Quinnipiac topples No. 2 seed Canisius to advance to MAAC semifinals

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Quinnipiac topples No. 2 seed Canisius to advance to MAAC semifinals

Morey Hershgordon

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Photo courtesy Quinnipiac Athletics

By Morey Hershgordon

On Wednesday, it was Thomas Jankins. A complete game effort to fend off upset-minded Marist.

Today, it was Robert Hitt.

The freshman hurler helped catapult Quinnipiac past Canisius and into Friday afternoon’s Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference semifinal for the first time in program history.

The right-hander was masterful. In seven innings of work, Hitt allowed just one run on four hits. He worked from ahead and spotted his off-speed pitches en route to seven strikeouts over the course his outing.

Catcher Lou Iannotti praised both Jankins and Hitt. “They both just pounded the zone. They kept everything down. They forced guys to put it in play and let our defense do the work. It’s all you can really ask [for].”

In a rematch of last year’s playoff game, the Bobcats got the better end of the Golden Griffs the second time around. They flashed the gloves and contributed timely hits to notch a dominant 6-1 victory against the No. 2 seed.

“The kids played great today,” head coach John Delaney said in an interview with MAAC.TV. “We got some big hits. Obviously, anything can happen in this tournament. We still have to play our game and still have to get two more wins to try and get this title.”

Hitt and Canisius starter Alex Godzak both fired five consecutive zero’s to begin the game. But it was the heart of the Quinnipiac lineup that got things going in the sixth.

Scott Donahue, Matt Batten, and Vin Guglietti all singled to load the bases with no outs. Iannotti then smacked a single through the right side to plate two runs.

“It’s pretty easy when all you have to do is do your job,” Iannotti said. “I’m pretty lucky to have every guy in front of me be first team all-MAAC.”

After the runners advanced to second and third on the throw to the plate by the right fielder, Rob Pescitelli, who was injured for most of the season, hit a sacrifice fly to cap off the three run inning.

In the bottom half, Hitt kept cruising. Following a leadoff single, he managed to strike out two of the next three batters including MAAC Player of the Year Brett Siddall. From there, Quinnipiac added some insurance runs to pad its lead.

“We got the big money hits today that got the runs in,” Delaney said. “We were productive with runners in scoring position and less than two outs.”

Win the win, Quinnipiac continues its stellar play over the last two months. It is now 27-13, a winning percentage of .675, since March 22.

All eyes are now on Friday afternoon’s affair with Siena. First pitch is scheduled for Noon. Although the Bobcats did take two of three from the Saints earlier in the season, Delaney knows just how good the reigning MAAC Champions are.

“They’re playing extremely well right now. They have very good pitching, not only starting pitching, but relief pitching. It’s going to be a tough game for us, but we’re ready for the challenge.”

The catcher believes his team needs to clone its performance yet again.

“We just have to continue to play the style that we’re playing right now and other teams will be in trouble.”


Extra bases

  • On Thursday, Quinnipiac’s 2 through 5 hitters combined to go 9-for-16 with four runs batted in, four runs scored, and three walks.
  • Matt Batten made history, again. The sophomore has now delivered at least one hit in 24 straight games. It is the longest hitting streak in Quinnipiac baseball history.
  • Quinnipiac and Siena played back in late March. Siena exploded for four runs in the top of the ninth to extended a 4-3 lead and win 8-3. Quinnipiac won both of the final two games 3-2.
  • In the MAAC Tournament thus far, Lou Iannotti has tallied six runs batted in.
  • In 10 plate appearances, slugger Vin Guglietti has an on-base percentage of .800. He is 5-for-7 with three runs batted in, two runs scored, and three walks.
  • Freshman Ben Gibson hit a moon shot over the right centerfield wall, his first career postseason hit. The four-bagger is his fifth of the season.