HAMDEN, Conn. The Quinnipiac University baseball team lost both games of a Northeast Conference doubleheader to Sacred Heart University, 8-6 and 7-6, at the Quinnipiac Baseball Field in Hamden, Conn. With the losses, Quinnipiac drops to 7-12 in the NEC and 14-28 overall while Sacred Heart improves to 11-7 in conference play and 21-22-1 overall.
Freshman Chris Migani (Orange, Conn.) was 4-for-7 with a homerun and three runs scored while Ben Farina (Waterford, Conn.) collected his 100th career hit in the first game. Bryn Doyle (Manchester, N.H.) was 3-for-6 with three runs scored as he extended his hitting streak to 15 games, the longest of the year for the Bobcats. Freshman Gabe Guerino (Milford, Conn.) had a hit in each game to extend his hitting streak to 14 games.
In the first game, Quinnipiac starter Andy Mayer (Trumbull, Conn.) was dealing early, striking out the first two batters he faced before walking the NEC's leading hitter, Jeff Hanson. Mayer was able to pitch out of the inning without giving up a run. In the bottom half of the first, Chris Migani (Orange, Conn.) and Bryn Doyle (Manchester, N.H.) led off the inning with back-to-back hits. After Brian Monack (Branford, Conn.) flew out to the center field wall, Migani tagged but was called out after it was decided he left second base early for the second out of the inning. Michael Marmo (Brookville, Conn.) followed with a towering homerun, his fifth of the year, to right center field to give Quinnipiac a 2-0 lead.
Doyle's hit extends his hitting streak to 14 games, the longest this year in the Bobcats' lineup. Marmo's homerun continues the Bobcats' recent trend of two-out RBI's, giving the Bobcats 92 through Saturday's game.
In the bottom of the 2nd, Ben Farina (Waterford, Conn.) hit a slow roller to shortstop and beat out the throw to first for a single. The hit was Farina's 100th of his career, coming in his 92nd career game. Farina becomes the 52nd player in Quinnipiac history and the 21st player to reach the century-hit mark since Quinnipiac joined the Division I ranks.
Sacred Heart got on the board in the top of the 3rd inning when Steve Tedesco singled with one out before moving to third on a double down the right field line by Mike Drowne. Phil Tantillo then hit a towering fly ball to deep right center to score Tedesco as Sacred Heart closed the gap, 2-1.
In the bottom of the 3rd, Migani and Doyle recorded back-to-back hits for the second time in the game. Migani ripped a single through the left side of the infield, before Doyle hit a ball to the right center gap, moving Migani to third. Monack walked to load the bases before Marmo popped out to second base, bring Guerino to the plate. Guerino hit a ground ball through the left side of the infield, scoring Migani and Doyle. Doyle beat a throw to the plate from left field with a slide to evade the tag and give Quinnipiac a 4-1 lead as the Bobcats scored two more runs with two outs in an inning.
In the top of the 4th, Paul Schmidt turned on the first pitch he saw of his at-bat and crushed the ball over the center field wall to trim Quinnipiac's lead to 4-2. Mike Drowne then homered with one out in the 5th inning on the first that he saw to move the Pioneers within a run of the Bobcats at 4-3.
In the bottom of the 5th, Migani hit a line-drive homerun to left field to bring Quinnipiac's lead back to two runs at 5-3. The homerun was Migani's fourth of the season while it also marked his second consecutive game with a homerun. Doyle reached on a throwing error by the third baseman before Monack was called out on strikes. With one out in the inning, Marmo hit a line drive down the left field line, moving Doyle to third as the senior catcher cruised into second base with a double. After Guerino ground out for the second out the inning, Joe Poletsky (Riverside, Conn.) hit a high bouncing ball to short. Poletsky made a turn as if to run to second, but Sacred Heart's Tantillo leaped to stop the ball and threw out Poletsky to end the inning and save a run.
In the 6th, Tyler Santos reached on a throwing error by Quinnipiac's shortstop, advancing to second on the play. He scored on a ball hit to the center field fence for a double by Schmidt as Sacred Heart cut Quinnipiac's lead to a run, 5-4. Schmidt scored on a ground ball up the middle by Robert Griffith to tie the game at 5-5.
It ended the day for Mayer in favor of junior Todd DeFrancesco (North Haven, Conn.). Mayer allowed five runs, four earned, on seven hits over 5 1/3 while striking out five. Sacred Heart took a 6-5 lead on a single to right center field by Tedesco to score Griffith from third. Hunter Phillips, who reached with a single, scored from third on a wild pitch by DeFrancesco to give Sacred Heart a 7-5 lead.
In the bottom half of the inning, Farina led off with a homerun on the first pitch of the inning. Farina's homer cleared the right field fence to bring Quinnipiac to within a run at 7-6. The homer knocked Sacred Heart starter Jared Balbach from the game as Chris Zaccherio came on in relief. Balbach allowed six runs on 10 hits over five innings pitched.
In the top of the 7th, DeFrancesco retired Hanson on a ground ball to short before giving up three straight ground ball singles to Santos, Heppner and Schmidt. Schmidt's ground ball to right scored Santos from second, but Ullrich's throw to third retired Heppner for the second out of the inning. The run knocked DeFrancesco out of the game in favor of Anthony Cinelli (Wall, N.J.). DeFrancesco gave up two runs on five hits over 1 1/3.
In the second game, Quinnipiac erupted for six runs on seven hits in the bottom of the 3rd inning, chasing Sacred Heart starter Matt Fitton after just 2 1/3 innings pitched. After Amanti reached on an error, Quinnipiac strung together four straight hits by Ullrich, Migani, Doyle and Monack. After a Marmo fly out to center, Guerino singled, knocking Fitton from the game as Quinnipiac took a 4-0 lead. After Poletksky grounded out, Farina's line drive to left-center field scored Monack and Guerino to give Quinnipiac a 6-0 lead.
In the top of the 4th, Quinnipiac starting pitcher Mike Oskandy (Bethel, Conn.) retired the first two batters he faced in the inning before giving up a double to Hanson. After he walked Tyler Santos to put runners on first and second, Jeff Heppner hit a deep fly ball to right-center field that cleared the fence to cut the Quinnipiac lead in half, 6-3.
In the top of the 6th, Oskandy got Hanson to ground out to short for the first out of the inning before giving up back-to-back singles to Santos and Heppner, putting runners on the corners for Schmidt. Schmidt followed with a towering drive to center field that cleared the wall to tie the game at 6-6. It was Schmidt who tied the first game of the doubleheader at 5-5 in the 6th inning.
In the top of the 7th, Oskandy walked Sacred Heart's Steve Tedesco to lead off the inning. Oskandy was lifted in favor of Joe Duffy (Commack, N.Y.). Oskandy was hit for six runs on eight hits over six innings pitched while striking out two and walking two.
Duffy got Drowne to ground out before Tantillo flew out to left for the second out. With Tedesco on second base, Hanson hit a line drive to left field to score Tedesco with the go-ahead run as the Pioneers took a 7-6 lead into the bottom of the last inning.
Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart close out their four-game Northeast Conference series on Sunday, May 3 at 12 p.m. at the Quinnipiac Baseball Field in Hamden, Conn.