Quinnipiac University Bobcats (15-31, 8-8 NEC)
vs. Manhattan Jaspers (20-24, 9-7 MAAC)
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Manhattan @ Quinnipiac – 2:30 p.m./4:30 p.m.
QU Softball Field – Hamden, Conn.
Thursday marks the final home games of the 2013 regular season for the Quinnipiac softball team as they will be taking on the Manhattan Jaspers in a future MAAC preview. With the Bobcats moving into the MAAC next season, the Jaspers will be one of the Bobcats' conference foes to deal with in 2014 and beyond. Quinnipiac comes in with a 15-31 overall record and have built up a .500 mark in the NEC at 8-8. With four NEC games still left to play, there is still an outside chance the Bobcats will make the postseason. The team will need to sweep all four games remaining including two against Robert Morris, whom the Bobcats also need to lose all four remaining games in order to gain a playoff berth. Manhattan will serve as the final warm-up for the Bobcats heading into what could be the last weekend of the regular season.
Manhattan Scouting Report
One of the future conference opponents for the Bobcats next season in the MAAC, Manhattan comes into Thursday's two-game set with a 19-23 overall mark and 9-7 mark in the MAAC. Despite the losing season, the Jaspers have been playing well of late, coming in winners of four out of the past six games. The doubleheader against Quinnipiac will be the 2013 regular season finale for the Jaspers. The team is currently in fifth place in the MAAC standings but the fourth place team Iona must win both games this weekend in order to secure the fourth and final playoff spot over Manhattan. The Jaspers started their conference slate with an undefeated 6-0 record while riding a seven-game winning streak in the meantime but then lost seven of their next eight games. Offensively, the Jaspers are paced by Elena Bowman who leads the team in average (.357), home runs (12), RBI (34), slugging percentage (.682) and hit by pitches (18). She is supported by Kate Bowen who has the most hits (55) and second-most homers (6) and RBI (33). Their pitching staff features a pair of 100-plus starters in Bowen and Amy Bright. Bowen leads the team with nine wins and 3.63 ERA with 10 complete game efforts while Bright is 6-8 with a 4.33 ERA coming into Thursday.
All-Time Against the Jaspers
Quinnipiac owns a winning record against Manhattan in their 10 all-time meetings as the Bobcats are 7-3 throughout their series history, including an undefeated 4-0 record against the Jaspers at home. The two teams met twice last season with the sides playing to a split in an April doubleheader. Alex Alba went deep for a two-run homer to help the Bobcats come away with a 3-2 victory in game two of the doubleheader last year.
Last weekend the Bobcats were swept twice in a pair of NEC doubleheaders against Bryant and Central Conn. St. Saturday's doubleheader against the Bulldogs was particularly unkind as Quinnipiac held a 6-0 lead in game one but couldn't hold on late as Bryant smacked a walk-off two-run double to come away with a 9-8 victory. The momentum clearly swung over into game two as the Bulldogs jumped out early and shutout the Bobcats, 8-0, in five innings. The Blue Devils then dominated the Bobcats on Sunday with a pair of 9-0 and 10-2 victories. Quinnipiac honored its four seniors before the start of Sunday's games as the group played in their last home conference doubleheader.
All Alba All the Time
Heading into the weekend in third place with 188 career hits, senior Alex Alba made some history as she tallied a pair of base hits to move into sole possession of second place on Quinnipiac's all-time leader board in career hits. Alba hasn't recorded less than 44 hits in a single season out of her four years as a Bobcat.
Alex Alba Career Highlights
The Bobcat shortstop for the past four seasons will leave Quinnipiac with her name etches in the record books for quite some time. Alex Alba currently sits first all-time in doubles with 43, third in hits with 190, fifth in runs batted in with 90, and eighth in home runs with 13 for her career. Named to the All-NEC Second Team last year, she has appeared in 190 of 201 games throughout her four years. A stellar shortstop from the get-go her freshman season, this player will go down as one of the program's all-time bests.
Bridget Figmic Career Highlights
A true model of consistency, today will be Bridget Figmic's 135th consecutive start at the hot corner for the Bobcats. She is in the midst of a career year with 31 hits and 18 runs batted in coming into the weekend while continuing her sensational defensive play at third base as she leads her team with a .968 fielding percentage and just six errors this season. One of the senior co-captains, her leadership and dedication to the program has helped lift the team to new heights the past four seasons.
Kortney Kesses Career Highlights
Quinnipiac's jack-of-all-trades the past four seasons, Kortney Kesses has played every position other than pitcher and shortstop. Her versatility is unquestioned and she is a driving force for the players as the other senior co-captain. She has broke out this season with career highs in hits (23), home runs (3), RBI (11), runs (19), walks (16) and stolen bases (4) coming into the weekend.
Lauren Salgado Career Highlights
Lauren Salgado has brought significant speed and intensity to the Bobcat lineup for the past four seasons. Standing at just five feet, four inches, she currently has the third-most steals in program history with 46 and is 11th all-time with 137 hits. Thursday's game will be her 200th appearance throughout her four years, all of which manning the outfield position for Quinnipiac.
Jordan Paolucci's walk-off grand slam in game two against Fairleigh Dickinson was her third grand-slam of the season and first walk-off. It was the second time the Bobcats had walked-off on a grand slam in two weeks as Alex Alba went deep with the bases loaded the end game one of a doubleheader against Mount St. Mary's.
Ace up the Sleeve
Hannah Lindsley tossed the best game of her career as she twirled a three-hit shutout of the Knights in game two, going the full eight innings and allowing no runs on three walks with four strikeouts. It is her second shutout of the season and first since her first start of the year back in Feb. where she tossed a complete-game two-hitter against Drexel.
Rewriting Record Books
One of the most consistent hitters the Bobcats have ever seen, Alex Alba has climbed her way to the top of the Quinnipiac all-time leaderboards as she now is tied with Sarah Collins '06 for the most doubles (43) and is in second-place on the all-time hits list (190). 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 three hits in three games played last week, including her 17th multi-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 56 hits, 31 runs, nine doubles, 14 RBI, seven stolen bases and a .364 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.
This Bobcat squad certainly has had a hand for the dramatic as they won four games in come-from-behind fashion during their seven-game winning streak which came to an end two weeks ago. Quinnipiac 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, a feat the Bobcats have matched twice since 2004 as they reeled off seven straight in the 2006 and 2012 season.
Sophomore Jordan Paolucci continues to supply the power for the Bobcats as she tallied one run batted in last week as she continues to lead the Northeast Conference in both home runs (11) and RBI (41). She also became the first player in program history to slug at least10 home runs in multiple seasons.
Just Needs One More
Jordan Paolucci continues to shatter the Quinnipiac record books as she is just one RBI away from eclipsing the program's single-season record for most RBI's. She enters the weekend with 41 and needs just one more for the record that she currently shares with Kerri McMahon '95.
The Bobcats employ the stolen base more than any team in the conference as they feature the quickest lineup in the entire league. They come into the weekend with nine players who have at least two stolen bases this season with seven of which coming in with at least four. Courtney Solt leads the team with seven but Brittney Cyr has five stolen bases without being caught this year.
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 a batting average (.348), on-base percentage (.430) and slugging percentage (.515). She also sports impressive hitting numbers across the board including hits (46), doubles (13), home runs (three), RBI (21), walks (16), stolen bases (four) and runs (28) as she ranks in the top-three on the team in all categories.
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 seven times in 167 plate appearances this year which is good for 17th-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.
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 40 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 .289 batting average, nine home runs and an impressive 33 RBI while Barba has batted .358 with one homer, 13 RBI, 11 doubles and 21 runs scored in 27 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 the weekend as one of the Bobcats' key offensive contributors in several offensive categories including batting average (.258), on-base percentage (.355), walks (17) and runs (20). 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 have four more games remaining on the 2013 regular season schedule as they will travel to Robert Morris and St. Francis (Pa.) in what is a rain make-up weekend after the teams were originally scheduled to play in early April.
Contact: Maxx McNall; firstname.lastname@example.org