Sunday Sweep Completed: Four opposite field homers lead Bobcats to 13-9 victory over Marist

Noah Epstein

The Marist crowd was electric, and the players in the dugout were ecstatic. 

The Red Foxes, after all, had just tied the game 6-6 with a Niko Amory three-run home run in the top half of the inning.

Jack Bowery was still on the bump, pitching his seventh inning of work, despite allowing six runs. He faced Jared Zimbardo, looking to use the momentum his team just gave him to start the inning off strong.

But Zimbardo, who already hit an opposite-field solo home run in the fifth, hit another homer past the feared hill in right-center to give his team a 7-6 lead. A lead that wouldn’t be relinquished by Quinnipiac.

Zimbardo hit two of four opposite-field jacks in the Bobcats’ 13-9 win over the Red Foxes on Sunday and completed a doubleheader sweep of their MAAC opponent.

The first oppo shot was off the bat of Sean Swenson, a three-run homer in the fourth inning that gave Quinnipiac its first lead of the game. 

The sophomore southpaw Bowery had been dominant the first time through the Bobcats’ batting order, retiring the first seven batters he faced and allowing only one hit through three innings. A Sebastian Mueller infield hit followed by a Kyle Maves hard line drive into right field set up Swenson for the go-ahead homer to put Quinnipiac up 3-2.

Despite his hot start, Bowery ended up allowing seven runs and nine hits in six innings. Maves talked about the adjustments his team made against the lefty starter.

“[Bowery] was quick from his leg lift to actually delivering the ball to the plate. He had a really quick arm,” Maves said. “So I felt like as a unit we were late in our first go around through the order. But Coach D (head coach John Delaney) and Coach (Trey) Stover (assistant coach) were just like ‘Be early. Earlier than you think and then you’re gonna actually be on time.’ So we were just trying to be as early as possible and I think that made us on time and able to drive the ball a little bit more.”

Zimbardo hit the two homers off Bowery, one in the fifth and one in the seventh, both right over the hill that gives center and right fielders trouble in almost every home game. The junior outfielder stressed how often he works on his approach to right field during batting practice.

“Every day non-stop,” Zimbardo said. “My first four rounds [of batting practice] are all back-side, low. It’s pretty simple, just stay the other way and let your hands do the work.”

After Zimbardo’s second opposite-field home run of the afternoon, Bowery was taken out of the game.

But the Bobcats’ offensive explosion hadn’t ended yet.

Keegan O’Connor took over right-center field power duties for Quinnipiac, blasting a ball into the exact same vicinity as the other three longballs. His was a three-run homer that gave the Bobcats a 10-6 lead in the seventh.

The opposite-field power led the Bobcats to a 13-9 win over the Red Foxes in Game two. 

Although the offense was prevalent in the win, starting pitcher Kevin Seitter followed up a great start against Rider with another great start on Sunday.

After getting off to a shaky start, allowing a run and loading the bases in the first inning, Seitter retired eight straight Marist batters. 

Delaney spoke about Seitter’s initial struggles and how he turned things around.

“[Seitter’s] command in the first inning wasn’t all there,” Delaney said. “He was in and out of the zone. And then after Rich [Cesca] (pitching coach) did his mound visit… that was when it started to change. That first inning – he did a good job recovering from that, getting out of that jam and minimizing it with only one run. And then after that, he started to have command of all his stuff.”

Seitter ended up pitching for six innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out four. 

His ability to limit the damage in the first and pitch six quality innings helped the team get its 10th win of the year, and it’s fourth in MAAC play.

Another key contributor was Maves, who went 2-4 and extended his hitting streak to 12 games. Delaney spoke highly of changes that Maves has made recently that have helped him at the plate.

“He’s got a little more confidence right now,” Delaney said. “He started off a little bit rough, wasn’t attacking pitches, and pitches he was attacking weren’t pitches that were suitable for his swing. I think right now he’s showing a little bit more discipline and he’s on time better. He’s had a couple swing changes that have helped that.”

The Bobcats will now go on a five-game road stand, starting with Central Connecticut State University on Tuesday, April 4.