HAMDEN, Conn. – The Quinnipiac University baseball team defeated Saint Peter's, 9-3, for its ninth straight victory as it improved to 15-16 overall and 10-3 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Saint Peter's drops to 10-25 overall and 5-9 in conference play. The Bobcats also own an eight-game winning streak against MAAC opponents, the longest in the conference this season.
Quinnipiac freshman starter Brandon Shileikis (North Dighton, Mass.) improved to 2-0 on the year after holding Saint Peter's to one run over 6 1/3 innings pitched. Senior Gary Binkiewicz (Scotch Plains, N.J.) recorded the final four outs of the game to break his own single-season save record with his seventh of the season. At the plate, Vincent Guglietti (East Haven, Conn.) and Rob Pescitelli (Bay Shore, N.Y.) blasted back-to-back home runs in the fifth inning while Ryan Nelson (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Mike Blumenthal (Dix Hills, N.Y.) both collected two hits and drove in a run.
In the second, Pescitelli walked with one out before Nelson crushed the first pitch from John Leiter over the head of Saint Peter's center fielder for a triple. Pescitelli coasted home with the game's first run to give the Bobcats a 1-0 lead. After Scott Donaghue (Marlboro, N.J.) grounded out to short, Nelson snuck home on a pitch in the dirt that got past the Peacock's catcher and bounced back to the back stop.
In the fourth, Shileikis struck out Kyle Grimes to start the inning before giving up a single to Rob Moore. Chris Hugg then tagged an offering from Shileikis to deep center. Palladino tracked it down, but his diving bid fell short, allowing Hugg to move to second with a double as Grimes went to third. Grimes scored on a passed ball to cut Quinnipiac's lead in half, 2-1.
In the fifth, Leiter retired Palladino and Matthew Batten (Shelton, Conn.) to start the inning before hitting Lou Iannotti (North Haven, Conn.) with a pitch. Guglietti then turned on a one-strike fastball from Leiter, crushing it over the right field wall to give Quinnipiac a 4-1 lead. Pescitelli then jumped on the next pitch from Leiter, depositing it over the right field wall for his second home run of the year as Quinnipiac jumped out to a 5-1 lead.
Shileikis pitched into the seventh inning, retiring the first batter he faced before walking the next two hitters. He was lifted in favor of Matthew Osieja (Wyckoff, N.J.), who retired the next two batters he faced in the inning.
In the eighth, John Kristoffersen led off the inning with a high drive the opposite way that fell at the base of the left field wall for a double. Grimes then hit a dribbler up the third base line that moved Kristoffersen to third while he beat the throw by Iannotti for a single. Kristoffersen scored on a high-hopper to third by Chris Hugg that moved Saint Peter's within three runs, 5-2.
After Osieja walked Jim Smith to put runners on first and second with two outs, Binkiewicz came on in relief. Binkiewicz gave up a single to Vinny Maietta, on a line drive to left field, that scored Grimes as the Peacocks pulled within two runs, 5-3, with the tying run on first base. Zach Rawson then followed with a ground ball the opposite way through by the shortstop and third base to load the bases.
In the bottom of the eighth, Eric Mozeika replaced Leiter to start the inning. Leiter's final line read five runs allowed over seven innings on seven hits while walking two and striking out three. Mozeika hit Pescitelli with a pitch, who then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Nelson before Donaghue walked to put two runners on base. Mozeika was then lifted in favor of Ed Mejias.
Blumenthal worked the count on Mejias before a double steal that moved Pescitelli to third and Donaghue to second. Mejias then balked, allowing Pescitelli to score to give Quinnipiac a 6-3 lead with Donaghue going to third. Blumenthal then slapped a ball down the left field line for a double, before moving to third on a miscue in left, that scored Donaghue to give Quinnipiac a 7-3 lead. Nic Civale (East Windsor, Conn.) came on to pinch hit and ripped a double, just inside the third base bag, to score Blumenthal as Quinnipiac took an 8-3 lead. After Palladino reached on an error, Batten's fly ball to left was deep enough to score Civale to give Quinnipiac a 9-3 lead.
Quinnipiac will resume MAAC play on May 3-4 when it hosts Canisius for its final home conference series of the year. The Bobcats will host Hartford on Tuesday, Apr. 22 and UConn on Wednesday, Apr. 23 before traveling to Radford University in Radford, Va. for a three-game series on Apr. 25-27 before wrapping up the month at UMass on Wednesday, Apr. 30.