Rams stunt Quinnipiac comeback as URI hangs onto one-run victory


Photo: Kaylyn Terry

Eric Zank

HAMDEN, Conn. – Just two days after dropping two of three from the Rider University Broncs, the Quinnipiac University baseball team returned to their home ballpark in Hamden, and fell in a nailbiter to the University of Rhode Island, 8-7. 

The Bobcats went into Tuesday’s matchup having lost five of their last seven games, yet on the heels of a dominating 12-2 victory at Rider University on Sunday. The first inning Tuesday afternoon had all the promise of a complete 180 from Sunday’s game in Lawrenceville. Quinnipiac starting pitcher Sam Favieri walked the first three batters he faced, before getting yanked without recording a single out. 

Frank Kraska was brought into the game, however gave up two runs in the opening frame, both of which were charged to Favieri. After the top of the first inning, there was a huge sense of relief in the Bobcat dugout, after Kraska limited the damage to just two runs. 

After a scoreless bottom of the first, Rhode Island tacked on another run in the second inning, as the Rams looked to pad their lead. Quinnipiac wasn’t going away that easily though, as a two-run single off the bat of McGwire Tuffy brought the Bobcats within one in the home second inning. 

As the game carried on, the Rams continued their offensive dominance by adding at least a run in each of the next three innings. 

By the end of the fifth inning, URI had a commanding 8-4 over Quinnipiac. 

The sixth was held scoreless, as the Bobcats struggled to manufacture any kind of offensive threat to the Rams’ four-run lead. It took but one inning to change that, however, as the seventh frame was a breakout one for Hamden’s home team. 

After a leadoff single and a succeeding walk, Anthony Donofrio came to bat with two on and no outs. The 6’3” outfielder drilled one to right field, and reached third base for a two-run triple. 

Now just a two-run contest, the Bobcat dugout had life once again. Every pitch got a raucous reaction from the boys in blue and gold, especially after URI was forced to make a pitching change. 

The next batter, Sebastian Mueller, struck out swinging on a ball in the dirt, making the first out of the inning. 

Bunting to drive in a run in the next at bat was Bobcats catcher Kyle Maves, while simultaneously recording the second out of the inning. A three-run inning had turned the game into a sudden barnburner, only separated by a run. 

After the next two Quinnipiac batters walked and put the tying and potential winning runs on base, outfielder Braydon Seaburg grounded out to the pitcher, leaving two batters stranded and the Bobcats down by one. 

There was good news and bad news in the final two innings for Quinnipiac. The good news was they didn’t surrender a run over the final six outs. The bad news was they didn’t produce any of their own, either. 

With two runners aboard in the bottom of the ninth, John Heitzman struck out looking on a payoff pitch, which halted the Bobcats’ comeback while one run shy of tying the game. 

The Quinnipiac baseball club dropped to 7-14 with this loss, and will now look ahead to a three-game series at home this weekend, facing off against the Marist Red Foxes as their 2023 campaign continues on.