CCSU blisters Bobcat pitching
The weather was beautiful for a ball game and the Phi Sigma Sigma bake sale, but Quinnipiac men’s baseball did not get to enjoy it for very long.
After the first pitch of their doubleheader, it all started to go downhill. Quinnipiac (10-23, 3-9 NEC) dropped two seven-inning contests against conference-rival Central Connecticut State (16-12, 6-5 NEC) by scores of 19-8 and 8-4.
Central smashes ‘Cats, 19-5
CCSU jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first, benefitting from two errors by the Bobcats. Casey Walko started things off with a one-out single, and was sent to third on another single by Anthony Scialdone. Pat Epps made it to second on the first error of the inning, made by Bryn Doyle. Walko came home to put the Blue Devils up, 1-0. Bobcats starter Andy Mayer (3-3) walked Richie Tri, then gave up a single to Kyle Zarotney. Scialdone scored from third on the play, and Epps followed him home after a throwing error by Quinnipiac’s Ryan Ullrich.
Quinnipiac had problems with defense all day, coughing up four errors in the first game and seven overall. Junior Ryan Ullrich, who went 4-for-6 on the day and belted his first career home run, talked about their defensive troubles.
“The bats were there for the most part,” Ullrich said. “You have to score runs, but defense is what wins it.”
The Blue Devils added two more runs in the second, and had a 5-2 lead going into the bottom of the third. The Bobcats rallied though, scoring four runs and briefly gaining a 6-5 lead. Mickey Amanti had the big hit of the inning, launching a two-run home run to left field.
The lead was lost when CCSU posted a four-run rally of their own in the top of the fifth. With one on and one out, Sean Parker homered to left field to regain the lead. Mayer was taken out of the game later in the inning, allowing five earned runs on 10 hits.
Quinnipiac committed another costly error and the Blue Devils ended the inning up, 9-6. Bobcats head coach Dan Gooley credited the home run as the turning point in the game.
“We were up 6-5 when we gave up the two-run homer,” Gooley said. “That was the difference.”
CCSU put the game out of reach for good in the sixth, exploding for seven runs on five hits. Bobcats’ relief pitcher Anthony Cinelli hit two batters and gave up two hits and a walk before being lifted for Todd DeFrancesco. Cinelli was charged with five runs in just two-thirds of an inning.
CCSU starter Ken Kerski stifled the Bobcat bats for the final two innings, allowing a single run in each. Kerski went the distance in the game, allowing eight runs on 14 hits. He improved to 2-2 with the complete-game victory.
CCSU slams door again, 8-4
After a quick break, the Bobcats sent senior Mike Oskandy to the mound to start the second game. The Blue Devils countered with Taylor Kosakowski. Kosakowski pitched a solid game, giving up four runs in six innings. Oskandy was knocked out after giving up six runs on eight hits in four and two-thirds innings.
“He’s [Oskandy] a hard-nosed kid who works hard,” Gooley said. “But you have to credit those guys from Central. They battled.”
CCSU jumped out to another quick lead in the first inning, taking advantage of two throwing errors by Chris Migani. After making his way to third on an error, Walko came home after a wild throw to first base that skipped past Gabe Guerino. The unearned run gave the Blue Devils a 1-0 lead.
Guerino made up for his defensive blunder by tying the game up for the Bobcats in the bottom of the first, reaching out and punching a single to left field to score Brian Monack from second base.
After a quiet second, the Blue Devils scored in three consecutive innings, capping them off with a three-run fifth. Oskandy gave up four hits and threw two wild pitches in the fifth before being relieved by DeFrancesco. Oskandy left the game with his team down 6-1 and eventually would see his record fall to 1-6 on the season.
“When you have a veteran like Oskandy on the mound, he’s going to throw strikes,” Ullrich said. “We just had a few bad hops on us.”
Ullrich homered on the first pitch of the fifth inning to bring the score to 6-2. The Bobcats added two more runs in the sixth to make it 6-4. With two on, Amanti hit a hard line drive to center to drive in pinch runner John Simone. Ullrich struck again in the next at-bat, hitting a chopper through the infield that scored Ben Farina. Amanti was caught in a run-down at third to end the inning.
CCSU slammed the door on a Bobcat attempted comeback in the seventh, bringing their lead to 8-4. Both runs were scored with two outs, as the Blue Devils collected three singles in a row. Parker delivered the two-run hit, and posted a 4-for-8 day.
The Bobcats went on to drop the fourth and final game of the series on Sunday by a score of 11-7. They will travel to Teaneck, N.J., this Friday for a four-game series against the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights.