LAWRENCEVILLE, New Jersey - The Quinnipiac University baseball team erased a six-run deficit behind a two home run afternoon from freshman Ben Gibson (Sagamore Beach, Massachusetts) to defeat Rider, 9-7, in its final Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game of the season. With the win, Quinnipiac improves to 25-23 overall and 15-9 in the MAAC while Rider drops to 25-19 overall and 13-5 in conference play.
Quinnipiac will finish no lower than third place in the MAAC standings when the 2015 conference tournament kicks-off on May 20 at Dutchess Stadium in Wappingers Falls, New York. The Bobcats are now idle for the final weekend of the season, while the rest of the league will play out the remainder of their conference schedule.
Gibson doubled his season home run total with his two long balls against the Broncs in powering Quinnipiac to its conference win. Gibson had managed just one hit in his previous seven games before breaking out against Rider. In addition to Gibson, Vincent Guglietti (East Haven, Connecticut) blasted his team-leading eighth home run of the season while freshman Julius Saporito (Manalapan, New Jersey) homered for the second time this year. Scott Donaghue (Marlboro, New Jersey) was 3-for-5 with a triple and two RBI to go along with two runs scored. Matthew Batten (Shelton, Connecticut) was 1-for-4 with a RBI to extend his hitting streak to 18 games.
Quinnipiac starter Justin Thomas (Enfield, Connecticut) was roughed up in his final regular season start of the season, as Rider got to him for six runs on seven hits over two innings. Freshman Robbie Hitt (Suffield, Connecticut) picked up the win after stymying the Rider offense over five innings in relief. Hitt improved to 5-3 on the year after the first-year Bobcat scattered five hits, while giving up one run, and striking out four. Gregory Egan (Seldon, New York) struck out three while holding Rider to a single hit over the final two innings to earn his fifth save of the year.
Quinnipiac cut Rider's lead to 6-2 in the fourth inning when Donaghue's triple scored Mike Palladino (Rockville Centre, New York), who walked to start off the inning. Standing 90 feet away Donaghue scored on Batten's come-backer to the mound. In the fifth, Gibson and Saporito homered back-to-back to start the inning to make it 6-4 and Guglietti plated Palladino with a sacrifice fly to pull Quinnipiac within a run, 6-5. Gibson's second home run of the day came in the sixth and tied the game at 6-6.
In the seventh, Palladino was hit by a pitch before stealing second and scoring on Donaghue's single to left field. Guglietti then blasted the Bobcats' fourth home run of the day, and his team-leading eighth of the year, to give Quinnipiac a 9-6 lead. After Rider got a run back in the seventh, Egan entered in the eight and cruised through the final two innings to pick up the save.
Quinnipiac wraps-up the regular season with a four-game, non-conference series against NJIT on May 15-16 at the QU Baseball Field in Hamden, Connecticut. Both days are slated for doubleheaders at 12 p.m.