Quinnipiac snaps five-game losing streak with electrifying extra-innings win over Hartford


Photo: Rob Lyon

Connor Youngberg

Quinnipiac won its seventh game of the season Tuesday against Hartford in a hard-fought 9-8 extra innings win.

The Bobcats got the early lead over the Hawks after an RBI double by graduate student Ian Ostberg that scored junior designated hitter Danny Melnick from second.

Hartford bounced right back, scoring two runs in the second inning after junior catcher Tyler Holmes put a ball into play with the bases loaded and zero outs. It resulted in a double play for the Bobcats, but sophomore Jake Santiago scored from third making it a 1-1 ballgame. Kyle Hawes batted in another run with a single to left field that made the score 2-1 in favor of the Hawks.

Hartford wasn’t done just yet as sophomore Brett Anderson singled to center field, then quickly stole second base. First baseman Noah Rivera then popped a ball into center field and reached base after a Bobcats error, scoring Anderson and bringing the Hawks’ lead to 3-1. Another base hit by infielder Daniel Burnett scored Rivera and gave Hartford its biggest lead of the game.

In the fourth inning, Quinnipiac’s catcher Keegan O’Connor injured his hand on what was called catcher’s interference. O’Connor’s glove got in the way of Hartford infielder Martin Chavarria’s swing, which led to Chavarria’s bat colliding with the hand of O’Connor.

Senior infielder Kyle Maves was then substituted as an emergency catcher. Maves had previously played zero games at catcher in his college career.

“I caught a little bit, but I kind of stopped after (high school) and made that full-time switch to the infield, but this winter, Coach (John Delaney), because we only have two catchers, had me start catching bullpens while I was at home,” Maves said.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, senior infielder Sam LaChance singled to center field, which scored Melnick from second and cut the Hartford lead to just 4-2.

It was the fifth inning where the Bobcats really got the bats going and finally took the lead from the Hawks. After Quinnipiac opened up the inning with three consecutive walks, Ostberg ripped a ball back at the pitcher for a two-RBI double. LaChance then popped a ball up in the air that dropped right between the shortstop and the left fielder for another two runs, making it a 6-4 Bobcat lead.

Quinnipiac kept its foot on the gas with a huge home run by senior Michael Kohn, which extended the lead to 7-4.

Hartford then answered in the next inning when junior star Tremayne Cobb Jr. scored from third after shortstop McGwire Tuffy threw a ball over the first baseman’s head trying to make a play.

The Bobcats responded in the bottom of the seventh with a Kohn sacrifice fly that scored Melnick from third and made the Bobcats’ lead 8-5.

Just when Quinnipiac thought it could run away with this game, Hartford showed signs of life. After two baserunners got on early for the Hawks, junior infielder Logan Cole batted both runners in for a single that cut the lead to 8-7. It was clear that the Hawks weren’t finished yet, as Cobb Jr. ripped a single through the middle that scored Cole and tied things up at 8-8.

Nine innings of play was not enough to decide a winner, and the game went to extra innings.

After a scoreless tenth inning, the Bobcats got runners on base early following a hit-by-pitch and two consecutive walks. Hartford relief pitcher Julien Giroux-Harvey seemed extremely rattled by the energy of Quinnipiac’s bench. Junior outfielder Sean Swenson pinch-hit for the Bobcats and put a ball in play. The third baseman tried to throw home, but a costly error by the Hawks led to a 9-8 walk-off win for the Bobcats.

Quinnipiac senior relief pitcher Anthony Ambrosino walked away with the win after holding the Hawks scoreless in both extra innings and allowing just one hit. Ambrosino was just one of many Quinnipiac relievers to hold things down on the mound after Hartford jumped to a 4-1 lead.

“We have pressure on us, we go down 4-2… then (we) take a lead and then they climb back,” Delaney said. “You could easily let things kind of unravel, but the back end bullpen did a great job getting out of some of those jams there.”

With this win, the Bobcats end their five-game losing streak and improve to 7-19 on the season. Quinnipiac will try to build on this momentum when it faces a red-hot Monmouth team in a three-game series later this week.