HAMDEN, Conn. – The Quinnipiac University softball team swept Sacred Heart University in a Northeast Conference doubleheader on Sunday afternoon at the QU Softball Field. The Bobcats earned a 12-7 win in game one and a 5-4 victory in the second outing of the day. In the first match-up, QU matched a NCAA record in consecutive homeruns as the Bobcats hit four straight homers in the first inning. QU improves to 15-9 overall and 4-2 in NEC play, while the Pioneers drop to 10-18 and 3-3 in the league.
Overall, Quinnipiac outhit Sacred Heart, 20-14, while compiling 42 total bases, compared to Sacred Heart's 25 on the day. The Bobcats also earned a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage, while the Pioneers made three errors across two games. In addition, QU was a perfect 2-for-2 in stolen bases.
The Bobcats compiled seven homeruns in the two-game series. Senior Mina Duffy (Piedmont, Calif.) went 4-for-7 and recorded a team-high five RBI, with two runs scored and two homers. Freshman second baseman Nikki Barba (San Diego, Calif.) also hit two homeruns while batting 3-for-7 with two RBI and two runs scored.
Quinnipiac was led by junior first baseman Jacquie Ristow's (Seal Beach, Calif.) .714 batting average, as she went 5-for-7 on the afternoon. Ristow also contributed three RBI and two runs scored, while junior shortstop Alex Alba (Sylmar, Calif.) posted the second most RBI for the Bobcats (4). Senior Christy Cabrera scored a team-leading five runs.
In game one, Quinnipiac sophomore Katie Alfiere (Beacon Falls, Conn.) improved to 4-2 as she entered the contest in the fourth and pitched four innings, not allowing a run and letting up only three hits. Nicole Sidor received the loss, while Liz Tsipouras also saw action from within the circle for Sacred Heart. Together, they allowed 12 hits in the outing.
QU took an early 8-0 lead in the first inning. Cabrera led off the bottom of the first as she walked. Ristow followed with a single to left field, placing Cabrera on second. Alba then hit a three-run homer, followed by three straight homeruns by Duffy, Alfiere, and Barba. With two outs on the inning, junior Lauren Salgado (Covina, Calif.) reached on a Pioneers' error. Cabrera and Ristow then hit back-to-back singles, which allowed Salgado to cross home plate from second base. Cabrera went on to score another QU run as Alba reached on another Sacred Heart error, widening the gap, 8-0.
The Bobcats increased their lead, 10-0, in the next inning as Barba and senior Bridget Figmic (Stratford, Conn.) each launched a homerun.
Sacred Heart answered with four runs in the top of the third and chipped in another three runs in the fourth inning, placing the Pioneers within three runs of Quinnipiac, 10-7. Sacred Heart's Annie Dreher and Liz Tsipouras each went 2-for-4, scored a run and contributed a team-high three RBI in the match-up.
After two scoreless innings, the Bobcats took back the momentum and added two points to the scoreboard in the fifth. With two outs on the inning, Salgado singled to third base. After she stole second, Cabrera walked. Ristow then doubled to centerfield, driving in Salgado and Cabrera for the 12-7 advantage. QU held the Pioneers to a pair of scoreless innings for the NEC victory in game one.
In the second outing, it was Quinnipiac that would take another early lead in the first inning, 1-0. Duffy singled through the ride side, driving in Cabrera from second base, who had originally been walked to lead off the inning.
Sacred Heart took its first lead of the day, when Kate Nadler lifted the Pioneers to a 3-1 advantage as she knocked a three-run homer into centerfield.
Quinnipiac wouldn't let up and came back with four runs in the next inning. Alba drove in Cabrera for the first run as she singled up the middle. Duffy then smacked a homer to right-center, also scoring Ristow and Alba from third and first base, respectively.
After a scoreless sixth inning, Sacred Heart attempted to tie the game when Justine Sibthorp homered to left field to lead off the bottom of the seventh. Quinnipiac held off the Pioneers for the remainder of the inning, despite two runners left on base.
Senior pitcher Heather Schwartzburg (Mission Viejo, Calif.) earned her ninth win of the season as she pitched a complete game for Quinnipiac. Schwartzburg struck out six batters and allowed five hits, while Kacie Wentworth took the loss after giving up eight hits and all five runs in 4.1 innings pitched.
The Bobcats return to action when they host non-conference opponent Fairfield on Wednesday, April 4. First pitch is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at the QU Softball Field in Hamden, Conn.
Contacts: Lindsay Oliveri, firstname.lastname@example.org