Battle of Whitney Avenue lives up to its name, Bulldogs edge out Bobcats

Photo%3A+Rob+Lyon

Photo: Rob Lyon

Christian Beane

A midweek showdown between two Whitney Avenue universities ended up incredibly close as Ryan Hutchinson and the 9-20 Quinnipiac Bobcats took on Ben Gibbs and the 16-11 Yale Bulldogs, with Yale coming out on top 8-7.

On a cool Wednesday afternoon, runs were not hard to come by. After a one-two-three first inning by Hutchinson, the Bobcats’ offense struck. Second baseman Kyle Maves worked his way over to third, designated hitter Danny Melnick hit a fly ball to center field and Maves scored the first run of the game.

The Bulldogs answered quickly, and heavily, scoring six runs in the top of the second inning. Centerfielder Alec Atkinson was the first to get the Bulldogs on the board with an RBI single. Runs were then scored in the next three at-bats. Catcher Max Imhoff roped an RBI double, second basemen AJ Gaich hit a sacrifice fly and Imhoff came around to score on a wild pitch. A walk by shortstop Mason LaPlante forced Hutchinson out of the game, but the scoring was not done there. On the second pitch of the at-bat, right fielder Jimmy Chatfield crushed a ball over the left-field wall giving the Bulldogs a 6-1 lead.

Despite the huge inning by Yale, Quinnipiac pitching kept the Bulldogs from scoring over the next four innings with efforts from senior, Derek Goldrick, and graduate student, Carter Poiry. The two pitchers did not allow a single run, struck out four and only walked one batter.

For the Bobcats, their offense did not stay down as they slowly climbed back into the game. One run was scored in the fifth off of a safety squeeze by shortstop McGwire Tuffy, which allowed Anthony Donofrio to score, and was followed up by one run in the sixth off of a two-out double by Donofrio. After six innings, the Bobcats trailed the Bulldogs by a score of 6-3.

After the Bulldogs scored in the seventh on a sacrifice fly, the Bobcats’ bats started to catch fire. In the eighth inning, first baseman Michael Kohn kept his bat hot, crushing a fastball over the left-centerfield wall, his second extra-base hit of the game, making it a two-run ball game.

“The timing is there really, the rhythm, the timing it’s there, it’s getting better and better,” Kohn said. “I try to win a game for the team each at-bat.” 

Kohn now has a five-game hitting streak where he has hit three home runs and driven in seven runs.

Now with momentum on their side and only down by two, the Bobcats looked to finish the comeback in the ninth.

In the top of the ninth, a crucial error by the right fielder Melnick allowed infielder Carson Swank to score, giving the Bulldogs a three-run lead. But the Bobcats were not going down without a fight. A leadoff walk and a stolen base by Maves sparked hope in the Bobcat dugout. Now with two outs, the Bobcats still trailed by three when Keegan O’Connor stepped up to the plate. On the very first pitch he saw, O’Connor sent a ball opposite field over the right-field fence, sending the crowd and the Bobcat dugout into a frenzy.

“At that point, there’s no pressure on yourself, you just gotta go up there and try to extend the inning,” O’Connor said. 

With the Bobcats only down by one run with two outs in the ninth, left fielder, and pitcher, Donofrio, crushed a double over the left fielder’s head. The tying run was now on second base with the dangerous Kohn up at-bat. Despite working a good at-bat, Kohn went down swinging to end the game.

The Bobcats fell just short and dropped Wednesday’s game by a score of 8-7.

After one game of non-conference play, the Bobcats will be back facing MAAC opponents this weekend as they travel to face the 1-30 Iona Gaels.