Softball Looks to Carry Recent NEC-Winning Streak into Saturday Home Doubleheader Against Fairleigh Dickinson
Quinnipiac University Bobcats (14-23, 7-3 NEC)
vs. Fairleigh Dickinson Knights (17-16, 6-6 NEC)
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Fairleigh Dickinson @ Quinnipiac – 1:00 p.m./3:00 p.m.
QU Softball Field – Hamden, Conn.
Six and Counting
Despite three losses this week, the Quinnipiac softball team comes into Saturday's doubleheader against Fairleigh Dickinson riding a six-game NEC winning streak. After starting conference play 1-3, the Bobcats have improved to 7-3 in the NEC and have moved all the way up into the fourth spot in the standings. In order to maintain their hold on the fourth and final playoff spot in the upcoming NEC Tournament, Quinnipiac will need to continue their uptick starting with two games against the Knights whom the Bobcats have dominated in their all-time meetings, 10-1, in favor of Quinnipiac.
Fairleigh Dickinson Scouting Report
The Knights are a surprising 17-16 on the season after sweeping Saint Peter's and splitting with Sacred Heart and Bryant last week. Fairleigh Dickinson was picked to finish last in the NEC this season and have silenced doubters with a 6-6 start in conference play including a big-time win over current NEC leader Robert Morris, 3-2, which owns a 7-1 record within conference play. The team is hitting .263 collectively and has outscored opponents, 118-100 through 33 games. Senior Mikayla Fernandez leads the team with a .316 average at the plate, five home runs and 14 RBI on the season. Fernandez was recently named the Northeast Conference Player of the Week after knocking in eight RBI with 11 hits, including five home runs last week. Freshmen Madelaine Wilen and Courtney Slye are also hitting above .300 in their debut seasons with marks of .324 and .316, respectively. Slye also has five homers on the year and 16 RBI. Freshman Loren Stavrou leads the Knights' pitching staff with a 1.64 ERA in 64 innings pitched. The rookie has struck out 47 batters, while holding opponents to a .231 average against and currently holds a 5-3 win-loss record. As a whole, the Knights pitchers maintain an ERA of 2.52 with 134 strikeouts and 66 walks through 33 games.
All-Time Against the Stags
Quinnipiac owns one of their best all-time opponent records against Fairleigh Dickinson as the Bobcats are 10-1 lifetime taking on the Knights. They are currently riding a four-game winning streak against their conference foe with the one loss coming on March 31, 2009. The Knights have competed the last several battles however, as the Bobcats have won the past three games by a combined four runs. The Bobcats have also never lost at home to the Knights as they are 5-0 in five all-time meetings.
The Bobcats went 0-3 throughout the week as they lost to Fairfield and twice to Harvard in a Thursday doubleheader. Their seven-game winning streak was snapped on Tuesday in a 5-2 loss to Fairfield. The Stags pitching staff dominated the Bobcat hitters all afternoon as they could only muster six hits and two unearned runs through the full seven innings. Thursday was a historic day despite the two losses to the Crimson as Alex Alba tied for the most career doubles of any Quinnipiac player as she now has totaled 43 two-base hits for her career. Alba is now tied with Sarah Collins '06 for the most career doubles of any Bobcat in all-time. Courtney Solt also impressed with her sixth three-hit game of the season and she followed with a 2-for-3 outing in game two to give her 15 multi-hit games this season, the most on the team.
Alba's Big Day
One of the most consistent hitters the Bobcats have ever seen, Alex Alba is starting to climb her way to the top of the Quinnipiac all-time leaderboards as she now is tied with Sarah Collins '06 for the most career doubles (43) and is tied with Stacey Croft '01 in third-place on the all-time hits list (186). During this season, she has compiled the second-most doubles (11) and RBI (23) on the team.
Solt-an of Swat
Freshman Courtney Solt has quickly established herself as one of the best players for the Bobcats this season. With her seven hits in three games this week, including her sixth three-hit game of the season, Solt has become the 20th player in Quinnipiac history to record at least 50 hits in a single season. She already has 50 hits, 29 runs, nine doubles, 12 RBI, seven stolen bases and a .362 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. She is currently riding a five-game hitting streak in which she has batted .500 with two doubles, one triple, three RBI and four runs.
This Bobcat squad certainly has had a hand for the dramatic as they've won four games in come-from-behind fashion during their 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 won seven games in-a-row last week, a feat the Bobcats have matched 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 43 career doubles while Paolucci is up to 25 career home runs. Alba is just one away from becoming the all-time record holder while Paolucci trails Sarah Collins' record of 29 by just four heading into this weekend's games.
Senior Lauren Salgado quietly put together a nine-game hitting streak last week including several clutch hits with none bigger than her last one on Sunday. Having gone hitless in her first three at-bats against Sacred Heart, 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 186 is just four away from sole possession of second place and just 14 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 (.364), on-base percentage (.436) and slugging percentage (.542). She also sports impressive hitting numbers across the board including hits (43), doubles (12), home runs (three), RBI (20), walks (12), stolen bases (four) and runs (25) 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 16 of her past 18 games.
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 149 plate appearances this year (3.36 percent) which is good for 12th-best in the nation.
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.
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.
Hits, Hits and More Hits
Sophomore second baseman Nikki Barba had her hitting streak of 11 games snapped on April 10 against Fairfield. The hitting streak is the longest for any Bobcat this season as Barba absolutely tore the cover off the ball in the 11-game span with a .44 (16-for-36) batting average, five RBI, four doubles, nine 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 conference-high 36 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 .286 batting average, eight home runs and an impressive 29 RBI while Barba has batted .386 with one homer, 13 RBI, 11 doubles and 20 runs scored in 25 games since making the move.
Bridging the Gap
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 (.269), on-base percentage (.362), walks (16) and runs (18). She already has tallied seven 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.
The Bobcats will have an entire week off between games as they will take on Bryant and Central Conn. St. in separate doubleheaders next weekend. The two-game set against the Bulldogs will be on the road while the Blue Devils will travel to Hamden for the Senior Day matchup.
Contact: Maxx McNall; firstname.lastname@example.org