February 23, 2013

Quinnipiac Softball Slugs Back-to-Back-to-Back Home Runs; Drops Season Opener Doubleheader at UNCG Spartan Classic

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GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Quinnipiac softball team went back-to-back-to-back in the second game of their season-opening doubleheader on Saturday at the UNC Greensboro Spartan Classic but were swept by Marshall and host UNCG on the afternoon. The Bobcats began the day with a 6-1 loss to Marshall and then finished off the afternoon falling to the host Spartans, 10-8, in a game that featured three straight home runs for Quinnipiac (0-2).

The Bobcats are less than one year removed from having tied the NCAA record with four consecutive home runs on April 1, 2012 against Sacred Heart. The power was supplied by the heart of the Bobcat lineup as sophomore Jordan Paolucci (Lake Mary, Fla.) sophomore Nikki Barba (San Diego, Calif.) and senior Kortney Kesses (Woodbridge, Conn.) combined to supply the power. For Kesses, it was the first home run of her career while Barba knocked her third and Paolucci recorded the 16th of her career. Barba also reached base safely in both games to extend her streak to eight games in-a-row, continuing from last season.

The first game of the doubleheader pitted the Bobcats against C-USA's Marshall Thundering Herd. Marshall seized control early and dictated play throughout mainly off the performance of their pitcher Andi Williamson. She held a no-hitter through the first 5.2 innings before Kesses singled to right field to break up the no-hit bit. Williamson finished the game with a complete game two-hitter, allowing just one run and striking out 14 Bobcats on the afternoon.

Quinnipiac, despite going hitless for the first five-plus innings, had at least one baserunner in all seven innings against Williamson. The Bobcats drew seven walks but couldn't convert them into runs as they stranded their first eight runners before crossing home a run in the seventh. Senior Bridget Figmic (Stratford, Conn.) and freshman Dani Edmands (Northborough, Mass.) began the inning with back-to-back walks with the Bobcats trailing 6-0. After a Marshall fielding error, senior Alex Alba (Sylmar, Calif.) cashed in with a run-scoring single to drive in the first Quinnipiac run of the season. The Bobcats however couldn't capitalize on the bases loaded opportunity and ultimately fell to Marshall, 6-1.

Junior Katie Alfiere (Beacon Falls, Conn.) threw five solid innings, allowing just two earned runs and striking out two despite taking the hard luck loss. Freshman Nicole Gubellini (Salem, N.H.) went two innings in her first career appearance, allowing three runs while coming in to relieve Alfiere to start the sixth inning.

Game two featured a much more back-and-forth game that had UNCG and the Bobcats locked in an offensive slugfest. The Spartans jumped out to an early lead after plating three runs in the first but the Bobcats battled back with an RBI double, the first of her career, from freshman Courtney Solt (Boyertown, Pa.). Four more UNCG runs increased the deficit to six before the Bobcats went back-to-back-to-back in the top of the fourth inning. Paolucci got things started with a leadoff homerun followed by Barba and Kesses to cut the deficit to 7-4.

The teams traded runs in the middle innings as the Bobcats received an RBI double from Barba in the fifth to keep her team within striking distance. Trailing 10-6 entering the seventh, Paolucci scored on a throwing error and later Edmands knocked an RBI groundout. Figmic singled to put the game-tying run at the plate but UNCG closed the door on the Quinnipiac rally attempt to come away with a 10-8 win.

Freshman Sydney Robey (Glenmoore, Pa.) took the loss for Quinnipiac while sophomore Hannah Lindsley (Narragansett, R.I.) threw well in relief going 3.1 innings and allowing two runs. Barba tied her career high with three hits (one double, one home run) to go along with two RBI and two runs. Paolucci tallied two hits while Figmic scored two runs and walked twice.

 Play at the UNCG Spartan Classic will resume tomorrow for the Bobcats as they take on Drexel and UNCG before heading back to Hamden later in the afternoon.

Contact: Maxx McNall; maxx.mcnall@quinnipiac.edu