Baseball’s Ninth-Inning Rally Comes Up Short in 3-2 Loss to Rider; Game Two Postponed to Sunday

HAMDEN, Conn. – Quinnipiac University was in control for the first six innings of Saturday's Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference baseball game against Rider, but a three-run seventh for the Broncs proved to be the difference in a 3-2 Bobcat loss at the QU Baseball Field. Quinnipiac made some noise in the ninth inning, but couldn't plate the tying run in its first home game of the 2014 season.

In search of its fourth win in its last five games, Quinnipiac (5-15, 2-2 MAAC) received a stellar effort from starting pitcher Thomas Jankins (West Brookfield, Mass.) – a second consecutive quality start for the rookie right-hander. Jankins stifled the Broncs up and down the lineup for six innings before encountering a bit of bad luck in the seventh inning.

Rider (6-15, 1-0 MAAC) placed runners at first and third with one out, with Brian Donnelly coming to the dish. RU's manager Barry Davis called for a double steal which drew a throw to second base - but was cut off by the Bobcat short-stop in a designed play to get the runner at home. Unfortunately, the throw back home sailed just wide and allowed both runners to score on the play. Donnelly proceeded to walk, and Nick Richter doubled to left field to bring in the third and eventual game-winning run for the Broncs.

Jankins was charged with two runs on five hits over 6 1/3 innings of work. He stuck out three and walked two of the 27 batters he faced. Before the runs in the seven, Jankins had gone 14 straight scoreless innings for the Bobcats. Matthew Osieja (Wyckoff, N.J.) came in relief for the remainder of the game, allowing three hits while striking out three.  

Quinnipiac manufactured the game's first run in the second inning when Scott Donaghue (Marlboro, N.J.) came around to score in the second inning. Donaghue was hit by a pitch, and then moved to second after a walk to Nic Civale (East Windsor, Conn.). With two outs in the frame, Matthew Oestreicher (North Haven, Conn.) delivered a base-hit up the middle to push Donaghue around from second.

Quinnipiac's bats came back to life in the bottom of the ninth when the Bobcats placed runners at first and second with no one out. Donaghue advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt, bringing Ryan Nelson (Knoxville, Tenn.) to the plate. Nelson lofted a fly-ball to right field which allowed pinch-runner Mike Palladino (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) to score from third base. However, Rider caught Vincent Guglietti (East Haven, Conn.) too far off of second base on the relay, and tagged him out on his way to third base to end the game.

Rider starting pitcher Kurt Sowa allowed one run over eight innings in his second win of the season. He gave up two hits and struck out three batters. Vincenzo Aiello pitched the ninth and earned his third save of the year.

The backend of the doubleheader was postponed due to rain. Quinnipiac and Rider will play two games tomorrow, Sunday, March 30, 2014, at the QU Baseball Field beginning at 12 p.m.