HAMDEN, Conn. - The Quinnipiac University baseball team was swept by Bryant in two seven-innings games as part of a doubleheader Friday afternoon at the Quinnipiac Baseball Field, 3-0 and 4-3. The Bobcats drop to 14-34 overall and 13-14 in Northeast Conference play with the losses. Despite not being eligible for the NEC Tournament, the Bulldogs are the league's best team, posting a mark of 30-21 overall and 21-6 in conference games.
The day's first game was a pitcher's duel with Bryant's Eric Polvani and Quinnipiac's Kyle Birdsall (Orange, Conn.) each going the whole seven innings. The Bulldogs got on the board first on a fielding miscue by Birdsall in the fourth inning. With centerfielder Nick Campbell on third base, Birdsall tried a pick-off move that got behind the runner and third baseman Joe Poletski, allowing the first run to cross.
In the top of the sixth, Bryant added two insurance runs. After singling through the right side, catcher Jeff Virgus scored from third on sacrifice fly to center field by shortstop Zakary Cianciolo. The next batter, first baseman Jamie Skagarlind, singled to right field, scoring Campbell from second base.
That would be all the runs Polvani would need as he held the Bobcats to just one hit in seven complete innings. Sophomore second baseman Chris Migani (Orange, Conn.) singled to right field in the bottom of the sixth to break up the no-hit bid by the Bryant pitcher for the only Quinnipiac hit of the game as the team dropped the first game 3-0.
Polvani finished with nine strikeouts and just two walks, while Birdsall's strong showing was for not as he picked up the loss to even his mark at 4-4 this season. Birdsall allowed just two earned runs in the game, while striking out two and walking just two batters in seven innings of work.
In the second game of the day, Bryant scored three runs early before Quinnipiac mounted a late rally. In the top of the second inning, the Bulldogs' first three batters reached base. A double to deep right center by catcher Mike DelPonte plated Tim Norton and Skagerlind. Left fielder Kevin Brown doubled in the next at-bat to score DelPonte and take the 3-0 lead.
Starter Anthony Cinelli (Wall, N.J.) settled in after the second, allowing just one more run. Bryant starter Salvatore Lisanti pitched well until running into trouble in the fifth inning. Reaching on a field's choice, Ben Farina (Waterford, Conn.) stole second before scoring on a Migani RBI single for the first Quinnipiac run of the day.
Bryant's Skagerlind scored the team's fourth run on a single down the right field line by DelPonte in the top of the sixth. Junior shortstop Mickey Amanti (Waterford, Conn.) got the Bobcats started in the bottom of the inning with a single through the left side. He advanced to second on a wild pitch by reliever Mark Andrews before scoring on a throwing error by the Bulldogs' third baseman.
Farina started off the bottom of the seventh and final inning with a double to center. Kyle Nisson (Wallingford, Conn.) flied to the center fielder in the next at-bat to advance Farina to third. Migani followed by picking up his second RBI of the day with a check swing that pushed the ball to the second baseman, scoring Farina from third. Andrews collected his 12th save of the season by striking out the final batter of the game and ending the Bobcats' late-innings rally for the 4-3 Bryant win.
The two teams will meet again in the final game of the weekend series Saturday in Hamden. First pitch for the nine-inning contest is scheduled for noon from the Quinnipiac Baseball Field.