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WAPPINGERS Falls, New York – The No. 3 seed Quinnipiac baseball team scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie the game and force extra innings before falling to the No. 4 seed Siena Saints, 6-5, in 10 innings of the winner's bracket game in the MAAC Tournament Friday afternoon.
With the victory, the Saints (23-26) advance to the MAAC Championship game for the third consecutive season while the Bobcats (29-26) will play Friday night in an elimination game against the winner of the 3:30 P.M. game between the No. 1 seed Rider Broncs and the No. 2 seed Canisius Golden Griffins.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Mike Palladino (Rockville Centre, New York) and Scott Donaghue (Marlboro, New Jersey) led off with back to back singles that put runners on first and second for Matthew Batten (Shelton, Connecticut). Batten laid down a bunt towards first base but legged it out for a single to load the bases for clean-up hitter Vincent Guglietti (East Haven, Connecticut). Guglietti reached with a fielder's choice to Siena shortstop Tyler Martis that scored Palladino to cut Siena's lead to 5-2. With runners on the corners, Lou Iannotti (North Haven, Connecticut) loaded the bases back up for the Bobcats as he reached with a catcher's interference.
Siena relief pitcher Kyano Cummings walked the next three batters he faced after the catcher's interference and tied the game for Quinnipiac. Rob Pescitelli (West Islip, New York), Matthew Oestreicher (North Haven, Connecticut) and Ben Gibson (Sagamore Beach, Massachusetts) each drew bases loaded walks for the Bobcats that tied the game 5-5. Pinch-hitter Brian Ruditys (Boothwyn, Pennsylvania) then attempted to lay down a squeeze bunt but missed with the pitch out of the strike zone and Pescitelli was thrown at home plate.
The Saints scored the game-winning run in the top of the 10th inning when Dan Lowndes singled to centerfield to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a sacrifice but by Tyler Martis. Dan Swain followed with single to center that scored Lowndes from second base for the go-ahead run.
Batten and Gibson led the Bobcats in hits against the Saints with a pair of hits each in the contest. Batten's single in the fourth inning extended his program record hitting streak to 25 games as he went 2 for 5 in the loss. Gibson went 2 for 3 with a double, two RBIs and a walk for the Bobcats as he recorded an extra base hit for the second straight game.
Pescitelli finished the game 1 for 3 with a run, a RBI and a walk while Palladino and Donaghue each went 1 for 5 with a run scored.
Taylor Luciani (Berlin, Connecticut) came through big for the Bobcats in relief has we replaced starting pitcher Wyatt Hamilton (Falmouth, Massachusetts) with two outs in the third inning. Luciani finished with 6 1/3 innings of relief, allowing just one earned run on five hits with two walks to keep the Bobcats right in the thick of things before their ninth inning comeback. Luciani's 6 1/3 innings of relief is the longest relief outing by a Quinnipiac pitcher in the program's Division I conference tournament history.
The Bobcats have now scored 18 runs through the first three games of the MAAC Tournament, which is the second most in Quinnipiac's Division I conference tournament history, only trailing the 2005 team's 29 runs scored in the Northeast Conference Tournament.
Siena took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning despite a great play by Iannotti. With no outs and runners on first and second, Justin Esquerra botched a bunt attempt and Iannotti flipped the glove to make the catch then rifle the throw down to second to double off Dan Swain. Brian Fay stepped up to bat with two outs for Siena and tripled off the right centerfield wall to score Jordan Bishop from first base. Dave Hoffmann followed up Fay's triple with a single to right to score Fay.
The Saints added two more runs in the top of the third inning to extend their lead to 4-0. Bishop doubled with one out in the inning and came home to score on Esquerra's single to centerfield. Fay single through the right side to put runners on the corners before Hoffmann was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Joe Drpich. Drpich lifted a sacrifice fly to deep right field that scored Esquerra to give Siena 4-0 lead.
After Alex Tuccio walked, Luciani came on to pitch for Hamilton with the bases loaded and needed just one pitch to get Lowndes to ground out to get the Bobcats out of the jam.
Quinnipiac got a run back in the bottom of the fifth inning to cut Siena's lead to 4-1. Pescitelli singled down the right field line with one out in the inning. After a Matthew Oestreicher (North Haven, Connecticut) fly out, Gibson ripped a double to the left centerfield wall with two outs that scored Pescitelli from first base.
Fay came through again for the Saints in the top of the seventh inning to extend their lead to 5-1. Swain led off the inning with a double down the left to put a runner on base. Bishop flew out to right field allowing Bishop to advance to third base before Esquerra was intentionally walked to put runners on first and third. Fay lifted a long single down the left field line to score Swain from third.
The Bobcats will return to action on Friday at 7 P.M. where they will face the winner of the 3:30 P.M. game between the No. 1 seed Rider Broncs and the No. 2 seed Canisius Golden Griffins at Dutchess Stadium.