Softball Sweeps Sacred Heart In Senior Day Doubleheader

HAMDEN, Conn. - Freshman Alex Alba (Sylmar, Calif.) drove in the game-winning run in game two of a conference doubleheader this afternoon as the Quinnipiac University softball team swept Sacred Heart University this afternoon in their final home event of the season. Senior Kelly Wall hit a three-run homer to lead the Bobcats to the 5-4 victory in game two following a 6-2 win in game one. With the wins, Quinnipiac's overall record improves to 26-22 on the season with a 13-5 record in the Northeast Conference. Sacred Heart drops to 23-26 on the year with a 10-8 record in the NEC with the losses.

The Pioneers jumped on the board first in game one, as senior Adrian Fitzsimon started the day with a solo homerun to right field in the top of the second inning. Fitzsimon's homer was her sixth of the season and gave Sacred Heart a 1-0 lead heading into the bottom half of the inning.

The Bobcats responded with two runs in the bottom of the second, taking a one-run lead over the Pioneers. Junior Kim Brzezinski (Tinley Park, Ill.) and Wall each reached base on errors before senior Heather Maffeo (Milton, Mass.) came to the plate in the eight-spot. Continuing her offensive surge from yesterday's doubleheader at Central Connecticut, Maffeo singled to the far left side of the shortstop, and scored Brzezinski and Wall for the 2-1 lead.

Two more runs crossed for Quinnipiac in the bottom of the third inning on another infield single, this time by senior Emily Bellush (Newton, Mass.). Katie Allendorfer (Glenside, Pa.) and Alba reached base in back-to-back at bats with Allendorfer drawing a walk and Alba reaching on an error before Bellush stepped to the plate. The senior singled to the shortstop and scored Allendorfer from third and Alba from second to extend the lead to 4-1 in favor of the Bobcats.

Sacred Heart drove their second run of the game in the top of the fourth inning to cut the lead in half. The first two batters of the inning, Courtney Lee and Jill Timmer, drew consecutive walks to earn runners at first and second. In the following play, Amanda Bradley smacked a single through the right side to bring Lee around to score.

Quinnipiac solidified their lead in the bottom of the fifth, where they scored two more runs to finalize the score at 6-2. Alba opened the inning with yet another single to the shortstop, and was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Brzezinski. Bellush drove Alba home in the following play with her second single and third RBI of the game. A single by Wall moved Bellush to third in the next play and Bellush scored on the catcher's unsuccessful throw to catch Wall in a steal attempt. The stolen base was Wall's third of the season.

Bellush earned the win in game one as she allowed two runs on four hits in 4.2 innings pitched. Sophomore Heather Schwartzburg (Mission Viejo, Calif.) came in for 2.1 innings of relief and allowed just three hits while striking out three.

Wall started her RBI-rally in game two in the bottom of the second inning where the Bobcats took an early 1-0 lead on Sacred Heart. Alba opened the inning with a walk and advanced to second in the next play on a groundout to the pitcher. Wall came to the plate in the seven-spot and singled up the middle to bring Alba around to score.

The Pioneers took the lead in the top of the fourth, tallying their second homerun of the day. With junior Taylor Froelich at second and two outs on the board, Fitzsimon went yard for the second time with a shot to center to take a 2-1 lead. Froelich helped extend the lead to 3-1 in the top of the sixth inning when she hit her fifth homerun of the year over the left field fence.

The Bobcats responded with a homerun of their own in the bottom of the sixth to take a 4-3 lead over the Pioneers. Maffeo and Bellush reached on consecutive errors to precede Wall coming to the plate with two outs on the board. Always a clutch hitter in such a position, Wall smacked her sixth homerun of the season to left field to score three Quinnipiac runs.

Sacred Heart came back to tie the game in the top of the seventh, opening the inning with three consecutive singles to load the bases. Carley Rudloff capitalized on the scoring threat and singled into left center to score the runner from third to make the score 4-4.

The Bobcats followed suit in the bottom of the seventh keeping their eyes on the sweep. Sophomore Alex Murray (Milford, Mass.) and senior Angela Casella (Oceanside, N.Y.) hit back-to-back singles to start the movement and were followed by Allendorfer who was intentionally walked. Alba came to the plate in the clean-up position and came up with a through the left side to bring Murray in to score from third for the instant 5-4 victory.

Schwartzburg pitched the complete second game for the Bobcats, earning four runs while striking out eight batters. Pioneers' ace, Jen Russell, earned the loss in both games as she gave up the winning run to Quinnipiac in game two in the relief effort.

The Bobcats return to action next weekend in their final match-up of the regular season. The game is a make-up date from a weather postponement, as the team will travel to Fairleigh Dickinson for a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m.