BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - The Quinnipiac University baseball team lost to Sacred Heart, 8-3, in the first game of a four-game, Northeast Conference series at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Conn. The Pioneers were powered by a grandslam by Hunter Phillips and a brilliant pitching performance by Sacred Heart starter Chris Zaccherio.
Zaccherio scattered seven hits over the first four innings, holding Quinnipiac to three runs. He cruised the rest of the way, sitting down the next 17 batters he faced for the complete game win to improve to 2-2 on the year. Quinnipiac starter Mike Oskandy (Bethel, Conn.) took the loss after allowing eight runs on eight hits over five innings. Quinnipiac freshman Derek Lammachia (Whitestone, N.Y.) pitched four scoreless innings, giving up three hits, while striking out four.
Quinnipiac lead-off hitter Mike Bartlett (Milford, Conn.) led off the game with a hard groundball the opposite way to first base that he beat out for an infield single. After Ben Farina (Waterford, Conn.) struck out for the first out of the inning, Brian Monack's (Branford, Conn.) ground ball to third moved Bartlett into scoring position at second base. Joe Poletsky (Riverside, Conn.) then hit a line drive to right field to score Bartlett from second base to give Quinnipiac a 1-0 lead.
Sacred Heart's Mike Drowne started the bottom of the first inning off with a bunt single. He then swiped second and third base to push his team-leading stolen base total to 12 for the year. Drowne scored on a sacrifice fly ball to left field by John Murphy to plate the scoring run heading into the top of the second inning.
In the top of the third, Ryan Ullrich (Woodbridge, Conn.) was hit the first pitch of the inning from Sacred Heart starter Chris Zaccherio. Zaccherio got Bartlett to fly out to the right-center field gap before Quinnipiac strung together three straight hits. After Farina singled, Monack rifled an offering from Zaccherio towards first base. A sharp bounce over the glove of SHU first baseman JJ Edwards gave Monack a single, scoring Ullrich with the go-ahead run. Poletsky then sprayed his second hit of the game, driving home Farina to give Quinnipiac a two-run lead, 3-1.
Sacred Heart was quick to respond, once again, as Drowne doubled with one out. He scored on a hit-and-run as Steve Tedesco lined a single through the left side of the infield to pull the Pioneers within a run of the Bobcats, 3-2. After Murphy walked, JJ Edwards lined a double to the right-center field gap, scoring both runners to give Sacred Heart a 4-3 lead.
Sacred Heart tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on a grandslam by Hunter Phillips. After a single by Murphy, Quinnipiac starter Mike Oskandy hit Jeff Heppner with a pitch before giving up a single to Edwards to load the bases. Phillips then connected for his first homerun of the year to give the Pioneers a five-run lead, 8-3.
Zaccherio was cruising from that point, holding Quinnipiac hitless over the final five innings. The last hit he gave up on the afternoon came in the fourth inning when Gabe Guerino (Milford, Conn.) lined a pitch down the left field line before being thrown out at second attempting to stretch the hit into a double. Poletsky's single in the third inning gave Quinnipiac their final baserunner of the day. In all, Zaccherio retired the last 17 hitters he faced in the game.
The Bobcats and Pioneers resume their Northeast Conference series on Friday, April 2 with a pair of seven-inning games set to begin at 12 p.m. at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Conn. The second game is scheduled to begin approximately 25 minutes following the completion of the first game. Quinnipiac closes out its four-game series against Sacred Heart on Saturday, April 3 with a single, nine-inning game at 10 a.m. in Bridgeport, Conn.