Quinnipiac University Bobcats (11-6, 0-0 NEC) at
Mount St. Mary’s University Mountaineers (6-17, 0-0 NEC)
Friday, March 23, 2012 – 2:00 p.m. (DH)
MSM Softball Field – Emmitsburg, Md.
Quinnipiac University Bobcats (11-6, 0-0 NEC) at
Monmouth University Hawks (7-6, 0-0 NEC)
Sunday, March 25, 2012 – 12:00 p.m. (DH)
MU Softball Park – West Long Branch, N.J.
Bobcats Open NEC Action This Weekend On The Road
The Quinnipiac University softball team opens Northeast Conference play with a pair of doubleheaders on the road this weekend. The Bobcats travel to play Mount St. Mary’s on Friday, March 23 at 2 p.m., followed by Monmouth on Sunday, March 25 at noon.
Live stats for both NEC twinbills will be available by clicking on the appropriate links of the Quinnipiac softball schedule at the Official Website of Quinnipiac Athletics, www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com.
Scouting the Mount
The Mountaineers enter Friday’s games at 6-17 on the year, with a 2-8 away record and 4-9 mark in neutral contests. The Mount officially opens league action against the Bobcats, while the doubleheader also stands as the team’s 2012 home opener. Most recently, Mount St. Mary’s competed at the UMBC Spring Classic where it went 1-3 on the weekend. After defeating Rhode Island, 8-0, the team lost three straight tourney games, including losses to NEC foe Sacred Heart, Brown and Georgetown. Two Mountaineers post batting averages above .300, including Holly Buckel, who’s currently batting .347 (17-for-49). Four members of the MSM squad have each scored eight runs, including Liz Christiansen, who also ranks first on the team in total bases (29), RBI (15) and homeruns (4). Nicole Pagano leads the Mount with a 5-4 record and 1.69 ERA in 10 appearances and nine starts. She’s pitched 62 innings, compiling a team-high 62 strikeouts on the year.
All-Time Against Mount St. Mary’s
The Bobcats lead the all-time series with the Mountaineers, 7-5. QU is 4-2 at home against the Mount and 3-3 in away games. Last year, Quinnipiac split a pair of contests against Mount St. Mary’s on April 2, 2011. The Bobcats lost 11-6 in the first outing, but came back to win 6-2 in game two. The Bobcats’ Alex Alba and Jordan Paolucci each hit homers in the NEC victory.
The Hawks enter the weekend at 7-6 overall after appearing in three non-conference tournaments. Most recently, Monmouth competed at the 2012 Seton Hall Pirate Classic, where the Hawks went 2-3 in tournament action. In its most recent contest, the Hawks outlasted Manhattan, 3-2, on March 18. Prior to playing Quinnipiac, Monmouth will host NEC opponent Sacred Heart in a twinbill on Saturday, March 24. Overall, the Hawks are led by Vanessa Cardoza’s .415 batting average (17-for-41) and 14 RBI. Christine Scheer is currently batting .381 and ranks first on the team in total bases (28) and runs scored (12), while Katie Schumacher has made an impact this season with a .382 batting average, 12 RBI and seven runs. Schumacher and Scheer have combined for seven homers this season. Lauren Sulick has won a team-best five games within the circle and leads the Hawks with a 2.24 ERA, while Alissa Schoelkopf has combined for a .243 ERA and won two contests.
All-Time Against The Hawks
Quinnipiac moved to 7-6 in the all-time series against Monmouth after sweeping the Hawks in a conference doubleheader last season. The Bobcats defeated the Hawks, 2-0 and 4-1, on April 3, 2011. Overall, QU is 5-3 at home, but is 2-2 on the road and 0-1 in neutral locations. Quinnipiac is also 0-1 against Monmouth in the NEC Tournament, after falling to the Hawks in postseason play during the 2010 season.
Last Time Out
In its most recent outings, Quinnipiac split a pair of non-conference games at the San Diego Classic II on March 16. The Bobcats defeated CSU Bakersfield, 3-1, but lost to San Diego, 9-0, in a five-inning contest later that day. Senior Heather Schwartzburg led QU against CSU Bakersfield from within the circle, earning the win as she pitched a complete game and struck out nine batters. Senior Christy Cabrera had a team-leading two RBI, while junior Alex Alba and freshman Nikki Barba each contributed two hits. Junior Kortney Kesses scored two runs for the Bobcats, but Barba’s run in the fourth inning was the game-winner.
Rain Shuts Down Tournament Play
Three of the Bobcats’ five games at the San Diego Classic II were canceled on March 17-18 due to poor weather conditions in the San Diego area. Quinnipiac’s contests against UNLV, San Diego State, and Purdue were canceled, but the team was able to take the field against CSU Bakersfield and San Diego.
Starting pitcher Heather Schwartzburg, now 7-1 on the year, picked up her second Northeast Conference Pitcher of the Week title of the 2012 season on Monday, March 19. The senior went 2-0 last week in Spring Break play, leading the Bobcats to a 3-2 win at San Diego on March 14 and 3-1 victory over CSU Bakersfield on March 16. She saw 14 innings, struck out 13 batters and held opponents to a .245 batting average. Schwartzburg currently posts a team-high 0.82 ERA, while leading the Bobcats in strikeouts (64), innings pitched (59.2) and opponent batting average (.176) in a total of 10 appearances. She also won the NEC weekly accolade on March 5, 2012.
Freshman Nikki Barba is one of four Bobcats and the only freshman to have started in all 17 games this season. Barba is currently batting .209 and has contributed three RBI and six runs scored. She’s also scored two game-winning runs this season against Florida Gulf Coast and CSU Bakersfield.
Alba’s Playing Awesome
Junior Alex Alba is currently leading the team with a .468 batting average as she’s contributed a team-high 22 hits on 47 at bats. Alba also ranks first in slugging percentage (.766), on-base percentage (.480), total bases (36) and doubles (9).
What A Catch
Senior catcher Ashley Heiberger leads Quinnipiac with eight runs scored this season. Heiberger has yet to make an error in 17 starts this season and currently has 92 putouts and 13 assists on the year.
Mina Duffy has made 16 starts in her senior campaign and posts a team-leading 13 RBI and three homeruns in the 2012 season. She’s also contributed 11 hits and scored seven runs.
Salgado Can Steal
Junior Lauren Salgado is currently a perfect 4-for-4 in stolen bases this year, after leading the Bobcats with a team-leading 18 stolen bases during 2011.
The Bobcats were recently selected to finish second in the 2012 Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll, as announced by the league on Feb. 14. The defending NEC regular season champion Robert Morris was picked as the favorite to win this year’s title, as they received six first-place votes, while QU garnered three first-place nods. Last season’s NEC tournament champion Sacred Heart was tabbed third in the poll, while Bryant was chosen fourth, followed by LIU Brooklyn and Central Conn. St. in the fifth and sixth positions, respectively. Monmouth landed seventh as it received a first-place vote, while Fairleigh Dickinson was picked eight and Wagner followed in the ninth spot. Mount St. Mary’s and Saint Francis (Pa.) rounded out the field.
What’s Ahead For The Bobcats
Quinnipiac returns to action when it takes on Massachusetts in a pair of non-conference games on Wednesday, March 28. The first game is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start in Amherst, Mass.
Contact: Lindsay Oliveri, email@example.com