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Bobcats can’t crawl out of early hole
Senior pitcher Mike Oskandy pitched four scoreless innings in the middle of Saturday’s baseball game against Fairfield. Unfortunately for the Quinnipiac Bobcats, Oskandy struggled in the beginning, allowing six earned runs in Quinnipiac’s 7-2 defeat.
Oskandy surrendered two runs in the first, followed by a four-run second inning where he hit three batters with pitches, walked another and allowed two singles to put the Bobcats in an early six-run hole.
“We’re down 6-0 and it seemed like it was on a blink,” Quinnipiac head coach Dan Gooley said. “He gave up five hits, he hit three guys and I have to believe out of the eight guys that got on base in those three innings, I think four or five of them must’ve scored. Then after that, when you watch a kid like Oskandy work over the next four innings, he shuts them down.”
In the final four innings of his outing, Oskandy scattered three hits while keeping the Bobcats within striking distance. But Fairfield’s starter, Rob Gariano, was on his game from the beginning. In a complete-game effort, Gariano struck out seven Bobcats while only allowing two earned runs on nine hits.
“I think the kid shut us down completely,” Gooley said. “I think that there were times we didn’t have very good at-bats. We swung at a couple of pitches to start the inning that are easy outs. And I don’t think we were real tough outs the last four or five innings.
“That kid was outstanding today and he deserved to win on that performance. I don’t think we did a very good job being as selective as we should’ve been at times, but that does not take anything away from him. He was very, very good today.”
Gariano only ran into trouble in the fourth inning. After getting center fielder Brian Monack to fly out and third baseman Joe Poletsky to ground out, second baseman Chris Migani reached base with a single. First baseman Gabe Guerino followed that with a two-run home run, his first of the season, that cleared the right-field wall.
“Gabe’s a line drive-type kid,” Gooley said. “After 20-something games now that we’ve been in, the first home run is a surprise for me. I thought that he’d have five or six more before we got to this point.”
Aside from Guerino, who went 1-for-4 with those two RBIs, shortstop Mickey Amanti, Migani and Poletsky each had multi-hit games. Poletsky led the Bobcats with three hits.
In the other dugout, Fairfield’s middle of the lineup did the most damage. Right fielder Jason Rago reached base in all five plate appearances, driving in two runs. First baseman Anthony Hajjar also drove in a pair of runs, while designated hitter Marco Garamella went 3-for-4 with three RBIs.
Quinnipiac concluded a home-and-home series with Fairfield on Sunday with a 7-3 loss. Junior Kyle Birdsall, the losing pitcher, allowed seven runs (four earned) in five innings of work. Monack went 3-for-4 with two RBIs for the Bobcats. Garamella had another big game for the Stags, driving in four runs on two hits.
Quinnipiac returns home on Tuesday with an out-of-conference game against Rhode Island at 3 p.m. before returning to Northeast Conference play this weekend with a four-game home series with Long Island.
Photo credit: Charlotte Greene