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HAMDEN, Conn. – The Quinnipiac baseball team split a non-conference doubleheader with NJIT on Friday afternoon, defeating the Highlanders 5-1 in game one before dropping game two by a score of 6-1 – both taking place at the QU Baseball Field in Hamden. Although not participating in MAAC play this weekend, Quinnipiac clinched the No. 3 seed in the upcoming MAAC Tournament – set to begin next week in New York.
Canisius completed a three-game sweep of Niagara University to move ahead of Quinnipiac to No. 2 in the league standings. Rider clinched the No. 1 seed and Monmouth fell to No. 4 – with the fifth and sixth slots yet to be determined. The entire bracket will be complete on Sunday afternoon, and the tournament will begin on Wednesday, May 20th at 12 p.m. at Dutchess Stadium in Wappingers Falls, N.Y.
Quinnipiac coupled timely hitting with solid pitching to claim a 5-1 victory in the first game of the four-game set. The Bobcats scored five runs on six hits in the game, the big blow coming off the bat of Vincent Guglietti (East Haven, Conn.) in the bottom of the fifth to break the 1-1 tie score. He was 1-for-3 and picked up his 39th and 40th RBI of the season - also moving into first place all-time at Quinnipiac in career doubles.
Matthew Batten (Shelton, Conn.) went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored; Scott Donaghue (Marlboro, N.J.) finished 1-for-2 with a walk and an RBI; John Bodenhamer (Maple Valley, Wash.) went 1-for-2 with a run scored and a walk; and Lou Iannotti (North Haven, Conn.) was 1-for-3 with an RBI. Last Sunday's hero Ben Gibson (Sagamore Beach, Mass.) had Quinnipiac's last hit while Mike Palladino (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) and Julius Saporito (Manalapan, N.J.) each came around to score as well.
Quinnipiac jumped in front quickly as the Bobcats manufactured a run in their very first at-bats. Palladino led off with a walk, stole second and alertly moved over to third on a fielders' choice to the short stop off the bat of Donaghue. With runners on the corners and no one out, Batten placed a perfect bunt down the first base line, allowing Palladino to score easily on the play.
NJIT got to Quinnipiac starting pitcher Thomas Jankins (West Brookfield, Mass.) in the top of the third inning, where the Highlanders produced their first run of the game. Mike Rampone doubled to left field to score Matt McKinnon from second, leaving a tie game at 1-1.
The big inning for the Bobcats came in the bottom of the fifth, as the Bobcats pushed three across on a pair of two-out hits in the frame. Saporito led off the inning with a walk, and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Palladino. Donaghue followed with a walk, and Batten reached on a fielders' choice to leave first and third with two outs. Guglietti came through in the clutch, lining a two-run double to right center to open a 3-1 Bobcat lead. Iannotti tacked on one more with a base-hit to the same spot – putting Quinnipiac in front 4-1 after five innings of play.
Quinnipiac added one more in the bottom of the sixth inning when they loaded the bases on a Bodenhamer walk, a Gibson single and a Palladino hit-by-pitch. Donaghue lifted a fly-ball to left field to score Bodenhamer for a 5-1 advantage. That was more than enough for Quinnipiac's pitching staff that used three pitchers on the day.
With the MAAC Championships set to begin next week, Jankins was limited to four innings of work. He scattered five hits, allowed one run and struck out five. Taylor Luciani (Berlin, Conn.) was credited with his second win of the season after working into and out of trouble in the fifth. He pitched one inning, allowed one hit and struck out two. Matthew Lorenzetti (Marlboro, N.J.) collected his second save of the year, tossing two scoreless innings – allowing one hit and striking out one.
NJIT avenged its game one loss with a 6-1 win in game two. The Highlanders regained their lead in the fourth inning and broke out for four runs in the fifth to open a sizeable advantage. Quinnipiac threatened in both the fifth and sixth innings but couldn't cut into the deficit.
Offensively, Quinnipiac scattered seven hits in the game – led by two apiece from Iannotti and Donaghue. Gibson drove in the lone run for the Bobcats.
Back-to-back hits in the top of the first inning gave NJIT an early 1-0 lead in game two. Jesse Uttendorfer led off the game with a single, stole second and came around to score on the next pitch. Ed Charlton laced a double down the left field line and Uttendorfer scored from second on the play.
Quinnipiac erased its deficit in the second inning, when a hit and a walk resulted in the Bobcats' first run. Iannotti led off the inning with a double to left center and Rob Pescitelli (Bayshore, N.Y.) walked to set up first and second with no one out. NJIT made a nice play on Matthew Oestreicher's (North Haven, Conn.) sacrifice bunt attempt – getting Iannotti at third – but Pescitelli later advanced to third on a wild pitch which helped Gibson at the dish. Gibson lofted a long sacrifice fly to left field and Pescitelli scored to tie the score at 1-1.
The Highlanders scored in back-to-back innings – getting one in the fourth and four in the fifth – to go up 6-1 in the game. Evan Pietronico came across in the fourth inning when a double steal worked in favor of the visitors, followed by four runs on five hits in the fifth. Stephan Halibej, Bryan Haberstroh and Cody Kramer each came through with RBI singles – Kramer's driving in a pair of runs for the Highlanders.
On the Hill, Robert Hitt (Suffield, Conn.) took the loss for Quinnipiac – falling to 5-4 on the year. Gary Binkiewicz (Scotch Plains, N.J.) and Charlie Murray (Charlton, Mass.) closed out the final 2 and 2/3 innings – Murray not allowing a hit in the game.
Quinnipiac and NJIT will play the backend of the series tomorrow, Saturday, May 16 at the QU Baseball Field. Prior to first pitch at noon, Quinnipiac Athletics and Recreation and the baseball team will honor its senior class for their dedication and commitment to the program.
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