Two Non-Conference Battles Ahead for Softball; Take on Fairfield at Home on Tuesday, Travel to Harvard on Thursday
Quinnipiac University Bobcats (14-23, 7-3 NEC)
vs. Fairfield Stags (19-15, 7-3 MAAC)
@ Harvard Crimson (16-17, 8-4 IVY League)
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Fairfield @ Quinnipiac – 3:30 p.m.
QU Softball Field – Hamden, Conn.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Quinnipiac @ Harvard – 3:00 p.m./5:00 p.m.
Soldiers Field – Cambridge, Mass.
Seven and Counting
The Quinnipiac softball team will ride their seven-game winning streak into Tuesday and Thursday's non-conference showdowns with Fairfield and Harvard. The Bobcats have played their best of late and have had a flair for the dramatic, winning four of the seven in come-from-behind fashion. During the seven-game stretch, the Bobcats have outscored their opponents 23-1 throughout the sixth and seventh innings. Overall, the softball team has improved their record to 14-23 this season including a 7-3 mark in NEC competition which is good for fourth in the current conference standings. The Bobcats will have three non-conference games to navigate through first starting with a home Tuesday showdown with Fairfield followed by a road doubleheader against Harvard on Thursday.
Fairfield Scouting Report
The Bobcats meet up with Fairfield once again after defeating the Stags on the road last week, 6-4, behind a great pitching performance from freshman Nicole Gubellini and sophomore Hannah Lindsley. Fairfield brings a 19-15 overall record into the weekend after sweeping a pair of home conference doubleheaders against St. Peter's and Manhattan. More than half of the team's wins have come from pitcher Rebecca Trott (10-3). The junior earned the a pair of victories against both opponents last weekend. She had three straight relief appearances before getting the starting nod versus Quinnipiac in their meeting last week as the Bobcats roughed up the Stags' ace pitcher for four runs in two innings of action. Rae Ball brings a 8-8 record into today's game, posting a team-best 1.76 ERA with two shutouts and eight complete games. Lauren Liseth owns a .393 batting average, registering 16 extra base hits with nine doubles, one triple, and six home runs. She started the week with 41 walks and fourth in the MAAC in on-base percentage (.581). Kristen Filicia and Lauren Filicia are next in line with a .354 batting average and a .302 batting average, respectively.
All-Time Against the Stags
Quinnipiac comes into Tuesday with a 8-5 all-time record against Fairfield including a 3-1 mark at home against the Stags. Earlier this season, the Bobcats took down Fairfield, 6-4, as they jumped out to an early 4-0 lead and won the game on a go-ahead Dani Edmands RBI single in the top of the seventh.
Harvard Scouting Report
Harvard finds itself right in the thick of the race for the Ivy League North Division title, entering the week with a 8-4 league record, good for a tie for first with Dartmouth in the division standings. In its last time out, Harvard earned a four-game weekend sweep of Yale as the Crimson outscored the Bulldogs, 28-12 throughout the four-game set. Overall, Harvard is riding a six-game winning streak into their weekday doubleheader with Quinnipiac as one winning streak will have to come to an end. Kasey Lange is one of the hottest hitters in the Ivy League, entering the week with the team-lead in nearly every offensive statistical category including batting average (.340), doubles (nine), home runs (nine), RBI (31), walks (16), hits (34), on-base percentage (.445) and slugging percentage (.710). Shelbi Olson leads all Harvard players in batting average in league games at .475, and is the toughest person to strikeout in the Ivy League, having been K'd just once in 12 Ivy contests. Freshman Morgan Groom boasts the sixth-best earned-run average among qualified league pitchers at 2.53, and is sixth in the league with 61 strikeouts in 88.2 innings.
All-Time Against the Crimson
The Bobcats come in with nine all-time meetings against Harvard and own a 2-7 record against the Crimson and are winless in two games playing on the road. The last victory for the Bobcats over Harvard came in 2010 when Quinnipiac took down the Crimson, 3-2.
Last Week Wrapup
The Bobcats went undefeated last week with a 5-0 record including four crucial NEC road victories to remain in the fourth and final playoff spot in the conference standings. The week began with a 6-4 victory over Fairfield as the future conference opponents squared off on Wednesday. Freshman Dani Edmands held the big stick as she knocked the go-ahead RBI single in the seventh to break a 4-4 tie. Hannah Lindsley came on in the seventh to earn the three-out save as she entered in relief of Nicole Gubellini who picked up her first career victory. Saturday featured an NEC doubleheader against Wagner in which the Bobcats swept, 6-4 and 6-5. Jordan Paolucci was huge for Quinnipiac knocking a three-run homer as she totaled four RBI throughout the two games. On Sunday, Quinnipiac swept Sacred Heart with a 6-0 shutout and 4-3 come-from-behind victory. Gubellini earned her second victory of the week with 5.2 scoreless frames in game one while game two was won in the sixth and seventh as the team was trailing 3-0 heading into the final innings. The feverish rally started with a Paolucci two-run homer in the sixth and then Courtney Solt tied the game with an RBI double followed by the go-ahead RBI single from Lauren Salgado with two outs in the seventh.
This Bobcat squad certainly has had a hand for the dramatic as they've won four games in come-from-behind fashion during the seven-game winning streak. Quinnipiac has also outscored their opponents by an incredible 23-1 margin in the sixth and seventh innings during the recent seven-game uptick.
This Quinnipiac squad matched their second-longest winning streak since the 2004 season where the team won nine consecutive games. The Bobcats have won seven games in-a-row twice since 2004 as they reeled off seven straight in the 2006 and 2012 season.
For the First Time
Freshman Nicole Gubellini had herself a very interesting week as she picked up her first and second career victories but did so in dramatic fashion, walking 10 batters in 5.2 scoreless innings. The 10 walks are the most for a Bobcat pitcher in program history pitching at least five innings without allowing a run.
Sophomore Jordan Paolucci continues to supply the power for the Bobcats as she went deep twice this past weekend and continues to lead the Northeast Conference in both home runs (10) and RBI (36). She also became the first player in program history to slug at least10 home runs in multiple seasons.
Both senior Alex Alba and Jordan Paolucci are both close to setting new program records as Alba currently has 41 career doubles while Paolucci is up to 25 career home runs. Alba is just two away from matching the all-time record of 43 set by Sarah Collins while Paolucci trails Collins' record of 29 by just four heading into this week's games.
Senior Lauren Salgado has quietly put together a nine-game hitting streak including several clutch hits with none bigger than her last one on Sunday. Having gone hitless in her first three at-bats against the Pioneers, Salgado took her at-bat with the score tied and two outs in the seventh. Needing a run to push her team ahead, Salgado came through with a clutch go-ahead RBI single to push the Bobcats ahead, 4-3, a score that would hold up for the Quinnipiac victory.
Alex Alba has moved into fourth place on the all-time hits list at Quinnipiac as her current total of 184 is just six away from sole possession of second place and just 16 away from becoming just the second player ever to compile 200 career hits
Sophomore Nikki Barba has been one of the most well-rounded hitters at the plate for the Bobcats all season as she comes in with the team-lead in batting average (.375), on-base percentage (.435) and slugging percentage (.562). She also sports impressive hitting numbers across the board including hits (42), doubles (12), home runs (three), RBI (20), walks (10), stolen bases (four) and runs (24) as she ranks in the top-three on the team in all categories. Barba is riding a stretch where she has tallied at least one hit in 15 of her past 16 games.
The Solt-an of Swat
Freshman outfielder Courtney Solt has been one of the team's best player throughout the season in what has been a blistering start to her young career. She already has 43 hits, 26 runs, eight doubles, 10 RBI, seven stolen bases and a .336 batting average. 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.
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 five times in 138 plate appearances this year (3.62 percent) which is good for 12th-best in the nation.
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.
Robey to the Rescue
Freshman pitcher Sydney Robey continues her stellar season as she leads the team with six victories and a 6-4 overall record. She is riding a streak of nine straight appearances without a loss and sports a 5.38 ERA with 69 innings pitched and 30 strikeouts this season.
Hits, Hits and More Hits
Senior shortstop Alex Alba had her hitting streak of 10 games snapped last Thursday against Stony Brook. 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.
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.
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.
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. Paolucci has compiled a .284 batting average, eight home runs and an impressive 29 RBI while Barba has batted .400 with one homer, 13 RBI, 11 doubles and 19 runs scored in 22 games since making the move.
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 (.265), on-base percentage (.368), walks (16) and runs (17). She already has tallied six multi-hit games this season and knocked in two runs in three separate games last week.
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.
Another conference showdown looms over the weekend as they will take on Fairleigh Dickinson on Saturday, April 20 starting at 1:00 pm.
Contact: Maxx McNall; firstname.lastname@example.org