Softball Strong Down the Stretch, Sweeps NEC Road Doubleheader Against Wagner
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – The Bobcats were outscored by a combined score of 8-4 throughout the first five innings of both games but the Quinnipiac softball team willed their way to a pair of clutch victories over Wagner, 6-4 and 6-5, to earn the Saturday sweep at Wagner Field. Quinnipiac stormed all the way back from 4-0 down in the first game and also pulled out the deciding hit of game two in the sixth inning with the score tied, 4-4. With the two victories, Quinnipiac improves to 12-23 but more importantly move their conference record to 5-3 which currently sits in fourth place in the NEC standings.
Sophomore Jordan Paolucci (Lake Mary, Fla.) was vital to her team's success as she went deep for a three-run homer and walked twice in the first game. She also picked up another hit and RBI in game two as she knocked in four RBI throughout the series. Other key offensive contributors included senior Kortney Kesses (Woodbridge, Conn.) who hit the game-tying home run that knotted the score at 4-4 in the seventh inning and sophomore Nikki Barba (San Diego, Calif.) who doubled and drove in a run in both games as she now leads the team with 10 doubles this season.
The Bobcat pitching effort was split by sophomore Hannah Lindsley (Narragansett, R.I.), who threw all seven innings in game one, and freshman Sydney Robey (Glenmoore, Pa.) who picked up her team-leading sixth victory this season with a complete game in the nightcap. Lindsley looked dominate at times as she allowed just five hits and two earned runs in her outing. Robey at one point retired eight consecutive batters in her game in which she allowed eight hits and four walks but helped strand seven Seahawks.
Not much went right for the Bobcats early in game one as Wagner's Brenda Bott went deep for a two-run home run in the top of the first. The Seahawks threaten for more in the next two innings but Lindsley stranded a runner on second with one out in the second inning and then induced a double play to end the third after two runners reached base.
Wagner would add two more runs in the fourth as Kristen Matteoni doubled down the right field line with two outs to put her team ahead 4-0.
After being limited in large part throughout the first five frames, the Quinnipiac offense came to life in the sixth as senior Lauren Salgado (Covina, Calif.) bunt-singled to the pitcher and senior Alex Alba (Sylmar, Calif.) sacrificed her over to second. Salgado then used her speed to steal third and Barba walked to put two on for Paolucci who went deep for the ninth time this season and 24th in her career.
The Paolucci home run closed the gap but with her team still trailing, 4-3, Kesses helped steal the game away from Wagner with a game-tying home run in the top of the seventh. The inning continued as junior Katie Alfiere (Beacon Falls, Conn.) and freshman Courtney Solt (Boyertown, Pa.) both singled and Salgado grounded out but each runner moved up a base in the process. A pair of big at-bats followed as Alba grounded out to second allowing the go-ahead run to score and Barba followed with an RBI double to add some insurance.
Lindsley averted trouble after allowing a leadoff walk with a fielder's choice out, pop out and groundout to end the game with the Bobcats victory, 6-4.
Unlike in game one, the nightcap began with a quick four-run first inning for the Bobcats as Solt and Salgado both reached base and were moved over after a sacrifice bunt from Alba. Barba knocked in Solt on a fielder's choice and then two straight errors from Seahawks' fielders allowed two more runs to score. Kesses then walked and set the stage for Alfiere who came up big with an RBI single to shortstop as the lead ballooned up to 4-0.
The lead quickly vanished with a pair of runs in each of the opening two innings for the Wagner offense. Bott's two-run single in the second highlighted the scoring early as the Seawolves were in desperate need of some runs to cross the plate.
The game then turned into a pitcher's duel as 17 straight batters were retired from the top of the third until the bottom of the fifth. Quinnipiac finally generated some offense in the top of the sixth as senior Bridget Figmic (Stratford, Conn.) hit a leadoff single followed by a sacrifice bunt and walk to Alfiere. After a groundout moved the runners over, Solt came to the plate and knocked the pitch to shortstop who didn't field the ball cleanly and allowed two runs to score on the play.
Robey then did her job, getting out of trouble with just one run allowed in the sixth and then inducing a fielder's choice out to end the game and seal her victory.
Quinnipiac will complete their weekend on the road with a doubleheader against Sacred Heart tomorrow starting at Noon.
Contact: Maxx McNall; email@example.com