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Baseball splits series with CCSU, crowns new hit kings
Seniors Tim Binkoski and Ryan Rizzo came into Saturday’s doubleheader against Central Connecticut State University (14-7, 5-3 NEC) looking for a series win. What they left with, was the all-time hits record at Quinnipiac.
Binkoski and Rizzo needed just three hits each to break Steve Kulpa’s career hit record of 201 hits. Both players got just enough for the record, ending the double header with a split and 202 career hits apiece.
“To be honest, I never really paid attention to it, I just tried to go out everyday and have fun because that’s what the game is all about,” Binkoski said. “I have to thank Skip [Head coach Dan Gooley] for giving me the opportunity to play for four years.”
Binkoski’s record-breaking hit came in game two during the bottom of the fourth inning. After Rizzo began the inning with a single past a diving shortstop into left for career hit 201, Binkoski hit a groundball in the hole between the shortstop and third baseman beating out the throw for hit number 202.
Rizzo would tie the record now held by his teammate four innings later. In the bottom of the eighth, Rizzo hit a groundball through the left side of the infield for his 202nd career hit.
“It’s even more special because I’m doing it with [Binkoski],” Rizzo said. “I think I’m more excited when he gets a hit than when I do.”
Although the record is special to both Binkoski and Rizzo, the ultimate goal still remains winning. Neither player was happy with splitting the doubleheader, nor the series. The Bobcats split the doubleheader Friday, falling by a score of 11-1 in game one, but bounced back in game two, winning 3-0 thanks to a strong pitching performance from sophomore Andy Mayer. Sophomore Chris Gloor took the mound for the Bobcats (11-10-1, 4-4 NEC) in game one Saturday, nearly duplicating Mayer’s performance. Gloor pitched a complete game two-hitter, striking out 10 as Quinnipiac prevailed, 3-1.
Senior Randy Gress provided the offense for the Bobcats in game one. Junior John Delaney led off the bottom of the first inning with a two-strike single to right. Rizzo followed with a single to left. After Binkoski grounded into a double play, Gress came up with a two out double down the left field line which scored Delaney from third and gave the Bobcats a 1-0 lead.
CCSU tied the game in the top of the third when a bases-loaded passed ball allowed the Blue Devil runner to score from third and tie the game at 1-1.
The game would be put out of reach in the bottom of the third when Gress hit a towering home run over the left field fence with Binkoski on second. The 3-1 lead was all Gloor needed to lead Quinnipiac to the victory.
“I have to give all credit to Chris Gloor. He was absolutely outstanding,” Binkoski said. “They couldn’t really touch him all day.”
Game two would not go in favor of the Bobcats despite another good pitching performance from sophomore Joe Duffy, who went six innings, giving up six hits,while giving up two runs, one earned.
Quinnipiac would trail 2-1 going into the bottom of the seventh inning. With one out, senior Pete Kummerfeldt hit a tailing line drive that the centerfielder couldn’t come up with. Hustling all the way, Kummerfeldt slid safely into second. Senior Wilson Matos was up next and managed to advance Kummerfeldt to third on a groundball to the second baseman. Freshman Jeff Carino was Quinnipiac’s last hope. Carino rose to the occasion, and nearly won the game for the Bobcats, hitting a soaring fly ball over the left fielders head that nearly went over the wall. The double scored Kummerfeldt from third, tying the game at 2-2 going into extra innings.
After two and two-thirds of solid relief by senior pitcher Paul Gibson, Gooley took him out of the game in favor of junior Eric Bretscher with a runner on first and two outs in the top of the ninth. After a stolen base by CCSU’s Sean Salvatore, senior Adam Taha singled down the line in right scoring Salvatore and giving the Blue Devils a 3-2 lead.
“[Gibson] is outstanding when he goes through a lineup card once. Once they turn the card, they begin to make adjustments,” Gooley said. “You have to play your percentages with a different pitcher and a different look.”
The Bobcats went 1-2-3 in the ninth with Gress, senior Jeff Mainetti and Kummerfeldt all flying out to the centerfielder.
The ‘Cats play host Northeast Conference opponent Wagner this weekend.
“Wagner has got to be a four-game sweep. It has to be,” Binkoski said. “We have to start moving up and getting to the top of the conference.”