Softball Sweeps St. Francis (PA) In Doubleheader
HAMDEN, Conn. - Sophomore RHP Heather Schwartzburg (Mission Viejo, Calif.) fanned twelve batters and earned both wins as the Quinnipiac University softball team swept St. Francis (PA) in a conference doubleheader this afternoon. Senior third baseman Kelly Wall (Westport, Conn.) belted a two-run homer to lead the team to a come-from-behind 5-4 win in the first game, while a double steal in the second game helped the Bobcats to a 2-0 victory to complete the day. With the wins, Quinnipiac's record improves to 18-17 on the year with a 5-3 record in conference play. The Red Flash's record drops to 9-25 overall with a 1-9 mark in the Northeast Conference.
St. Francis scored three of their four runs on the day in the first inning of game one. Senior Stephanie Griffin started the game with a bunt single and was advanced to third on two consecutive infield groundouts. She was scored in the following at bat on a single by Raquel Rugani. Sophomore Paige Smith doubled to center in the next play to advance Rugani to third and both base runners were scored on a Karlie Miller single down the left field line to tally an early 3-0 lead.
Wall scored Quinnipiac's first run of the day when she reached on an error by the third baseman and was advanced to second on the throw. Freshman Jacquie Ristow (Seal Beach, Calif.) drove Wall home from third two plays later on a groundout to the first baseman.
The Red Flash scored their final run of the doubleheader in the top of the third, unearned as the base runner reached on an infielder error. The runner, Smith, was scored later in the inning on a Christina Aulbach single through the left side to take a 4-1 lead.
The Bobcats continued to chip away at the St. Francis lead, as two more runs crossed in the bottom of the third. Freshmen Alex Alba (Sylmar, Calif.) and Lauren Salgado (Covina, Calif.) scored the two runs in the third as they both singled to open the inning. Salgado was scored on an Emily Bellush (Newton, Mass.) single to center followed by Alba running in on a single by junior Kim Brzezinski (Tinley Park, Ill.)
Wall's homerun heroics came in the bottom half of the fifth inning. In similar fashion to her walk-off homer last weekend against Bryant, the senior struck the first pitch she saw and drilled it into centerfield for the two-run shot. Alba was scored on the blast, as she had reached on a single to right field earlier in the inning.
Bellush started from the circle for Quinnipiac, allowing four runs on seven hits in the first four innings. Schwartzburg pitched the final three stanzas, and struck out six in the relief effort.
In game two, the Bobcats and the Red Flash played through 5.5 scoreless innings before Quinnipiac crossed the plate twice in the same play in the bottom of the sixth. Senior Angela Casella (Oceanside, N.Y.) started the inning on base as she was hit by a pitch. Sophomore Alex Murray (Milford, Mass.) advanced Casella on a sacrifice bunt, and skipped to third on a bunt single by Salgado in the following play. With Casella threatening on third, the speedy Salgado stole second base and the Red Flash catcher fired the ball to the shortstop but couldn't reach Salgado in time. The minute the ball left the catcher's hand, Casella sped home and beat the return throw to the catcher, which went wide back to the fence. Spying the opportunity, Salgado raced home from second base to improve the Bobcats' lead to 2-0.
Schwartzburg pitched the complete second game for Quinnipiac in game two, picking up her 12th win and fifth shutout of the season. She allowed just four hits in 26 batters faced, and struck out six to boost her daily strikeout count to 12.
The Bobcats return to action on Thursday, April 15th when they host Fairfield University in a non-conference game. The first pitch is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.