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WAPPINGERS FALLS, New York – Freshman starting pitcher Robert Hitt (Suffield, Connecticut) struck out a season-high seven batters in his first career postseason start as the No. 3 seed Quinnipiac baseball team defeated the No. 2 seed Canisius Golden Griffins, 6-1, Thursday afternoon to advance to the semifinals of the MAAC Tournament for the first time in program history.
The Bobcats (29-25) have now won their first two games of a conference tournament for the first time since the 2005 season when they were a member of the Northeast Conference. In that season, the Bobcats won three conference tournament games on their way to their only Division I conference championship win and advanced to their only Division I NCAA Tournament in program history.
Quinnipiac's win over Canisius (29-28) gives them 29 wins this season, tied for the most wins in a single-season in the program's Division I history since the Bobcats went 29-18-1 during the 2007 season.
Hitt (6-4) pitched seven strong innings for the Bobcats in his longest outing of the season, allowing just one earned run on four hits with three walks and seven strikeouts. The win was Hitt's first career postseason victory and the second consecutive season a freshman has won a conference tournament game as Thomas Jankins (West Brookfield, Massachusetts) picked up a win in last season's MAAC Tournament.
For the second straight game, Lou Iannotti (North Haven, Connecticut) recorded three RBIs in a 2-for-3 day at the plate with a walk. Iannotti's six RBIs in the MAAC Tournament are the most by a Quinnipiac player in a Division I conference tournament in program history. The previous conference tournament high in Quinnipiac history was Bryan Sabatella, who had five RBIs in the 2005 NEC Tournament.
Ben Gibson (Sagamore Beach, Massachusetts) hit the Bobcats' first home run of the postseason, the first postseason home run for Quinnipiac since May 25, 2007 when Tim Binkoski, Jeff Mainetti and Pete Kummerfeldt each went deep in Quinnipiac's 4-1 victory over Mount St. Mary's in the NEC Tournament.
Matthew Batten (Shelton, Connecticut) went 2-for-4 with a triple, one RBI, and two runs scored to extend his program record hitting streak to 24 games, breaking the previous longest streak of 23 games by Toby Peterson in 2000. Batten also stole his 22nd base of the season in the Bobcats' win over the Golden Griffins.
Vincent Guglietti (East Haven, Connecticut) was dominant in the batter's box for a second straight day as he went 3-for-4 with a run scored. Through the first two games, Guglietti has gone 5-for-7 at the plate. Scott Donaghue (Marlboro, New Jersey) also posted a multi-hit game for the Bobcats, going 2-for-5 with a run scored.
Both teams were scoreless through the first five innings of play, as Hitt and Canisius starting pitcher Alex Godzak had limited baserunners and were able to get out of a few jams.
The Bobcats broke the tie with three runs in the top of the 6th inning and did not look back. Donaghue, Batten and Guglietti recorded three straight singles to load the bases for Iannotti with no outs. Iannotti pulled a two-run single through the right side of the infield to score both Donaghue and Batten to take a 2-0 lead. With runners on second and third base, Pescitelli lifted a sacrifice fly to right field to score Guglietti from third base and give the Bobcats a 3-0 advantage.
In the top of the seventh inning, the Bobcats added two more runs to increase their lead to 5-0. Palladino reached base with a one-out infield single and quickly advanced to second base on a balk. After a fly out to left field by Donaghue, Batten ripped a triple to the left centerfield fence that scored Palladino easily. Guglietti was intentionally walked to put runners on first and third with two outs for Iannotti, who slashed a single to left centerfield to score Batten.
Canisius got a run back in the bottom of the seventh inning to score their first run of the MAAC Tournament. Anthony Massicci and Zach Garick drew back to back walks to put runners on first and second before Alex O'Donnell reached on a fielder's choice to advance Massicci to third base. Connor Panas lifted a sacrifice fly to left field that scored Massicci to cut the Bobcats' lead to 5-1.
Gibson got the run back for the Bobcats in the top of the eighth inning when he crushed a home run over the centerfield fence to give the Bobcats a 6-1 lead.
The Bobcats return to action on Friday, May 22 at 12 P.M. when they face the No. 4 seed Siena Saints in the semifinals of the MAAC Tournament at Dutchess Stadium.