BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – The Quinnipiac baseball team exploded for five runs in the top of the ninth inning, and held-off a late comeback bid by Sacred Heart, to hang on for a 9-8 Northeast Conference win at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Conn. The Bobcats improve to 6-22 in the NEC and 7-36 overall while Sacred Heart drops to 14-10 in league play and 17-27 overall. Vin Guglietti (East Haven, Conn.) was 4-for-5 with a RBI triple that gave Quinnipiac the lead in the ninth while Matthew Siciliano (Ardmore, Pa.) picked up the win in relief.
Ray Buckley (Orange, Conn.) got the spot-start for the Bobcats, and hurled five strong innings as he allowed three runs on five hits. George Dummar (Branford, Conn.) came on in relief, and gave up two runs on three hits over two innings. Siciliano gave up three runs on two hits in 1 1/3 before giving way to Kevin O'Connell (Glastonbury, Conn.) who got the last two outs of the game for the save.
Sacred Heart took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Keaton Flint led off with a single up the middle on a chopper that couldn't be played by the middle of Quinnipiac's infield. After Buckley retired Kenny Byram on a pop-up to second base, John Murphy hit a ground ball through the right side of the infield to move Flint to third. Buckley then walked Dan Perez, with Flint scoring on a wild pitch on ball four to give the Pioneers a one-run lead.
In the fourth, Hunter Philips walked with one out before Matt Charmello singled to center field. Buckley then threw a wild pitch allowing both runners moving into scoring position before walking Connor McEvoy to load the bases. Derick Horn then hit a line drive to left field that Jesse Ullrich (Orange, Conn.) made a sliding catch on for the second out the inning. Philips tagged on the play, and was unchallenged as Sacred Heart took a 2-0 lead through the fourth inning.
In the fifth, Flint walked to lead off the inning before stealing second base. Murphy then lined an offering from Buckley to left-center field to score Flint and give Sacred Heart a 3-0 lead. Murphy then stole second before Philips hit a ground ball deep in the hole and beat the throw to first to put runners on the corners with two outs. Charmello then walked to load the bases before Quinnipiac shortstop made a leaping catch of a line drive by McEvoy to end the Pioneers' threat.
George Dummar (Branford, Conn.) entered the game in relief of Buckley to start the sixth. Buckley allowed three runs on five hits. Dummar walked Horn before hitting Dave Boisture with a pitch. After Flint sacrificed both runners over, Dummar struck-out Byram on four pitches for the second out of the inning. Dummar hit Murphy with a pitch before striking out Perez to end the inning.
In the top of the seventh, Gabe Guerino (Milford, Conn.) walked with two outs before Scott Donaghue (Marlboro, N.J.) singled to center field. Brian Ruditys (Boothwyn, Pa.) then singled to right field to score Guerino with Quinnipiac's first run. Jesse Ullrich (Orange, Conn.) then singled down the right field line to score Donaghue and trim Sacred Heart's lead to one run, 3-2. The three straight hits ended Kody Kerski's day who held Quinnipiac scoreless through the first six innings. Dave Boisture, who was playing first, came in to pitch, walking Forrest Dwyer (Wakefield, R.I.) to load the bases. Kyle Nisson (Wallingford, Conn.) lined the second pitch of his at-bat to center field for the final out.
Sacred Heart got a run back in the bottom half of the inning when Phillips led off the inning with a single before moving to second base when McEvoy was hit by a pitch from Dummar. Horn then singled up the middle to score Phillips and increase Sacred Heart's lead to 4-2.
In the eighth, Palmer flew out to lead-off the inning before Guglietti hit a fly ball to right-center field that dropped in for his third hit of the game. After Nic Civale (East Windsor, Conn.) walked, Guerino lined a single to left-center field to load the bases. Donaghue then walked to force in Guglietti to cut Sacred Heart's lead in half, 4-3. The walk ended Boisture's day in favor of Chris Dionisio. Ruditys followed with a fly ball to center field, deep enough to score Civale from third with the sacrifice fly to tie the game at 4-4.
In the bottom of the eighth, Byram walked before Johnny Servilla entered the game as a pinch runner. Servilla then stole second base before moving to third base on a ground ball to first by Murphy, who beat Dummar to the bag for an infield single. After Murphy stole second and Troy Scribner walked, Dummar was replaced by Matthew Siciliano (Ardmore, Pa.), who was appearing in his fourth consecutive game. Dummar gave up one run on three hits in two innings, but left the game with three runners on base. Phillips greeted Siciliano with a ground past a diving Palmer at third to score Servilla with the go-ahead run. Siciliano slammed the door on Sacred Heart, striking out the next three batters he faced to end the inning.
In the top of the ninth, Dwyer walked to lead-off the inning before moving to second on a sacrifice bunt from Nisson. Palmer then tallied his first hit of the game with a ground ball through the left side of the infield to score Dwyer and tie the game at 5-5. Dionisio was lifted in favor of James Ineson. Palmer stole second before moving to third on a wild pitch. Guglietti then bounced a single over the head of Scribner at first base, scoring Palmer to give Quinnipiac a 6-5 lead, as the freshman DH moved to third with a triple. Civale then followed with a ground-rule double down the left field line to score Guglietti and give Quinnipiac a two-run lead. Civale gave Quinnipiac an 8-5 lead when he scored from second base on a ground ball up the middle by Guerino.
In the bottom of the inning, Siciliano got into trouble when he walked Flint, Billy McDonough and Murphy before Scribner doubled to right-center field to plate all three runners and pull within a run, 9-8, with the tying run at second and the winning run at the plate in Phillips. Kevin O'Connell (Glastonbury, Conn.) came on in relief of Siciliano and got Philips to fly out to left for the second out of the inning. O'Connell walked Rocco Gondek before getting McEvoy to fly out to end the game.
Quinnipiac returns to action on Tuesday, April 1 when it hosts the University of Massachusetts at 3 p.m. at the Quinnipiac Baseball Field in Hamden, Conn.