April 3, 2013

Softball Hits the Road For Thursday Doubleheader Against Stony Brook Beginning at 2 PM

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Quinnipiac University Bobcats (7-19, 1-1 NEC)
vs. Stony Brook University Seawolves (17-15, 4-2 America East)

Thursday, April 4, 2013
Quinnipiac @ Stony Brook – 2:00 p.m.
University Field – Stony Brook, N.Y. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013
Quinnipiac @ Stony Brook – 4:00 p.m.
University Field – Stony Brook, N.Y.

Non-Conference Duel
After splitting their Friday doubleheader against Monmouth in their NEC opener, the Quinnipiac softball team gets back into action Thursday with a road nonconference doubleheader against Stony Brook. The Bobcats are coming off an up-and-down weekend that saw the team total 12 hits in game one of the doubleheader but then commit six errors in the field during game two. Quinnipiac has nearly gone an entire week without a game and with two weekend home NEC doubleheaders looming, the Bobcats will need to be in top form in order to take advantage of the four conference matchups.

Stony Brook Scouting Report
The Seawolves own a 17-15 overall record with a 4-2 mark in the America East Conference heading into Thursday. They've been white hot of late, winners of five consecutive games and 11 of their past 13. Not only have they been winning but Stony Brook has dominated their opponents outscoring them 61-17 in the last 13 games. The Stony Brook lineup is balanced with eight hitters batting at least .250 this season. Bria Green leads the team in hitting with a .326 average (31-for-95) while also holding a share of the team-lead in home runs (four) and RBI (20). She shared that top spot with Shayla Giosia who comes in with a .308 average (33-for-107) with her four home runs and 20 RBI. Nicole Hagerty is a big weapon on the base paths as she comes in with a team-high five stolen bases in seven attempts. The pitching staff is headlined by Christine Lucido who enters play with a 7-1 record and 2.26 ERA in 65.1 innings. Allison Cukrov leads the team with 87.2 innings and owns a 6-8 record with 4.07 ERA.

All-Time Against Monmouth
The Bobcats come into Thursday with a 5-6 overall record in 11 all-time meetings against the Seawolves. Last year was the first lifetime meeting in Hamden and Quinnipiac came away 4-0 winners. Katie Alfiere tossed a complete game four-hitter with three strikeouts and just two walks. The Bobcats are just 3-5 against the Seawolves playing in Stony Brook.

Monmouth Series Recap
Friday's doubleheader against Monmouth was a tale of two games for the Bobcats as they dominated in the first game, 8-1, but then fell, 3-0, in the second game. Sydney Robey picked up the complete game victory in game one as she allowed just one earned run in her seven innings. Nikki Barba (3-for-4, two doubles, two RBI, two runs), Alex Alba (2-for-3, two runs, one RBI) and Jordan Paolucci (2-for-3, one home run, three RBI, one run) led the way for the Bobcats in the first game at the plate. The second game of the afternoon however was entirely in favor of Monmouth as their ace Jordan Barnett shut down the Quinnipiac lineup as she retired 17-of-18 batters at one point with the one batter reaching on an error. Barnett went the distance on a complete game two-hitter, stealing the win away from Hannah Lindsley who threw a solid seven innings for the Bobcats with just four hits and one earned run allowed. Six errors plagued the Bobcats in the field as it was the most the team has committed in any game this season and helped lead to two Hawk runs.

What A Relief It Is
Freshman pitcher Sydney Robey threw one of the best games of her young career on Friday, going seven strong innings allowing nine hits and just six hits to pick up her fourth victory of the season. That win gives her a team-high four on the season and moves her up to the .500 mark with a 4-4 overall record this year. 

Hits, Hits and More Hits
Senior shortstop Alex Alba extended her hitting streak to 10 games with three hits combined on Friday. The hitting streak is the longest for any Bobcat this season as Alba has absolutely torn the cover off the ball in the 10-game span with a .515 (17-for-33) batting average, 10 RBI, seven doubles, eight runs and two walks. 

For the First Time
In what was her first start since March 1, freshman outfielder Abby Johnson made the most of her opportunity going 2-for-2 on Wednesday in her team's 4-3 victory over UConn. She came in with just two hits in 12 at-bats but certainly turned things around as she finished with her first career multi-hit game and also hit the first double of her career.

Barbed Wire
A key contributor throughout the season thus far has been sophomore second baseman Nikki Barba. She has held a spot among the team's leaders in batting average (.387), hits (29), runs (15), doubles (six), home runs (three), RBI (15), walks (nine), stolen bases (two), on-base percentage (.459) and slugging percentage (.587). Barba currently ranks among the top-three on the team in all the listed offensive categories. She posted three hits in the first game against Monmouth four her fourth three-hit game of the season and was one of two hitters to record a hit in the second game of the doubleheader.

Salgado to the Rescue
Senior outfielder Lauren Salgado came up with the most-clutch hit of the day for the Bobcats against UConn on Wednesday. With two outs and the bases loaded in the second and the score knotted at 1-1, Salgado laced a two-run single back up the middle to plate two and give her team the lead for good in the game. Despite batting only .173 this season, Salgado has been hot of late with a .241 average (7-for-29) over the past 10 games.

Monumental Moment
Quinnipiac senior shortstop Alex Alba and freshman outfielder Courtney Solt both helped rewrite the record books last week as they claimed NEC Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week, respectively. It marked the first time since May 3, 2008 that the Bobcats have seized both weekly awards and just the second time in program history to feat has ever been accomplished. 

The Solt-an of Swat
Freshman outfielder Courtney Solt has been the team's best player throughout the season in what has been a blistering start to her young career. She already has 33 hits, 18 runs, seven doubles, seven RBI, five stolen bases and a .371 batting average to lead the team in all categories. Her fielding has also been well above average as the rookie has committed just two errors all season while manning the left field position. Her season-high seven game hitting streak came to an end against Dartmouth but she batted over .600 during the span. She also posted a streak of four straight multi-hit games and five total through the eight-game spring break stretch down in Fla. 

Uncharted Territory
Solt won the second Rookie of the Week honor of her career last week as she joins an impressive list of Heather Schwartzburg (2008), Krista Seeman (2007) and Kristin Sheriff (2005) as the only Bobcats to win multiple Rookie of the Week honors in program history. 

Streaking to the Top
One of the senior leaders on this Bobcat team, Alex Alba, had herself one of the most stellar weeks Quinnipiac has seen in quite some time. She earned her second career NEC Player of the Week and first since May 10, 2010 after compiling a .481 batting average (13-for-27), .517 on-base percentage (15-for-29) and .704 slugging percentage through eight games in Fla. Of her 13 hits, six of them were doubles as she now leads the team with seven on the season. She also chipped in an amazing nine RBI and eight runs scored through the week-long series of games.

Don't Stop at One
Sophomore catcher Jordan Paolucci had herself quite the week down in Fla. as she hit two grand slams during the spring break schedule. She hit her first career grand slam on Tuesday, March 12 in a showcase game against national power South Florida. It gave the Bobcats a 4-0 lead in a game which they competed throughout and only fell by a three-run deficit, 7-4. She then hit her second of the week on Saturday, March 16 against Colgate to help the Bobcat secure a 16-7 victory. 

Runs, Runs and More Runs
The Bobcats tied their program record with 16 runs scored to beat Colgate, 16-7, in five innings on Saturday, March 16. Quinnipiac tallied 16 hits on the afternoon to go along with a program record 12 runs scored in the third inning alone. The 16-run total tied a program record as the Bobcats hadn't scored that many runs in a game since March 3, 2006 when they beat Coppin St., 16-0. The Bobcats also scored 16 runs back in 2001 against St. Francis (Pa.) in a 16-4 victory. 

Two-Out Magic
The game against Colgate featured a program record 12 runs scored for the Bobcats in the third inning. One of the most impressive footnotes about the record-setting inning is the team trailed Colgate, 7-1, entering the frame and 11 of the 12 runs were scored with two outs. 

All-Time Leaders
Alex Alba and Jordan Paolucci are climbing up the program's all-time record books and are within reach of becoming the all-time leader in their respective offensive categories. After smashing seven doubles over the past three weeks, Alba now has 40 for her career, just three behind the all-time mark of 43 set by Sarah Collins '06. Paolucci currently sits second all-time in career home runs with 21, just eight behind Collins' all-time mark of 29.

RBI Streak
Jordan Paolucci has had herself a nice start to the season with a team-high 19 RBI but she has really picked up her play of late as she rode an impressive seven-game streak with at least one RBI that ended on Friday, March 15 against Radford. 

Making the Right Moves
Quinnipiac head coach Germaine Fairchild made a lineup change down in Fla., dropping Jordan Paolucci down from her usual cleanup spot to the fifth position in the lineup while moving sophomore second baseman Nikki Barba into the fourth place in the Bobcat lineup. The move certainly has paid dividends as the team is averaging 5.27 runs per-game since making the switch. Paolucci has compiled a .257 batting average, four home runs and an impressive 15 RBI while Barba has batted .455 with one homer, seven RBI, five doubles and 10 runs scored in 11 games since making the move.

Just Nine Away
Paolucci's home run against Monmouth was the 21th of her career as she now moves into sole possession of second place in the all-time record books for career home runs. She passed Sammi Allendorfer '07 and is just eight home runs shy of Sarah Collins' all-time record of 29 career dingers in a Bobcat uniform. 

Cyr-tainly Better
One of the most improved players from last year's team has been sophomore outfielder Brittney Cyr. After not seeing any playing time through the first five games of the season, Cyr earned three starts from Mar. 1-2 batting at the number eight hole in the lineup before moving all the way up to number two in the Bobcat lineup between offensive stars Courtney Solt and Alex Alba. She certainly has taken advantage of the opportunity as has compiled 10 hits, four RBI, 10 runs and two stolen bases.

Senior Leader
One of the more under-the-radar stars for the Bobcats this season has been senior third baseman Bridget Figmic who comes into Tuesday as one of the Bobcats' key offensive contributors in several offensive categories including batting average (.257), on-base percentage (.350), walks (nine) and runs (11). She already has tallied four multi-hit games this season and knocked in two runs in three separate games last week.

Good Luck Striking Her Out
One of the nation's toughest batters to strikeout all season has been Courtney Solt. She enters the week ranked in the Top-20 in the nation as far as the Toughest to Strikeout. Solt has struck out just twice in 94 plate appearances this year (2.1 percent) which is good for 12th-best in the nation.

175 Club
Senior shortstop Alex Alba continues to climb up the all-time Quinnipiac career leaders as she becomes just the sixth player in program history to record at least 175 hits. She knocked her 175th base hit in typical Alba style as she knocked a double in the first in the team's second matchup against Monmouth.

She's Back!
Redshirt sophomore catcher Jordan Paolucci made her much-anticipated return to the Bobcat lineup earlier this year as she has  posted a .289 batting average (22-for-76), 10 runs, two doubles, six home runs, 22 RBI, four walks and two stolen bases. The 2011 NEC Rookie of the Year missed a majority of last season due to injury after slugging a program record 15 home runs in 2011.

Home Run Barrage
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, sophomore Nikki Barba and senior Kortney Kesses 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.

Schedule Overview
The Bobcats will have a quick turnaround as they welcome LIU Brooklyn and Mount St. Mary's for a pair of NEC home doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday. The Bobcats currently stand tied for fourth in the NEC standings and need a strong showing this weekend against two teams who are both well outside the playoff picture.

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