Bullpen coughs up lead in ninth to Holy Cross

By on March 24, 2010

The Quinnipiac Bobcats baseball team lost its home opener on Sunday afternoon, losing 6-4 to the Holy Cross Crusaders at the Quinnipiac Baseball Field.

The Bobcats (0-12) took a 4-1 lead into the seventh inning behind a strong pitching performance by junior right-hander Kyle Birdsall, but couldn’t hold on to what would have been their first win of the season.

Quinnipiac opened the year with five losses to Atlantic Coast Conference teams, four to Colonial Athletic Association team, one to Fairfield and the last two to the Crusaders (4-7).

“We just have to keep up our real good solid attitude, play good fundamental baseball, get good frontline pitching, and win some games,” Quinnipiac head coach Dan Gooley said.

Birdsall took a one-hitter into the seventh inning before running into some trouble. After striking out the first batter of the inning, Birdsall allowed two straight singles. With one out, Brandon McCrea hit a comebacker to Birdsall to give him a second out, but the runners advanced to second and third base.

Birdsall attempted to pick off the runner at third, but the ball sailed wide of third baseman Joe Poletsky and the runner trotted home. John Sills’s RBI single chased Birdsall, but freshman righty Derek Lamacchia came on in relief to retire the next batter to control the damage.

“I thought [Birdsall] did a very good job,” Gooley said. “He throws two or three different pitches; he throws a bunch for strikes. We’re ahead 4-1 in the seventh and we get a little pickoff play on and he throws it wild. A base hit, and all of a sudden it’s 4-3. But hey, that’s baseball, that’s the game, but I thought the kid Birdsall did an excellent job today.”

Lamacchia got through the eighth inning with no trouble and took a one-run lead into the ninth. After retiring the first batter, he walked a Crusader, gave up a double and walked another to load the bases. Gooley opted to bring in freshman Spencer Kane in relief and he gave up a two-run single and an RBI double to blow the lead.

“[Lamacchia’s] got a good arm,” Gooley said. “He dominated the eighth inning. He gets the first guy out in the ninth inning and I’m figuring maybe three more pitches and we got a shot to maybe win a game today. He struggles right there and you got to get him out and I brought the kid Kane in who’s got a pretty good breaking ball. We’re looking for a groundball; maybe we can turn a double play there. It didn’t work out.”

Down 6-4 in the bottom of the ninth inning, senior Ryan George retired the Bobcats in order to pick up his third save of the season.

Poletsky led the Bobcats offensively with three RBIs. Up 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth and runners at second and third base, Poletsky laced a two-run double to left field to give the Bobcats a 4-1 lead.

Derek Lamacchia was charged with the loss and moved to 0-2 on the season. Chris Blanchard earned the win for the Crusaders to move to 1-1.

Quinnipiac will begin conference play this weekend when they will host Mount St. Mary’s in a four-game, weekend series.

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