Baseball Splits with Quinnipiac, Sets Program Victories Record
FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The Fairfield University baseball team split a doubleheader with Quinnipiac University this afternoon on Alumni Diamond. The Stags fell, 7-3, in the opener but took the second game, 6-2, to capture the series. Fairfield improved to 28-20 on the year to break the program record for wins in a season and moved to 13-7 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC).
Senior Ryan Plourde played in his 194th and 195th career games, the most by any Stag in program history. Plourde has started 189 of those contests and is just three starts away from the program record.
Fairfield has four regular season games left on the slate. The Stags travel to Seton Hall on Tuesday for a 6pm contest. Fairfield returns home to host its regular season finale against Marist, May 16-17. The Stags and the Red Foxes play a single game at 3pm on Friday followed by a doubleheader on Saturday at 12pm. Prior to first pitch on Saturday, the Stags will honor their senior class.
The 2014 MAAC Baseball Championship will be held May 21-24 at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood, N.J. Fairfield, Canisius, Siena, Quinnipiac, and Monmouth have all qualified with the sixth and final berth up for grabs entering the final weekend of play.
Game One Recap: Fairfield’s rally in their last at-bat fell short as Quinnipiac clipped the Stags, 7-3. The Bobcats scored in each of the first four innings while Justin Thomas took a one-hit shutout into the seventh.
Quinnipiac (16-26; 11-8 MAAC) scored twice in the opening stanza and moved to a 3-0 lead in the top of the second. The Stags threatened in the bottom of the second inning, loading the bases with two outs but Quinnipiac was able to get out of the jam. The Bobcats pushed three runs across the plate in the top of the third inning for the 6-0 lead. The Stags threatened once more in the bottom of the third. With one out, Witkus bunted for a base hit while Plourde walked. Both runners moved into scoring position on a fly out, but the Bobcats got out of the inning unscathed. Quinnipiac scored their final run of the day in the top of the fourth.
Fairfield mounted a comeback in the bottom of the seventh. Rookie Mac Crispino led off with a walk while pinch hitter Brian Murphy reached on an error. Giannini then delivered a pinch-hit double to drive in the Stags’ first run of the day. Murphy later scored on a wild pitch. A sacrifice fly by Witkus pulled the Stags within 7-3. Plourde followed with a single but reliever Nick Fabrizio was able to get the final two outs of the inning.
Thomas (2-4) picked up the win, going 6.1 innings and giving up three runs, two earned, on three hits and five walks. Sophomore Mike Wallace (4-5) took the loss after a tough outing. Sophomore Tim Duggan threw 2.0 innings of relief, allowing a run on three hits with three strikeouts. Rookie Kyle Dube threw 2.2 innings of relief allowing a hit and a walk.
Game Two Recap: Fairfield bounced back by getting their offense going in the 6-2 victory. The Stags had 11 hits, six of which came off the bats of Giannini and Witkus.
Fairfield jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. With two outs, Giannini singled and stole second base. After Sal Ciccone walked, Witkus singled to centerfield to drive in the Stags’ first run. Junior Dean Sadik followed with a walk to load the bases. Senior Rob LoPinto came through with a single up the middle to plate Witkus and Ciccone for the 3-0 advantage. Plourde walked to load the bases but Quinnipiac was able to get out of the inning.
The Bobcats scored a run in the top of the fourth inning and pulled within 3-2 in the top of the fifth inning as they scored on an error. The Stags got the run back in the bottom half of the inning, as Giannini squeezed home Brendan Tracy. Fairfield struck again in the bottom of the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly by Plourde. Fairfield’s sixth run of the game came in the bottom of the eighth inning as Quinnipiac balked in a run.
Junior Tucker Panciera improved to 7-2 on the season, throwing 2.1 innings of hitless and scoreless relief. He allowed just one walk while striking out two batters. Sophomore Aaron Howell received the no-decision after going 4.2 innings and allowing just two runs, one earned, on two hits with three strikeouts.
Witkus was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and one driven in while Giannini was 3-for-3 with a run and a RBI. LoPinto was 2-for-5 with two RBIs. Plourde went 1-for-2 with two walks.