The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Seventh inning rally propels Quinnipiac to 12-7 win over NJIT

Tyler Rinko
Quinnipiac celebrates after junior shortstop Dominick Proctor’s solo home run in a game against NJIT.

HAMDEN — A coach isn’t the only voice on a team. Players can step up too. That’s what sophomore right fielder Gabe Wright did Friday when his team was down. It was the motivation Quinnipiac needed to produce eight runs in two innings en route to a 12-7 pummeling of NJIT. 

“I was honestly nervous,” Wright said. “I’m not really a ‘rah rah’ guy, I don’t really say much during the game. I try to keep my emotions to a minimum but I felt like at that time, we needed something to change.”

Quinnipiac wasn’t playing great baseball against NJIT, at least through the first four innings. It made a slew of defensive errors — which cost six earned runs — and stranded runners in scoring position with weak at-bats.

“There was a little bit of leadership that popped up in the dugout,” head coach John Delaney said. “Instead of my voice, there was a team voice and they bought into it then rallied some things together and continued to have confidence in themselves.” 

Junior shortstop Dominick Proctor put the Bobcats on the board with his first solo home run of the year in the fourth. Next inning, he roped an RBI double. 

“It’s all about picking the next guy up,” Proctor said. “At the beginning, we made a few errors, but the pitchers helped us out and our bats helped us out.”

Quinnipiac was still facing a four-run deficit, but it didn’t feel that way. Not from its bench and certainly not from the nine players on the field. The Bobcats oozed confidence until the very last pitch.

“The defining moment was when Wright stepped up in the dugout and showed leadership qualities and started getting on guys a little bit, getting the guys to buy into it,” Delaney said. “That change had nothing to do with our defense, it had nothing to do with our mindset. It was the leadership.”

Wright, who has quickly become a mentor for the Bobcats, played right into his role with a two-out RBI double to bring junior first baseman CJ Willis home. 

But it was still 6-3, and the Bobcats had nine outs to change that score. 

They didn’t need more than an inning.

“If there’s confidence within the group then that buy in just takes over,” Delaney said. “Today, the energy was the same the entire game, when we were down or up there was no difference which shows the confidence they have in themselves to win games.”

It started with freshman third baseman Spencer Chard, who reached first on four straight balls. Senior left fielder Jared Zimbardo ripped a single to left field and Chard advanced to second.

Then Keegan O’Connor stepped into the box. The senior center fielder was due after striking out twice earlier in the contest. 

With two outs, O’Connor ripped a two-run triple down the right field line, cutting the Highlanders’ lead to one.

Immediately, sophomore catcher Christian Smith caught the hitting bug and drove in O’Connor.

Tie game.

But why stop now?

The rally ran through Willis, who slugged an RBI triple and put Quinnipiac up 7-6. NJIT was wounded, and the bleeding didn’t stop.

Wright’s hot streak continued, singling Willis home to close out a five-run seventh. 

Clearly, the Bobcats weren’t close to done with the offensive outbreak. Zimbardo smacked a two-run double and Smith ripped a two-run single in the bottom of the eighth to break the game open. Wright finished off a stellar day at the plate with an RBI single, bringing Quinnipiac’s lead to six.

“I think we just, you know, see the ball hit the ball,” Proctor said. “We got the pitches we wanted, took advantage of it, once we get guys on base it’s kind of hard to stop us from scoring.”

Those last five runs were merely a cushion. Quinnipiac had the game in its hands immediately after Wright’s speech in the dugout.

“Today I feel like the way that we battled back we just showed that no matter what, if we just play our game, we’ll come out victorious,” Wright said.

The Bobcats have plenty of confidence to win games, it’s just a matter of execution. And tomorrow’s game two matchup in Newark, New Jersey, seems like the perfect test. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.

“It’s all go, go, go mode,” Proctor said. “Whether it’s getting the pitch you want and hitting, getting on base and scoring (or) making the plays on defense.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Amanda Dronzek
Amanda Dronzek, Sports Editor
Tyler Rinko
Tyler Rinko, Associate Photography Editor

Comments (0)

All The Quinnipiac Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *