May 9, 2010

Softball Sweeps Fairleigh Dickinson In Final Regular-Season Doubleheader

HACKENSACK, N.J. - Freshman Alex Alba drove in six runs for the Quinnipiac University softball team as they swept Fairleigh Dickinson in their final regular-season doubleheader this evening. Alba drove in three runs in each game, as the Bobcats earned a 7-4 victory in game one, followed by a 3-1 win in game two. Sophomore RHP Heather Schwartzburg (Mission Viejo, Calif.) earned both wins on the day as the Bobcats conclude the season with a 26-22 overall record with a 15-5 mark in the Northeast Conference.

The Bobcats tallied runs in four consecutive innings, closing out the scoring with four runs in the top of the fourth. Freshman Lauren Salgado (Covina, Calif.) got everything started in the first at bat of the game when she bunt singled down the third base line. The rookie followed up with her 14th and 15th stolen bases of the season to earn a Quinnipiac runner at third with one out on the board. Alba picked up her first RBI of the day in the following play when she singled to third base to score Salgado for a 1-0 lead.

The Knights matched the score in the bottom of the inning when sophomore Kristen Shreve reached base on an infield error to open the first. Shreve was advanced to second on a groundout in the next play before scoring an unearned run on a Mikayla Fernandez single.

Quinnipiac matched the score in the top of the second with an unearned tally of its own. Senior Kelly Wall (Westport, Conn.) reached first on a fielding error and advanced to third throwing errors. She was scored in the following play when fellow senior Kim Le Bel (Quincy, Mass.) smacked an infield hit that contributed to two consecutive errors by Fairleigh Dickinson and gave The Bobcats a 2-1 lead.

The teams continued to battle through the second and third, as the Knights regained the lead in the bottom of the second stanza. Three doubles by Fairleigh Dickinson in the inning gave way to two runs scored to earn a 3-2 lead over Quinnipiac. The Bobcats didn't allow the lead for long as two doubles by seniors Katie Allendorfer (Glenside, Pa.) and Heather Maffeo (Milton, Mass.) resulted in a run scored to even the game at 3-3.

Allendorfer and Alba led the way in the four-run fourth inning for Quinnipiac to take a 7-3 lead over the home team. Sophomore Alex Murray (Milford, Mass.) and Salgado reached base early in the inning, as Murray walked and Salgado hit her second single of the day to earn runners at first and second. Both runners were scored in the following play as Allendorfer smacked a two-run single into center. Alba followed her lead, hitting her second homerun of the season in the next at bat to score the seventh run of the game.

Fairleigh Dickinson scored one last run in the bottom of the seventh to finalize the score at 7-4 as Shreve tripled in the first at bat of the inning. She was scored two plays later on a Fernandez groundout to second.

Senior Emily Bellush (Newton, Mass.) started the game from the circle for Quinnipiac, pitching 2.1 innings and earning three runs on six hits. Schwartzburg came in for the relief effort and allowed one hit while striking out five.

The two teams battled through five scoreless innings before the Bobcats opened the scoring in the top of the sixth. Senior Angela Casella (Oceanside, N.Y.) opened the inning with a double into right center, and was moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Allendorfer. Casella came around to score in the next play as Alba singled into right field to take a 1-0 lead over the Knights.

Fairleigh Dickinson evened the score in the bottom of the stanza with an unearned run scored by Brianne Benedict. The junior reached base with two outs in the inning on a fielding error and stole second in the following play. Senior Kristen Coughlan drove in the lone run for the Knights in the next play as she singled through the left side to drive Benedict in from second.

Three consecutive singles in the top of the seventh gave the Bobcats offensive confidence to regain the lead. With Salgado at third and Allendorfer at third, Alba came to the plate and singled down the left field line to score both runners to take the 3-1 lead.

Schwartzburg struck out two batters in the bottom of the seventh to confirm the victory for the Bobcats. The sophomore's 20th win of the season consisted of three hits and five more strikeouts in the complete effort.

Quinnipiac returns to action next weekend in the Northeast Conference Championship hosted by Long Island University. The opponent is yet to be determined, but will be announced by the start of the upcoming week. The double-elimination tournament will run from May 14-15 at LIU Field in Brooklyn, N.Y.