Niagara wins in a rout, walk-off and a comeback blowout
The Niagara University Purple Eagles baseball team swept the Quinnipiac Bobcats in three games on Sunday and Monday. The two games on Sunday took place at Sal Maglie Stadium at Niagara Falls, N.Y, with Monday’s afternoon contest wrapping-up the series at Niagara’s Bob Field.
Game one on Sunday, April 9 saw Niagara resoundingly beat Quinnipiac 10-2. In the bottom of the first, the Purple Eagles jumped out to a 6-0 lead. Tanner Kirwer scored the first run thanks to an error by Quinnipiac first baseman Ryan Nelson. Back-to-back doubles by Phillippe Langlois and Trevor McCauley plated three more runs. Joel Brophy capped off the first inning with a two-run home run off starter Taylor Luciani.
Greg Cullen added a run in the bottom of the fourth, singling in Kirwer with a RBI single into centerfield. Niagara kept knocking in runs in the bottom of the seventh, as Brophy singled in a pair of runs and Julian Gallup was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, forcing in the 10th run for NU.
Of Niagara’s 11 hits in game one, three came off the bat of Brophy, who had four runs driven in, while Kirwer and McCauley each picked up two hits. Starter Cody Eckerson allowed just one hit while striking out a season-high seven hitters in 5.1 innings. Nate Mascellino came on in the sixth inning, allowing two earned runs on four hits in 3.2 innings.
Quinnipiac starter Luciani was pulled after 4.0 innings and seven runs allowed, while only one of the runs was earned. Six errors by Bobcats’ defenders did not help the team’s chances for a game one win. They finally cracked the run column in the top of the ninth against Mascellino, with Ryan Nelson connecting for his third home run of the year.
In game two Sunday night, Niagara walked off for a 2-1 win. They struck first in the bottom of the first, with Greg Cullen singling in Tanner Kirwer against starter Chris Enns. The 1-0 lead did not last long, as Quinnipiac second baseman Evan Vulgamore scored on a passed ball in the top of the second. Niagara starter Daniel Procopio did not allow another run for the remainder of the game. For Quinnipiac, Enns pitched 4.2 innings, striking out seven.
The 1-1 score lasted until the bottom of the seventh. With reliever Mike DellaMadaglia on the mound, Julian Gallup began the frame by drawing a walk and advancing to second on a successful sac-bunt from Kirwer. Another free pass, this time to Greg Cullen, was followed two batters later by an Owen Dziados walk-off RBI single, scoring Gallup to secure the Purple Eagles’ 2-1 win.
Procopio pitched a seven-inning complete game, holding the Bobcats to just three hits and one earned run. He earned his fourth win of the year, while his 11 strikeouts were his most since he fanned 12 against La Salle on March 3. Kirwer and Cullen both went 2-3 at the top of the Purple Eagles’ lineup, with Cullen picking up his first stolen base of the year.
Matching up again on Monday, April 10, the third meeting between the two clubs was more competitive for the first few innings, before Niagara blew the game wide open. Niagara came back from a 4-0 deficit in the first inning to win 17-8. With Matthew Brash getting the ball for the Purple Eagles, Quinnipiac took a 4-0 lead in the top of the first. Designated hitter Liam Scafariello’s sac-fly made it 1-0, and Ben Gibson plated a run with a single. Right fielder Andre Marrero then drove in a pair with a single of his own to cap off the top of the first.
Wyatt Hamilton started for the Bobcats, and Niagara cut the deficit to 4-1 in the bottom of the first, with Peter Battaglia flying out to centerfield for a RBI sac-fly. Niagara then took a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the second, with back-to-back two-run doubles from Kirwer and Cullen against Hamilton. Second baseman Geoff Seto came through in the bottom of the third, homering for the first time this season with a three-run shot. Hamilton left his start after 2.1 innings and eight earned runs, seven hits and three walks allowed.
Quinnipiac scored a fifth run in the top of the fourth, before Niagara countered with eight runs in the bottom half of the frame. Trevor McCauley singled in Cullen, and Dziados was hit by a pitch to force in a run with the bases loaded. With Purple Eagles still filling the bases, Joel Brophy singled in a third run. RBI by Kirwer and Cullen made it 14-5, before Kirwer scored on a wild pitch. Battaglia singled in Cullen with a single, ending Niagara’s eight-run frame and making it a 16-5 game. Both teams scored a run in the sixth inning, with Quinnipiac adding a run in the seventh and ninth innings, but they could not come back from a 17-8 final score.
Brash finished his outing with only one of his five runs allowed being earned, thanks to two errors, while striking out five over 5.0 innings of work. He remains perfect on the mound, sitting with a record of 5-0 in 2017.
Offensively, Cullen went 4-6 with four RBI, while Kirwer, Dziados and Brophy each had two hits. Kirwer, Seto and Peter Battaglia each drove in three runs in the victory.
The three wins brings the Purple Eagles’ record to 16-10 (7-2 in the MAAC) in 2017, and they improve to 6-0 in home games. In their next game, Niagara will face St. Bonaventure for a home doubleheader at Bobo Field on Tuesday, with first pitch scheduled for game one at 2:00 p.m.