Senior Day Split: Quinnipiac ties series with Marist in doubleheader


Photo: Rob Lyon

Game One:

On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, the Bobcats honored three of their graduating students before their last home day of the season. Outfielder Kayla Jensen, catcher and utility player Ela Henry and outfielder Sydney Bruner all took the field with their parents before the game started.

The celebration was followed by a comeback victory by the Bobcats, scoring four runs in the seventh inning to walk it off in game one.

The Bobcats took the field behind Jaclyn Gonzalez, who made her 20th appearance of the year. On the other side, the 20-24 Marist Red Foxes attempted to spoil the senior day celebration behind Calista Phippen.

Early on for the Bobcats, offense was hard to come by as the first four innings went by before a runner crossed the plate. For the Red Foxes, the offense showed up out of the gate. In the first inning, third baseman Miah McDonald drove a single into the outfield, scoring Shea Walsh as the first run of the game.

After a quiet second inning by both sides, Marist was able to increase its lead in the third. With two runners on, McDonald struck once again, drilling a double into left-center scoring Caroline Baratta and Walsh. The next batter, Maddie Pleasants, snuck a ground ball up the middle, scoring McDonald. After three innings, Marist led the Bobcats by a score of 4-0.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Bobcats got creative to score their first run of the game. Gianna Palmisano used her speed to beat out an infield single, and then a bunt single from Karolyn Walker and a throwing error by the third baseman McDonald allowed Palmisano to reach third. A double steal attempt by both Walker and Palmisano scored Quinnipiac’s first run of the game.

Through six and two-thirds innings, the Bobcats had no answer for Phippen. She had eight strikeouts, only one walk and no earned runs allowed and was one out away from finishing out a 4-1 Marist win.

But with two outs to go in the bottom of the seventh and the Bobcats still down three, the Bobcat bats caught fire. With two runners on and two outs, Brooke Hilliard perfectly placed a fly ball over the right fielder’s head and dove into third with a two-RBI triple, scoring both Walker and Julia Woeste.

The tying run was only 60 feet away with Kayla Thomas up at-bat. And Thomas cashed in immediately, drilling a single to left field, scoring Hilliard and tying the game at four. Both benches and the crowd were on the edge of their seats as Lala Pascual stepped up to the plate. Just like Thomas, Pascual wasted no time and sent a hard single up the middle. After a misread by Marist center fielder Sam Freeland caused the ball to roll to the fence, pinch-runner Alyssa Noce sprinted around the bases, scoring all the way from first to win the game.

The Bobcats had done it. After it seemed like all hope was lost with two outs in the seventh, the Bobcat lineup strung together several crucial hits, scoring four runs with two outs, giving them a huge comeback win.

At the end of the day, Taylor Walton, who came in to pitch both the sixth and seventh innings, finished the day as the winning pitcher. Despite a strong six and two-thirds innings, Phippen was the game’s losing pitcher.

The walk-off single was a great start to the afternoon, but the Bobcats and Red Foxes were back at it again shortly after for game two of the doubleheader. 


Game Two:

Following the electric walk-off win in game one, the Bobcats dropped the second game of the doubleheader 13-5 to Marist on Saturday.

Marist wasted no time getting the early lead with a quick burst of runs in the first inning. Junior catcher Shea Walsh started the inning off with a single for the Red Foxes. Junior Sam Freeland then reached first on a dropped strike three. Graduate student and infielder Caroline Baratta ripped a ball through the left side of the infield to score Walsh from third to take the early 1-0 lead. 

Then sophomore Miah McDonald scored Freeland on a fielder’s choice making it a 2-0 Marist lead. Starting pitcher Maddie Pleasants blooped a single into center field to get on base. Sophomore Alyssa Grupp was then hit by a pitch which loaded the bases. Junior Meghan Davis scored McDonald on another fielder’s choice to make it a 3-0 Red Foxes lead. Then it was a sacrifice fly by freshman Maddie Gore which scored the Red Foxes’ last run of the first inning making it an early 4-0 ballgame.

Quinnipiac bounced back with no hesitation in the bottom of the first inning to take a chunk out of the Red Foxes lead. Senior Bridget Nasir led off for the Bobcats and smacked a ball down the right field line for a triple. First-year Brooke Hilliard scored Nasir from third with a fielder’s choice to make it a 4-1 Marist lead. Two more Bobcats got on base with a single from sophomore infielder Kayla Thomas and a double by last game’s walk-off hero Lala Pascual. Graduate student and outfielder Kayla Jensen then scored both runners with a double to left field to cut the Marist lead to just 4-3 after one inning of action.

After two scoreless innings, the Red Foxes exploded in the fourth inning. The inning started with a walk by senior Hailee Jantorno. Walsh then scored Jantorno on an RBI double to extend the Marist lead to 5-3. Freeland ripped a single through the left side of the infield to score Walsh, making it a 6-3 contest. Barratta advanced Freeland on a single and then McDonald reached first on a walk. Pleasants reached first base on a fielder’s choice which scored Freeland from third, making it 7-3 Marist.

Marist kept its foot on the gas in the fourth inning, scoring two runs after Davis reached first on another fielder’s choice, which scored McDonald from third. Quinnipiac struggled to get control of the ball, leading to Barratta scoring all the way from second on an error, making it 9-3 Red Foxes. In the same inning that started with a Jantorno walk, Jantorno walked again putting another runner on the base for Marist. Walsh then hit a single that scored pinch runner Kaitlyn Husic and Pleasants extending the lead to a whopping 11-3 Red Foxes.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Bobcats responded with a few runs of their own. Hilliard singled through the middle, followed by a single from Thomas. Pascual walked to load the bases for the Bobcats. A sacrifice fly by Walton scored Hilliard from third to cut the Marist lead to 11-4. Jensen’s second double of the game scored Thomas and made the game 11-5 Marist.

Jensen had two doubles and three RBIs in game two of her senior day, but she is looking forward to making a playoff push.

“It’s amazing that it was on senior day, but I want to keep it rolling so that we have a chance at the MAAC tournament,” Jensen said.

The Red Foxes kept rolling, tacking on two more runs in the top of the fifth inning. Grupp’s double in the gap scored Pleasants, and another double by Davis scored Grupp from second to make it a 13-5 Bobcat deficit.

Senior catcher Ela Henry hit a single in the bottom of the fifth inning, which was a big moment for her and the Bobcats crowd on senior day. However, the game was called after five innings and the Bobcats dropped the second game of the doubleheader with a final score of 13-5.

Quinnipiac is now 12-23 on the season after splitting the series with Marist, but today’s comeback win showed that the Bobcats have a chance to make the MAAC tournament, despite currently being one place out of contention.

Head coach Hillary Smith is very happy with how her team rallied back in the seventh inning of game one.

“To be able to even do that and come back against a great team… that was amazing and big,” Smith said. “That just makes us feel like no matter what the score is we can do it.”

The Bobcats will play in another doubleheader Sunday against Iona with hopes of making the MAAC tournament.