HAMDEN, Conn. – The Quinnipiac University softball team split a pair of Northeast Conference games with Wagner College on Saturday afternoon at the QU Softball Field. The Bobcats dropped the first contest, 5-4, in nine innings, but came back with a 9-2 victory in the second outing of the two-game set. The Bobcats become 20-12 overall and 7-5 in league play, while the Seahawks now stand at 15-27 on the year and 4-8 in the conference.
Senior Ashley Heiberger (Sioux Falls, S.D.) and junior Alex Alba (Sylmar, Calif.) each homered in the two-game series, while Heiberger and junior Kortney Kesses (Woodbridge, Conn.) both recorded a team-leading three RBI on the afternoon. Senior Mina Duffy (Piedmont, Calif.) led the day with a .429 batting average as she went 3-for-7 with two runs scored and a run batted in. Freshman Nikki Barba (San Diego, Calif.) batted .375 (3-for-8) while posting two runs and two RBI.
In game one, Wagner took a 1-0 advantage in the second inning. With one out and the bases loaded in the top of the second, starting QU pitcher Katie Alfiere (Beacon Falls, Conn.) walked Kristen Matteoni, which allowed Ashley Olsen to score from third base.
In the next inning, senior pitcher Christy Cabrera (West Sacramento, Calif.) entered the contest for Alfiere with one out and runners on first and third base. After Olsen grounded out to QU shortstop Alba, Nicoletti doubled to centerfield, bringing in Jessica Albarran and Brittany Huss. Nicoletti advanced to third on a Vanessa Lenart single. She then increased the Seahawks' lead to 4-0 as she crossed home plate on a Bobcats' error.
After three scoreless innings from the Bobcats, Alba stepped up to the plate and launched her fourth homerun of the season to left center, narrowing the gap, 4-1, with no outs in the bottom of the fourth. After Duffy walked, Barba hit a RBI double down the left side, scoring Duffy from first base. The Bobcats tied the game, 4-4, as junior Kortney Kesses (Woodbridge, Conn.) reached on a Wagner error. Duffy and Barba each tallied a run on the play.
Neither squad would add to the scoreboard over the next two innings. In the top of the seventh, senior Heather Schwartzburg (Mission Viejo, Calif.), who entered the contest during the sixth inning, kept the Bobcats alive as she struck out the first two Wagner batters. Lenart then flied out to Duffy who made an over the shoulder catch in right field, ending the half inning. Wagner's Judy Betz also retired the next three Bobcats, sending the game into extra innings.
In the top of the ninth, Huss scored the game-winner from second base when Olsen hit a RBI single towards right center. Quinnipiac was unable to score in the bottom of the ending, resulting in a Wagner victory in game one of the NEC twinbill.
Quinnipiac's Schwartzburg dropped to 12-4 on the year after seeing 3 and 2/3 innings from within the circle. Schwartzburg only allowed one hit and one run as she struck out six Seahawks, while Alfiere and Cabrera combined for 5.1 innings, scattering nine hits together. Cabrera only let up one unearned run in the match-up. Wagner's Judy Betz improved to 3-4 with the win after pitching six innings, holding the Bobcats to one hit in the outing.
In the second contest of the day, it was Quinnipiac that would take the game's first lead as Wagner was forced to bring in three different pitchers in the bottom of the first inning. Cabrera scored the first run on an Alba double to left center, while junior Jacquie Ristow (Seal Beach, Calif.) advanced to third. The Bobcats' then rifled four consecutive singles through the left side, bringing in four QU runs.
The Bobcats then widened their advantage, 8-0, when Heiberger homered off the scoreboard for her second homerun of the season. Junior Bridget Figmic (Stratford, Conn.) and Kesses both notched a run on Heiberger's three-run homer to centerfield.
After Seahawks loaded the bases in the top of the fourth, QU's starting pitcher Schwartzburg walked Nicoletti, allowing Huss to score Wagner's first run of the game. Lenart then hit a sac fly, bringing in Alfaro for the 8-2 deficit following a Quinnipiac substitution, Alfiere for Schwartzburg.
In the bottom of the fifth, QU attempted to move in front of Wagner as the Bobcats loaded the bases with two outs on the inning. Sophomore Katie Donohue (Walpole, Mass.) tallied her second run of the year as Rollins walked Ristow, her third walk of the inning, increasing the Bobcats' lead, 9-2. The Seahawks would only compile one hit in the next two innings.
Overall, the Bobcats outhit the Seahawks by a marginal 16-to-14, but recorded 13 RBI compared to Wagner's six RBI across two contests.
The Bobcats return to action when they travel to Fairleigh Dickinson for an NEC twinbill on Sunday, April 15 starting at noon. QU then heads to Manhattan for a rescheduled, non-league doubleheader on Wednesday, April 18 with the first game scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Quinnipiac continues non-conference play with a contest at Fairfield the following day at 3:30 p.m.
Contact: Lindsay Oliveri, email@example.com