March 29, 2013

Softball Splits Doubleheader Against Monmouth in NEC Opener; Alex Alba's Hitting Streak Reaches 10 Games

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Game One Box Score (W, 8-1)
Game Two Box Score (L, 3-0)

HAMDEN, Conn. – It was a tale of two stories in recap of Friday's games for the Quinnipiac softball team as the Bobcats dominated both sides of the ball in Game One against Monmouth in a 8-1 victory but struggled on the defensive side in Game Two as the Hawks won, 3-0. Senior Alex Alba (Sylmar, Calif.) tallied two hits in the first game and doubled in game two as her three hits on the afternoon helped up her hitting streak to a season-high 10 games. Quinnipiac's record improves to 7-19 (1-1 NEC) on the season while Monmouth moves to 13-10 (4-2 NEC) after the decisions.

The 10-game hitting streak for Alba is the longest of any Bobcat this season and her double was the 40th of her career which puts her in a tie for second place all-time in Quinnipiac history and just three away from matching the program record. Alba's three hits were one-upped by sophomore Nikki Barba (San Diego, Calif.) who went 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBI in the first game and followed up with one of the Bobcat's two hits in game two to go 4-for-7 through both games. Sophomore Jordan Paolucci (Lake Mary, Fla.) smacked a two-run homer and finished up 2-for-3 with three RBI, one run and one walk in game one. Freshman Molly Jarrett (Northport, N.Y.) also reached base four times in game one as she walked three times and was also hit by a pitch.

Freshman Sydney Robey (Glenmoore, Pa.) pitched brilliantly in game one to earn her fourth victory of the season and move her record up to the .500 mark at 4-4. She threw all seven innings for her second career complete game, allowing just six hits, one run, five walks and six strikeouts. Robey kept the ball low in the strike zone all day as all six Monmouth hits were singles and the Hawks ended up with nine runners left-on-base. Sophomore Hannah Lindsley (Narragansett, R.I.) was the hard luck loser in the second game as she tossed a complete game four-hitter with three walks, two strikeouts and just one earned run allowed as she was plagued by six errors for the Bobcats in the field.

 The Bobcat offense lifted the team with six runs through the first two innings of play in game one. The first inning began with a single from freshman Courtney Solt (Boyertown, Pa.) and Alba later singled and stole second to put runners on third and second with one out. Barba came to the plate and crushed the Lauren Sulick offering deep to left center that hit the wall and allowed both runners to score on the play. Paolucci then came up and drilled the Sulick pitch up and out of the park to right center for her sixth home run of the season and 21st of her career.

The Hawks had a prime opportunity in the second as Vanessa Cardoza slapped an RBI single to left but a fielder's choice out at home and a nice defensive tag out at home on a passed ball from Paolucci helped prevent further damaged and keep Quinnipiac in the lead, 4-1.

More runs for the Bobcats came in the second as sophomore Brittney Cyr (Southington, Conn.) reached on a fielding error and Solt walked to put two runners on with no one out. Later in the inning with one out and two runner in scoring position, the hottest Bobcat hitter Alba laid down a perfect safety squeeze down the first base line. The ball held the line and went deep enough to score Cyr from third as Alba was thrown out at first on the sacrifice RBI. Barba followed by reaching first on a shortstop fielding error that scored Solt and increased the lead to 6-1.

Back-to-back inning-ending double plays from Robey and Quinnipiac kept the Hawk offense at-bay. In the fifth, with a runner at second and one out a groundball was hit to senior Bridget Figmic (Stratford, Conn.) at third base. Figmic fired across to first for the out and then senior first baseman Kortney Kesses (Woodbridge, Conn.) fired back to Alba covering third for the tag out and double play. The sixth inning double play was just as big as there were two runners on with one out before the Alba-to-Barba-to-Kesses double play combination ended the top half of the sixth.

The Bobcats added two more insurance runs in the sixth as Paolucci hit an RBI groundout to second that scored Alba from first and Figmic knocked an RBI single that scored Barba and made it 8-1. Robey finished off the game inducing a line out to first base as the Bobcats won their first conference game of the year.

The moment was short-lived however, as not much went right for the Bobcats in game two. Monmouth pitcher Jordan Barnett owned the strike zone all day as she tossed a complete game two-hitter with no walks and two strikeouts. She retired 17-out-of-18 batters from the second out of the first innings until the first out of the seventh with the one runner reaching on a fielding error. Despite the lack of strikeouts, Barnett completely baffled the Quinnipiac hitters as 16-of-21 Bobcat outs were groundouts.

Monmouth scored early in the first as Tish Derer led off with a hit-by-pitch and advanced all the way to third before scoring on a groundout from Kayleena Flores. Despite no hits in the first for the Hawks, they took a 1-0 lead.

The one Bobcat scoring opportunity came in the first as Alba doubled to deep right center field with two outs but advanced no farther as Barba popped out to second to end the threat. It was the farthest a Quinnipiac runner would advance all game.

Lindsley pitched very well for the Bobcats throughout the game but her defense cost her two runs in the fifth as Derer reached on an error and stole second. After Alicia DeSanto singled to left, the ball was thrown into third and then home but the ball was misplayed and hit Paolucci in the face mask. The ball trickled to the backstop and allowed Derer the easy score from third. Flores then walked and was caught stealing but DeSanto alertly charged home on the throw down and scored easily to make it a 3-0 game.

Barnett continued to mow down hitters until the seventh where she allowed a single to Barba with one out but nothing more as two more groundouts ended the game in victory for Monmouth.

Quinnipiac will have nearly a week off until their next games on Thursday with a road non-conference doubleheader against Stony Brook.

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