves into the lead-off spot. Maves started the game with a six-pitch walk from Canisius freshman starter Felix Morin and stole second easily — though he was stranded as the top half of the first came to a close. 

Morin had a masterful start to his conference postseason, going 6.2 innings with six strikeouts. After beginning the game well, the wheels slowly began to come off, but Morin was able to right the ship.

“Felix is filling up the zone (and) he’s giving us a chance,” Canisius head coach Matt Mazurek said on the ESPN+ broadcast. “Hopefully he can extend (into the game).”

In the bottom of the second, the Golden Griffins got the scoring started. With two outs, junior designated hitter Carlin Dick lined a double into left-center, bringing senior outfielder Mike DeStefano in from second base. Right after, junior catcher Ty Wevers singled to bring Dick home and double the lead. 

Canisius continued where it left off with sophomore third baseman Trent Rumley singling off of graduate student pitcher Tim Blaisdell in the third. However, the former Hartford Hawk induced two-straight outs to get out of the inning. 

Quinnipiac struck in the top half of the fourth. Senior designated hitter Sean Swenson (RBI double) and senior third baseman McGwire Tuffy (RBI single) both found the outfield grass to knot the game up at two apiece. 

The best offensive opportunity for the Bobcats came just one inning later. The bases were juiced following a single from junior outfielder Jared Zimbardo and two more batters reaching on a walk and a hit by pitch. Despite the golden chance, senior outfielder Braydon Seaburg struck out looking and the game stayed even heading into the Golden Griffins’ at-bats.

Graduate student first baseman Dylan Vincent immediately pounced on the Bobcats’ failed opportunity. Leading off the inning, Vincent smashed a triple to left-center, his first hit of the afternoon. Right after, a sacrifice fly from junior second baseman Max Grant allowed Vincent to touch home and retake the lead for Canisius.

“(Blaisdell’s) scattering some hits right now,” Delaney said on the ESPN+ broadcast on his starter’s effort. “(They’ve) taken advantage of a couple good swings.”

That lead was not held for long. With two outs, Maves recorded his first hit of the tournament, scoring junior shortstop Matt DeRosa from first base. Just two pitches later, senior outfielder Anthony Donofrio looped a single into center field, scoring Maves and grabbing Quinnipiac’s first lead of the game.

Blaisdell, who entered Friday with a 4-7 record, had a fantastic performance. As the innings progressed, the Bobcats’ starter seemed to get stronger, pitching deep into the sixth inning. 

Then the Golden Griffins pounced in the bottom of the sixth. With two outs, graduate student shortstop Kyle Kush singled to tie the game back up at four. Dick followed that up with a triple that scooted past a diving Donofrio in center field to take a 5-4 lead. 

Morin was yanked after his sixth strikeout of the afternoon and replaced by graduate student reliever Brett Kochanski. The Cheektowaga, New York, native promptly plunked Swenson and Tuffy back-to-back to extend the inning. After a mound visit with Mazurek, Kochanski walked DeRosa on four pitches — which evened the score at five — and got the hook. 

Quinnipiac regained the lead after a Maves bases-loaded walk, and then increased it to two following an error by Kush at shortstop. 

Canisius grabbed a run back after a rocket triple off the bat of sophomore outfielder Jackson Strong, but that’s all the reigning conference champions could muster off of the Bobcats’ bullpen. Three solid innings from freshman Matt Alduino and junior Andrew Cubberly sealed Quinnipiac’s 30th victory, which ties the program record.

“(Alduino) didn’t have his best stuff, but he battled for us, got us three outs,” Delaney said. “Cubby did a great job those last two innings of competing for us.”

The Bobcats will now get ready for a 7 p.m. first pitch against No. 1 Fairfield with a spot to play for the MAAC title on the line. Friday