FLUSHING, N.Y. – The Queens College baseball team's bid for a postseason appearance came up just short, as the Knights' season came to an end after dropping a pair of East Coast Conference (ECC) games to the University of Bridgeport Purple Knights on Monday at Hennekens Stadium. Bridgeport took game one, 7-5, and game two, 7-2.
Queens needed to sweep the doubleheader to pass Bridgeport in the conference standings and earn the final spot in the ECC Championship. The Knights cap off their season at 18-23 overall and 10-15 in the ECC, while the Purple Knights (19-23, 13-12 ECC) extend their season as the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament.
Early on, it looked like Queens would be on its way to victory in game one, holding a lead through the first six innings. However, the Knights' bullpen could not maintain the lead, as the Purple Knights scored six runs over the final four innings.
Queens jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning after loading the bases with one out. Junior Karl Klesin was hit by a pitch with the bags full, forcing home freshman Louis Antos for the first run. The next batter, senior Joe Morris, drove in junior Jonathan Temenak with a sacrifice fly to center field to give the Knights a 2-0 advantage.
After Bridgeport cut the lead to 2-1 on a solo home run by Casey McCone in the third, Queens extended its lead to three with another pair of runs in the fifth. Antos smacked an RBI double to left to score junior Thomas Parish, and then two batters later, senior Joseph Pidoto drove in Antos on an RBI single to center, as the Knights took a 4-1 lead.
Things went downhill for Queens starting in the sixth. Daren Grabowski hit a two-run double to center to bring the Purple Knights back within just one in the sixth, forcing the Knights to turn to their bullpen. Bridgeport tied the game at 4-4 in the seventh on a Dave Egeland RBI single, and the Purple Knights took their first lead, 5-4, on a Cam Overbaugh single in the top of the eighth. The Purple Knights added two more runs on four hits in the ninth to take a 7-4 lead.
Sophomore Brian Watters led off the bottom of the ninth with his first career home run, a solo shot, cutting the deficit down to just two. Two batters later, Antos singled to left, as the tying run came to bat. But Andrew Oswald got the final two outs to pick up the save for Bridgeport and eliminate Queens from playoff contention.
Antos led the way, going 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI. Temenak and Parish each went 1-for-3 with a run, while Watters homered in his lone appearance at the plate. Cameron Burt was handed a no decision after giving up six hits and three runs over 5.2 innings.
Again, the Knights jumped out on top first in the second game, but the Purple Knights scored all seven of their runs over the final three innings to take the victory.
The Knights scored a pair of runs in the third inning, with Antos continuing his success from the first game by leading off the inning with a double down the left field line. Making his first career appearance at the plate, senior Joseph Broderick, the Knights' top starting pitcher who instead got the start as the designated hitter in game two, made his first career hit count, driving in Antos with an RBI single up the middle. Two batters later, Broderick scored his first run, as Pidoto laced a single to left to put Queens up, 2-0.
However, Zach Burger hit a two-out grand slam in the top of the fifth to give Bridgeport a 4-2 lead. The Purple Knights added a run in the sixth and two more in the seventh to take a commanding 7-2 lead that they would not relinquish.
Antos went 2-for-3 with a run, while Watters also went 2-for-3. Queens had the opportunities it needed in both contests, but left eight runners on base in the first game, and another six were left stranded in the second game.
Entering the doubleheader, the Knights had won seven of their last 11 games, including five ECC games, making a late playoff push that came down to the very last day of the regular season. Despite facing key injuries and constant adversity, Queens won 10 ECC games this season, its highest total since 2013.