Quinnipiac falls to Iona 9-6 in the first game of the weekend series

Mike King

The Quinnipiac Bobcats lost the first game of a weekend series to the Iona Gaels 9-6. 

Right-handed graduate student Tim Blaisdell started on the mound for the Bobcats. He went five innings and gave up five earned runs on nine hits and also had four strikeouts. Blaisdell settled in early and put away the first three batters he faced.

In the bottom of the first inning, senior outfielder Anthony Donofrio hit a double to left field, junior corner infielder Sebastian Mueller followed up with a single, but Donofrio was thrown out at third trying to advance. 

It seemed like the Bobcats might get to work early against Iona’s left-handed sophomore Carl Kuentzel, but he was solid throughout, going 6.1 innings while giving up four earned runs on nine hits. 

Iona would strike first in this contest as infielder Luca Lotito doubled to right field. Senior infielder Jim Pasquale would then hit a run batted in single to bring Lotito to the plate, making it 1-0 in the second inning. 

The Bobcats would not answer until the third inning when Matt DeRosa hit a solo home run to left field to tie the game at 1-1. In the next at-bat, outfielder Jared Zimbardo would also go yard for a solo home run as he put the Bobcats in front 2-1.

Quinnipiac would make noise once again in the fourth inning, as McGwire Tuffy singled to right. Senior utility player Matt Tesoriero would follow this up with a single to left field and all of a sudden the Bobcats had runners on first and second with no outs.

Two well-placed sacrifice bunts by first-year catcher Christian Smith and DeRosa would allow for Tuffy to score from third base, making it 3-1 in favor of the home team.

Iona took control in the fifth, however, as Lotito hit an RBI single to cut the lead to 3-2. Then, in a bases-loaded situation, Pasquale would double, bringing in three more runs for the Gaels. Iona now led 5-3.

To begin the sixth, sophomore right-hander Ryan Hutchinson came into the game to relieve Blaisdell. Hutchinson came into the game with a 1.80 ERA on the season but just didn’t seem to have it today. He would go on to hit the first two batters he faced. Graduate outfielder Will Jennings bunted to move the runners over to second and third. Hutchinson then walked two batters in a row to bring in a run for Iona, who now led 6-3.

Head coach John Delaney made a trip to the mound shortly after to bring in right-handed junior Andrew Cubberly. Cubberly came up huge in the sixth, striking out Lotito and Pasquale to end the inning.

Tesoriero would start off the bottom of the sixth for the Bobcats with a walk. With two outs in the inning and the Bobcats needing a run badly, Delaney turned to redshirt junior first baseman Sean Swenson to pinch hit for Matt DeRosa. Swenson came up clutch with a double to left field, bringing Tesoriero to score and making it 6-4. 

After the game, Delaney explained his decision to pinch hit Swenson revolved around getting someone to the plate with a little more power, saying “even though D-Ro hit a home run today, that’s not his game.”

The score would stand until the eighth inning when Lotito hit a double to left, bringing in an insurance run for the Gaels, who now led 7-4. Senior outfielder Nick Forney would add two more runs with a single to right field and the Gaels now had a commanding 9-4 lead late in the game.

Quinnipiac however was able to get on the board again thanks to a pinch-hit RBI single from senior outfielder Braydon Seaburg. A Swenson walk would cause a bases-loaded situation. Zimbardo walked, bringing in another run to the plate, making it 9-6. 

The Bobcats brought in left-handed first-year Matt Alduino to hold off Iona in the ninth, and that is exactly what he did. Alduino put away the first three batters he faced with relative ease to give his team a chance for a comeback victory. 

However, the comeback effort was short-lived as Iona turned a quick double play for the first two outs of the inning. Sophomore right-hander Matt Zguro was able to strike out Tesoriero for an Iona victory. 

When asked about the Bobcats’ comeback efforts, Delaney expressed that “we can’t be playing catch up all the time.”

Delaney explained that the key to defeating Iona in the re-match would be to “Have better at-bats…and take better swings.”

The Bobcats look for revenge against Iona tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 p.m. in Hamden, Connecticut.