HAMDEN, Conn. Senior pitcher Andy Mayer (Trumbull, Conn.) tied the Quinnipiac wins record with his 21st career victory as the Bobcats split a pair of Northeast Conference contests against Monmouth, Friday afternoon at the Quinnipiac Baseball Field. After a 20-11 loss in Game 1, Mayer shut out the Hawks, 3-0, scattering five hits and a walk while striking out 11 in the complete-game effort. With the split, the Bobcats move to 15-30 (8-14 NEC), while the Hawks are now 25-10, 12-8 NEC). Already the Quinnipiac Division I wins leader, Mayer joined Tom Signore '85 atop the Bobcats' all-time wins list.
Chris Migani (Orange, Conn.), Mickey Amanti (Waterford, Conn.), Gabe Guerino (Milford, Conn.) and Brian Monack (Branford, Conn.) each had three hits on the day to lead the Bobcats. Guerino and Monack each homered, while Ben Farina (Waterford, Conn.) scored a team-high three runs.
Guerino's line-drive solo homerun to center in the second inning of Game 2 gave Mayer the only cushion he'd need. Mayer twice worked out of jams in which a runner reached third with less than two outs. A walk, an error and a stolen base allowed Brett Holland to reach third in the first inning, before Mayer struck out Nick Pulsonetti and induced a Chris Collazo flyout to avoid damage.
The Hawks also threatened in the sixth, as Ryan Terry and Collazo each singled to put runners on first and third with one out. But Mayer again worked out of trouble, getting a popout and a groundout.
The Bobcats gave Mayer some insurance prior to the final inning, striking for two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Migani led the inning off with a single to right center, before moving to second on Bryn Doyle's (Manchester, N.H.) sacrifice bunt. Migani advanced to third when Monack singled through the left side, and came around to score on Mike Marmo's (Roslyn, N.Y.) single through the right side. Guerino then grounded out to second, bringing Monack home, to give Mayer a three-run lead heading into the seventh.
Mayer set the Hawks down in order to end the game, getting a groundout, a strikeout and a flyout. The win pushed Mayer's season record to 4-3. Monmouth starter Brett Brach was also sharp, but took just his second loss of the season to fall to 6-2. Brach struck out nine in the complete game, allowing three earned runs on six hits. He didn't walk a batter.
Monmouth got out in front, 6-0, before Quinnipiac answered with three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning of Game 1. In the first, Brett Holland reached on a fielding error, advancing to second base on the play. After Quinnipiac starting pitcher Chris Gloor (Bay Shore, N.Y.) retired the next two batters, Chris Collazo singled up the middle of the infield to score Holland and give the Hawks an early 1-0 lead.
In the second inning, Jamie Rosenkranz and David Jacob led off the inning with back-to-back hits. After Gloor walked Bobby Dombrowski to load the bases, Josh Boyd singled to score Rosenkranz and Jacob to give Monmouth a 3-0 lead.
In the four, it was Jacob and Dombrowski who led off with singles before Boyd dropped down a bunt and beat the throw for a single to load the bases. Holland then hit a sacrifice fly center field to score Jacob. Nick Pulsonetti hit another sacrifice fly to score Dombroski and give Monmouth a 5-0 lead. After Ryan Terry walked, he got caught in a rundown on a pick-off attempt, allowing Boyd to sneak home and give the Hawks a 6-0 lead heading into the bottom of the inning.
In the Bobcats' half of the inning, Guerino, Joe Poletsky (Riverside, Conn.) and Farina strung together consecutive, two-out singles to load the bases. Amanti hit a bouncing ball up the middle for a single, scoring Guerino with the Bobcats' first run of the game. Ryan Ullrich (Orange, Conn.) followed with a single up the middle, scoring Poletsky and Farina to cut Monmouth's lead in half, 6-3.
Quinnipiac entered the game hitting .294 (138-469) with two outs. The three runs scored gave them 100 runs batted in with two down in an inning.
Doyle walked to start the bottom of the fifth before Monack's fly ball down the line was tracked down by Monmouth's left fielder. Marmo crushed a towering shot to right-center field that bounced off the base of the wall for a double as Doyle moved to third. He scored on a ground ball to second base by Guerino to move Quinnipiac within two runs, 6-4.
In the sixth, Monmouth exploded for six runs, knocking Gloor from the game. It would take three pitchers in the inning, including Gloor, to get out of the inning. Jacob hit a ground ball through the left side of the infield before Gloor got Dombrowski to pop up to right field. After Boyd walked to put runners on first and second, both runners moved up on a steal. Holland's single to center field scored Jacob from third and put runners on the corners, ending Gloor's day. Gloor allowed nine runs eight earned on nine hits over 5 1/3 innings pitched. Anthony Cinelli (Wall, N.J.) relieved Gloor. After Holland stole second base, Cinelli walked Terry to load the bases. Pulsonetti's ground ball to center scored two more runs to push Monmouth's lead to 9-4. After an errant throw to second on a double-steal attempt, Terry came around to score, sending Pulsonetti to third base. He scored on a line drive to center field by Collazo to give Monmouth an 11-4 lead.
Cinelli was knocked from the game before he could retire a batter. He was lifted in favor of Todd DeFrancesco (North Haven, Conn.). Monmouth tacked on another run to take a 12-4 lead heading to the bottom of the sixth inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, Quinnipiac responded with five runs, four coming on a grand slam by Monack, to move within three runs of Monmouth, 12-9. Farina walked to lead off the inning and moved to second on a ground out by Amanti to first base. Ullrich then walked before Migani hit a line drive to center to load the bases. Doyle singled to center field to score Farina, bringing Monack to the dish. Monack turned on the first pitch he saw, driving the ball over the right field wall to help Quinnipiac move within three runs of Monmouth. Monack's homer was his team-leading seventh of the season. It ended the day for Monmouth starter Kyle Breese, who allowed nine runs on 11 hits over 5 1/3. Tim Ballard came on in relief.
Ballard held Quinnipiac scoreless through the eighth inning while Monmouth tacked on nine more runs to take a 20-9 lead. Quinnipiac responded with two more runs in the bottom of the ninth.
The Bobcats and Hawks conclude the four-game series with a doubleheader Saturday in Hamden. Game 3, which is slated for seven innings, will begin at noon. The series finale is set to go nine innings shortly following Game 3. Prior to the doubleheader, the Bobcats will honor their seven-member senior class with Senior Day ceremonies.