QU Baseball Clinches Berth In MAAC Championship Tournament With Split At Fairfield

The Quinnipiac University baseball team clinched a berth in the 2014 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Baseball Championship tournament with a doubleheader split at Fairfield. The Bobcats took the first game, 7-3, before dropping the nightcap, 6-2. The Bobcats moved to 16-26 overall and 11-8 in the MAAC. 

The Bobcats' postseason berth is their first since 2007 when Quinnipiac was the top seed in the Northeast Conference tournament after winning the regular season championship. The 2014 MAAC Championship will be hosted by Monmouth University at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood, N.J. on May 21-25. 

In the first game, Quinnipiac starter Justin Thomas (Enfield, Conn.) held the Stags scoreless over six innings before Fairfield out three runs on the board in its final at-bat. Thomas hurled 6 1/3 before giving way to Nick Fabrizio (Peabody, Mass.), who managed to record the final two outs. Matthew Batten (Shelton, Conn.) was 3-for-5 with two runs scored while Vincent Guglietti (East Haven, Conn.) and Rob Pescitelli (Bayshore, N.Y.) were both 2-for-3 with two RBI, as Pescitelli homered for the third time this season. Dale Long (Saratoga, Springs, N.Y.) was also 2-for-3. 

In the second game, Pescitelli led the way offensively for Quinnipiac with two hits and a RBI. Freshman Brandon Shileikis (North Dighton, Mass) took the loss  after giving up three runs on four hits over 1 2/3 innings. Fabrizio (Peabody, Mass) came in relief of Shileikis and tossed 4 1/3 innings, holding Fairfield scoreless while striking out two. Senior Gary Binkiewicz (Scotch Plains, N.J.) followed Fabrizio, and threw one inning while allowing one run with a strikeout. Freshman Matthew Osieja (Wyckoff, N.J.) tossed a scoreless inning in the 8th.  

Game 1 Recap
Sophomore Mike Palladino (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) led off the game with a double down the left field line before Matthew Batten singled up the middle to give Quinnipiac runners on first and third with no outs. Junior Lou Iannotti (North Haven, Conn) then flied out to left to score Palladino and move Batten to second as Quinnipiac jumped out to a 1-0 lead. Guglietti then doubled to right center to score Batten and make it a 2-0 game. 

In the top of the second Senior Mike Blumenthal (Dix Hills, N.Y.) was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and then moved to third on a single by Dale Long. Blumenthal scored to give Quinnipiac a 3-0 lead when Palladino reached on a fielder's choice. a

Quinnipiac put three runs on the board in the top of the third to increase its game to 6-0. Guglietti led off the inning with a single before Pescitelli hit a two-run homer over the right field wall to make it 5-0. After Blumenthal reached base, senior Nic Civale (East Windsor, Conn) then doubled down the left field line to score Blumenthal and make it a 6-0 lead for the Bobcats.

Fairfield got a rally going in the bottom of the 7th when Jack Giannini doubled to score Mac Crispino to make it a 7-1 game. Brian Murphy then scored on a wild pitch to cut the deficit to 7-2. Alex Witkus flied out to center to score Jack Giannini to cut Quinnipiac's lead to 7-3. Fabrizio then entered the game and haulted Fairfield's rally to preserve the 7-3 victory.  

Game 2 Recap
Fairfield took an early lead in the bottom of the second when Witkus singled to score Giannini to give the Stags a 1-0 lead. Rob LoPinto then singled up the middle to score Sal Ciccone and Witkus to extend the lead to 3-0.

Quinnpiac got on the board in the top of the fourth when Pescitelli reached on a fielder's choice as Iannotti scored to pull Quinnipiac within two runs, 3-1. Quinnipiac cut the lead to 3-2 in the top of the fifth when Palladino scored on Guglietti's ground ball to second base that was misplayed for an error. 

In the bottom of the fifth Giannini grounded out to score Brendan Tracy to extend the Fairfield lead to 4-2. Fairfield added another run in the bottom of the sixth when Ryan Plourde flied out to center to score Witkus and make it a 5-2 game.

The Stags tacked on another run in the bottom of the eighth when Dean Sadik scored on a balk to extend the lead to 6-2.

Quinnipiac was unable to score any more runs and lost by a final of 6-2.

Quinnipiac will look to bounce back as they host in-state rival and former NEC foe Sacred Heart on Tuesday, May 13 at 1 p.m. at the QU Baseball Field in Hamden, Conn.