CLEARWATER, Fla. – The Quinnipiac softball team split a pair of 7-3 decisions on Friday from the USF Under Armour Invitational as the Bobcats lost ,7-3, to Loyola Chicago in the first game and defeated Illinois-Chicago, 7-3, in the nightcap of the doubleheader from the Eddie C. Moore Complex. Sophomore pitcher Hannah Lindsley (Narragansett, R.I.) picked up her second straight complete game victory while sophomore second baseman Nikki Barba (San Diego, Calif.) extended her streak to 12 straight games reaching base safely dating back to last season. With the split, the Bobcats are now 2-4 to start the season.
Horizon League powerhouse Loyola Chicago came out firing behind the arm of their stud pitcher Brittany Gardner. She tossed a complete game five hitter, limiting the Bobcats to just one earned run while walking no batters and striking out seven in the victory. The Bobcats countered with freshman Nicole Gubellini (Salem , N.H.) who went the 4.2 innings in her first career start but had trouble finding the command with five walks and two home runs allowed. Another freshman in Molly Jarrett (Northport, N.Y.) came in relief of Gubellini in the fifth and pitched very well for the Bobcats. Jarrett certainly made the most of her first career appearance as she surrendered no hits, no runs, two walks and one strikeout in 2.2 relief innings against a tough Loyola Chicago team that was named the preseason Horizon League champion in the annual coaches' poll.
The Ramblers jumped out to a 7-0 lead after five innings of play before Quinnipiac struck for their first run in the bottom of the sixth. Freshman Courtney Solt (Boyertown, Pa.) kickstarted the inning with a single up the middle with one out. She advanced to second on a throwing error and eventually scored off an RBI single from sophomore Jordan Paolucci (Lake Mary, Fla.). The Bobcats continued to battle in the bottom of the seventh, pushing a run across an on RBI groundout from senior Bridget Figmic (Stratford, Conn.) and later another run was scored on a Rambler fielding error. Freshman Dani Edmands (Northborough, Mass.) notched her first career double in the loss while Barba singled and was hit by a pitch to keep her streak alive.
Game two of the afternoon heavily favored the Bobcats as they tallied a season-high 13 hits to go along with their second-most runs scored in a game this season (seven). Four players recorded at least two hits against Illinois-Chicago including the first multi-hit games in the careers of Solt (3-for-4, two RBI, one double, one run) and Edmands (2-for-4, one home run, two RBI). Lindsley also came through with another clutch performance as she threw all seven innings, striking out two and allowing just two earned runs as she starts the year with a 2-0 record after appearing in only one game last season.
Not much was going the way of the Bobcats early as the Flame jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first but the Bobcats struck back in the second first with a sacrifice fly from senior Lauren Salgado (Covina, Calif.) to score senior Kortney Kesses (Woodbridge, Conn.) and then Solt came through with a two-run double through the right side of the infield to give the Bobcats the lead, 3-2.
Edmands later supplied the power as she cranked a two-run home run in the third, the first dinger of her career, the increase the Bobcat lead to 5-2. The Flame pushed across another run in the third to close the gap to two before it was Paolucci's turn with the stick as she slapped an RBI ground-rule double that scored Solt from second. With runners still on second and third, Barba executed the small ball perfectly with a sacrifice bunt down the third base line to score senior Alex Alba (Sylmar, Calif.) and finish up the scoring at 7-3.
With the Flame threatening to get back in the game in the fifth, a double to left center had the Flame's baserunner trying to score from first. She rounded third and picked up a head of stream before being called out at home. Salgado picked up the ball near the warning track, hit the cutoff man Figmic who threw to the Bobcat catcher Edmands. The freshman backstop applied the tag on the Illinois-Chicago runner to deny the scoring chance and keep it a 7-3 game. Lindsley then closed the door as she retired six of the final seven batters as she worked all sides of the strike zone on Friday without allowing a walk throughout her seven innings.
The Bobcats will resume play tomorrow at the USF Under Armour Invitational as they will take on Providence and Loyola Marymount for another doubleheader from Clearwater, Fla.
Contact: Maxx McNall; email@example.com