Bobcats hang on in wild 11-10 win
The Quinnipiac men’s baseball team pulled ahead 6-0, and held on late for a wild and thrilling 11-10 win over Long Island University on Sunday afternoon for a 3-1 series win.
Sophomore catcher Kyle Nisson went 2-for-5 with three RBIs and junior reliever Andrew Rinaldi pitched the last 3 1-3 innings for the save.
Ahead 11-10 in the eighth, Rinaldi hit Tito Marrero with a one-out pitch. Marrero and Rinaldi both exchanged terse words as the Long Island hitter was slow to get to first base.
This sparked players from both sides to start screaming at each other, which resulted in Quinnipiac head coach Dan Gooley sprinting out to settle down his ballclub. Gooley first went to the mound and then out to second base as order was soon restored.
“When I went out there I was going to make a change,” Gooley said. “[Rinaldi] told me you can’t take me out because I’m going to win this game, so I went with my instinct and let him go back.”
When play continued, Rinaldi got back-to-back outs to end the inning.
“[Long Island] fired us up,” the reliever said. “Stuff like that doesn’t fly here and we needed to take care of business.”
Quinnipiac couldn’t add to its one-run lead in the ninth, and Long Island loaded the bases with two out in the ninth, but couldn’t push the tying run across.
Sophomore Drew Walsh worked the count full to 3-2, fouled off another pitch, but then lined out to shortstop Mickey Amanti to end the game. Rinaldi’s teammates stormed the field as Quinnipiac secured the 11-10 victory and the series win.
“We battled through everything that went on with every inning,” Rinaldi said. “This puts us up higher in the standings, and gets us motivated and ready to go work harder.”
Gooley was very pleased with the way his team finished.
“We hung tough and it’s part of the metal you wear and the intrinsic strength that you have,” Gooley said. “It’s all about mental strength.”
Quinnipiac (6-23, 6-6 NEC) now has sole possession of fifth place in the conference, leaving Long Island (6-10, 9-24) in eighth place.
Nisson singled home the first run of the game in the second inning, but the Bobcats poured it on in the third with five runs to take a commanding lead. The Bobcats batted around against Blackbird starter Chris Franzese, as senior center fielder Brian Monack delivered with a two-run single to left field. Joe Poletsky and Gabe Guerino added RBI hits later in the inning as well.
“I thought we were pretty good getting out in front,” said Gooley. “The horse came out of the track first and we got out in front.”
Freshman Alex Russow, starting pitcher, extended his scoreless streak to 18 innings as he shutdown Long Island over the first three innings, but the Blackbirds didn’t stay quiet for long as they rallied for four runs. Julian Castro snapped Russow’s streak with a three-run double to right field.
The Bobcats responded with a three-run fourth inning fueled by Gabe Guerino’s two-run single.
Russow’s day was done after a scoreless fifth, as Kevin Castodio took over for the sixth. Castodio was charged with four runs and Rinaldi took over with two out to complete the inning and hold a 9-8 lead.
The two teams exchanged two-run innings in the sixth and seventh.
Quinnipiac won the series opener on Friday, 9-5, and the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, 5-0, as the Bobcats showed their toughness and resilience in securing the final contest.
Photo credit: Charlotte Greene