By: Michael Radomski
WQAQ Quinnipiac Baseball Beat Writer
TAMPA (Fla.)- The Bobcats needed an eight run eighth inning to come back and defeat Michigan State 12-9.Quinnipiac lost to Michigan State in the season opener 8-5, but rallied from a 7-0 deficit to win this matchup yesterday afternoon.
Eric Weber started for Quinnipiac and struggled through a shaky first inning. Michigan State’s leadoff hitter Dennis Jones was hit by the 1st pitch of the game, a sign of wild things to come. Jones then stole second base and advanced to third as the throw got away from Wilson Matos. MSU rallied for the early 2-0 lead with RBI singles from Steve Gerstenberger and Evan Friedland.
Quinnipiac failed to score in their first two innings, while Michigan State seized the opportunity and added another run to the lead.
Up 3-0, entering the fourth, the Spartans added another three runs. In an inning that saw two wild pitches, two walks, and one hit by pitch, Michigan chased Eric Weber from the mound.
Weber pitched four innings allowing six runs, on seven hits, and three walks. Freshman Todd DeFrancesco entered in the 5th inning, trailing 6-0.
DeFrancesco retired the first two hitters, and then allowed a walk and a single. With runners on first and second with two outs, Brandon Doherty’s RBI single increased the lead the Spartan lead to 7-0.
The Bobcats however would not go quietly. The team rallied from a 3-0 deficit the day earlier verse Harvard, only to lose 4-3 in extra innings.
Quinnipiac would start the comeback in the bottom of the fifth inning. With two outs, Tim Binkoski singled home Brian Monack and Ryan Gress followed with a two-run double of his very own. Quinnipiac cut the lead to 4, hoping DeFrancesco could hold it.
The Connecticut native did just that, holding the Spartans scoreless in the top of the sixth. The Bobcats took advantage of this, adding another run in the bottom half.
Both teams went scoreless in the 7th, as Michigan State took a 7-4 lead into the eighth.Michigan State would add another run on a Steve Gerstenberger RBI double.In the bottom half of the eight, the Bobcats leapt on the scene, devouring the Spartans pitching. The eight run eighth inning started with an error, and a hit by pitch. Michigan State then pulled Adam Slusher in favor of Chris Cullen.
Cullen then walked Jeff Mainetti to load the bases with no body out. Coach Gooley then decided to use pinch hitter Jeff Carino for Michael Marmo.
Carino proved Coach Gooley right with a two run double bringing the Bobcats within two. Brian Monack then struck out, and Jeff Delaney followed with an RBI double shrinking the lead to one.
The Bobcats now trailed 8-7 with the tying run 90 feet away. Trying to keep the lead, Michigan State made a pitching change. The Spartans brought in reliever Nolan Moody for Chris Cullen.
Ryan Rizzo greeted Moody with a two run double to give Quinnipiac the unbelievable comeback and the lead, but the Bobcats weren’t done yet. Nolan Moody loaded up the bases once again with two walks, one intentional, for Pete Kummerfeldt.
Earlier in the game, Pete hit his first home run of the season driving the Bobcats within three runs, 7-4. This time around, the sophomore from New Jersey laced a bases clearing double to right center field giving the Bobcats a 12-8 lead.
Quinnipiac then handed the ball over to Joe Cesarini to shut the door closed in the ninth. Cesarini walked the first hitter, and Tony Clausen followed it up with an RBI double.
With the score 12-9, the freshman stepped up to finish this one. Cesarini then retired the Spartans 1-2-3 to wrap up the Bobcats second win of the season.
With the 12-9 win, the Bobcats improve to 2-2 on the season, and will start a 2-game series with Stetson tonight at 7. Michigan State drops to 5-6 with the loss.
GAME NOTE: Following the phenomenal week from 1B/DH Pete Kummerfeldt, the sophomore from New Jersey was named the NEC Player of the Week. Kummerfeldt hit .438 with 1 HR and 6 RBIs in the first four games for Quinnipiac. He played a pivotal role throughout the week including a game-tying RBI against Harvard in the 9th, sending the game to extra innings. Kummerfeldt’s 2-for-3, home run, 4 RBI performance aided QU’s win vs Michigan State. The home run kept the comeback moving, and the bases clearing double in the 8th gave Quinnipiac enough insurance runs for the victory.