Quinnipiac University Bobcats (8-27, 4-8 MAAC)
Stony Brook Seawolves (20-14, 10-1 America East)
Monmouth University Hawks (10-15, 2-4 MAAC)
Thursday, April 17, 2014 (QU Softball Field – Hamden, Conn.)
Stony Brook @ Quinnipiac – 3:00 p.m.
Stony Brook @ Quinnipiac – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, April 20, 2014 (QU Softball Field – Hamden, Conn.)
Monmouth @ Quinnipiac – 12:00 p.m.
Monmouth @ Quinnipiac – 2:00 p.m.
The Quinnipiac softball team begins their regular season-ending home stand that includes 11 games at home compared to just three on the road in their final 14 contests of the season with a Thursday non-conference doubleheader against Stony Brook. This year's meeting between the Seawolves and Bobcats will make nine straight seasons in which the two have faced off with Stony Brook owning the all-time advantage with an 8-5 record. Following the Thursday doubleheader is an Easter Sunday holiday special that features the Bobcats squaring off against the Monmouth Hawks with first pitch scheduled for 12:00 pm. In an annual rivalry that also is going into its ninth consecutive year, the Bobcats have split the all-time series with an 8-8 record against the Hawks.
All-Time Against the Competition
In a week featuring two very familiar annual opponents for the Bobcats, the Stony Brook Seawolves and Monmouth Hawks resume their regional rivalry with Quinnipiac. The Seawolves have gotten the best of Quinnipiac in recent years as they swept the Bobcats, 6-0 and 5-4, last year. Overall, Stony Brook has won six of the last eight meetings and come in with an 8-5 record all-time against Quinnipiac. The Hawks and Bobcats are two former Northeast Conference foes that have squared off 16 times in their series history with an even 8-8 record both ways. They've met twice in the postseason (1-1 record) but the Bobcats have been impressive of late with an 8-3 record in the last 11 meetings.
Scouting the Seawolves
Stony Brook comes into Thursday's doubleheader winners of five straight and find themselves atop the America East standings with only six conference games remaining. The Seawolves enter play with a record of 20-14 overall and a 10-1 mark in America East play which currently puts them in first place. Their lone blemish in conference play came in a 7-3 loss to second place Albany all the way back on March 22. Stony Brook's five-game winning streak ties a season high while they also come in with a 6-3 record on the road and an even better 9-1 mark at home. This Stony Brook squad is headlined by their ace pitcher Allison Cukrov who was just named the America East Pitcher of the Week on Monday after compiling a 4-0 record with a 0.81 ERA in 26 innings. She threw three one-hitters in four appearances while striking out 29 batters in the process. For the season, Cukrov comes in with a 14-7 record, 2.67 ERA and 115 strikeouts in 125.2 innings of work. She has won nine straight decisions and her 14 wins are tied for the lead in the conference. Backing up Sukrov on the mound is Jane Sallen (6-7, 3.59 ERA, 93.2 innings, .252 batting average allowed) as the Bobcats have a tall task in front of them trying to score runs against this prolific and established duo. As a team, the Seawolves bat only .270 for the season with 120 runs in 34 games (3.53 per game average) but have scored nine runs or more in three of their last eight games. Olivia Mintun (.307 average) leads the team in hitting while Bria Green (eight home runs, 26 RBI) supplies the power for this Stony Brook lineup that will rely heavily on their team speed (26 stolen bases) and moving runners over (24 sacrifice hits) to score their runs. They also feature a balanced lineup that has nine batters batting at least .250 this season.
Scouting the Hawks
One of the preseason favorites in the MAAC, the former Northeast Conference power Monmouth has plenty of talent that easily ranks among the elite in their new conference. The Hawks own a 10-15 record as of Wednesday this week and have compiled a 2-4 record in MAAC play after just six games. Much like the other 10 teams in the MAAC, inclement weather has forced several schedule conflicts that has resulted in Monmouth set to play three doubleheaders over the course of four days (April 17-20). Despite their conference record, the Hawks have played the toughest inter-conference schedule of any team in the MAAC as their 2-4 record came against Siena, Iona and Fairfield, all of which are ranked in the top four of the conference standings. Monmouth is very much a team that relies on its hitting as the Hawks currently have five batters all hitting above .309 after 25 games in 2014. Vanessa Cardoza put together a .329 season with 38 RBI at the dish last season on the way to earning All-NEC honors and is already well on her way to putting together another All-Conference season as she leads the team in hitting with a .341 average. Cardoza's power hasn't been there with just five extra base hits (three doubles, two homers) but her pedigree atop the Monmouth order is already well established and is not to be taken lightly for the Bobcat pitchers. Jill Freese (.328, three homers, 17 RBI), Shannon Fitzgerald (.328, 14 runs, 11 RBI), Rachel Shotzbarger (.315, nine doubles, 15 RBI) and Justene Reyes (.309, 12 RBI, .435 on-base) combine with Cardoza to pose a powerful five Hawks that Quinnipiac must deal with in their meeting on Sunday. On the mound, Monmouth has only thrown two pitches all season with Sydney Underhill leading the way with a 3.74 ERA in 112.1 innings. She has compiled a 7-10 record with nine complete games and one shutout to go along with 57 strikeouts. Breanna Sniffen (3-5, 6.39 ERA, 49.1 innings) combines with Underhill for all 161.2 innings this season for Monmouth.
Paolucci Hits Double Digits
Quinnipiac's top hitter this season has been their redshirt junior Jordan Paolucci who comes in riding a career high 10-game hitting streak. The only Bobcat to hit a double, triple and home run this season leads the team in average (.363), home runs (7), RBI (21) and slugging percentage (.659) while her hitting streak is the highest for any Bobcat hitter this season.
Johnson Goes Yard
One of the lone bright spots for the Bobcats in their Sunday doubleheader against Iona was their slight leadoff hitter in sophomore Abby Johnson. Standing only 5'4 tall, Johnson took the Gaels' top pitcher Carly Argyle deep for a two-run shot to left field. The home run was the first for Johnson this season and just the second of her career for Quinnipiac.
For the First Time
Quinnipiac junior Hannah Lindsley had the pitching performance of the year on Monday, hurling the first no-hitter for Quinnipiac softball in the Division I era (since 1999) to defeat Manhattan, 2-0. Lindsley had everything working as she limited the highest-scoring lineup in the MAAC coming into the weekend to nothing offensively. Lindsley's no-hit effort is the first for any Bobcat pitcher in the 16-year history as an NCAA Division I program. As if the accomplishment wasn't impressive enough, Lindsley came just one walk and one hit batter away from throwing the first perfect game in the 37-year history of the program. Lindsley finished with a line of seven innings, no hits, no runs, two strikeouts and just one walk. Her defense fielded the ball perfectly as all 21 outs were secured without error in the Bobcats' victory.
Some More Notes About Hannah's No-No
In a game that was made up from a March 29 postponement, play began in the fourth inning with Lindsley already having worked through three hitless frames. She finished off her no-hitter with four frames of no-hit ball on Monday afternoon to become the first player in the history of NCAA Division I to throw a no-hitter in a game that was played on multiple days. The shutout is also the first for any Bobcat pitcher this season and the fourth of Lindsley's career.
Throughout the Bobcats' five-game weekend on the road from April 5-7, the Bobcats put on an offensive display that rivals some of the best stretches the program has ever seen. Quinnipiac scored 43 runs in five games and batted .407, slugged .717 and totaled an on-base percentage of .494 to pick up a 4-1 record on the road. The Bobcats also added 12 doubles, 11 home runs, 41 RBI, 11 stolen bases and 22 walks throughout the offensive explosion.
The Bobcat offensive attack busted out a single-game program record 20 hits, tallied 15 unanswered runs and also scored the largest margin of victory on the road since May 6, 2005 as they defeated Saint Peter's, 16-4, on April 5 in five innings. For Quinnipiac, their dominating performance was the 12-run margin of victory since Feb. 26, 2012 in a 14-1 win over Saint Peter's and their largest margin of victory on the road since a 13-1 victory over St. Francis (Pa.) back on May 6, 2005. It was also their first win via mercy-rule since April 7, 2013 (W, 13-5) in six innings against Mount St. Mary's and their most runs scored since March 16, 2013 in a 16-7 win over Colgate.
Let the Good Times Roll
In addition to the single-game hits record established on April 5, several more Bobcats picked up some record-breaking performances. Courtney Solt tallied a career high four hits and tied a single-game program record with five runs scored. Jordan Paolucci drove in a career high six runs which tied another single-game program record. A total of 11 Bobcats tallied a base hit on Saturday and 12 batters reached base safely to break yet another single-game record.
Paolucci's Player of the Week
After one of the most impressive offensive displays in the history of Quinnipiac softball last weekend, junior catcher/infielder Jordan Paolucci took home MAAC Player of the Week honors on April 8 for the first time in her storied career. The Bobcats' all-time home run leader spearheaded an incredible week for the Quinnipiac offense that averaged over 8 runs per game and close to 10 hits in seven games last week for a Bobcat squad that rattled off three straight wins to have a 4-3 winning record. Paolucci raked .565 (13-for-23) in seven games with nine runs, two doubles, two walks, three home runs and 12 RBI.
Home Run Heaven
In a doubleheader against Rider on April 13, the Bobcats combined for eight home runs against the Broncs. Quinnipiac came one homer shy in game two of tying the single-game program record but set a two-game record with the eight home runs. Among those to go deep were Paolucci (twice), Hannah Lindsley (twice, first two career homers), Nikki Barba (10th career), Katie Alfiere (second career, first since April 1, 2012), Keilani Finley (first career) and Paige Giunta (first as a Bobcat).
See the Ball, Hit the Ball
Jordan Paolucci enters Thursday riding her career high 10-game hitting streak. During her hitting streak she went through four-game stretch wherein she hit one home run in those four games straight. Paolucci has absolutely destroyed the ball in the 10-game stretch as she's batting .667 (16-for-24) with seven runs, four homers, 13 RBI and a monster 1.292 slugging percentage. She also has walked six times to give her a .735 on-base percentage.
Quinnipiac's red-shirt junior Jordan Paolucci became just the third Bobcat in program history to reach the 100 career RBI club on April 5 against St. Peter's. She finished with three RBI to join Sarah Collins '06 (124) and Kerri McMahon '96 (120) as the only three to reach the 100-career RBI milestone. With 110 RBI entering the week, Paolucci needs just 15 more to become the program's all-time record holder.
Finding a Way
Quinnipiac's 11-10 come-from-behind victory over UConn on April 3 saw the Bobcats erase a three-run deficit heading into their half of the seventh inning. For the Bobcats, the game against UConn on Thursday represented many firsts:
- First walk-off hit since Jordan Paolucci's grand slam in the 8th inning against FDU on April 20, 2013
- First comeback from at least a two-run deficit in the 7th inning or later since April 26, 2012 against Iona
- First time Bobcats came back from a deficit of more than three runs in the 7th inning since before the 2004 season
- Most combined runs (12) between both teams in the 7th inning of a game in program history
One Shining Moment
Even more history was made with Nikki Barba's walk-off single with the bases loaded as she struck a 1-2 fastball to right field that broke a 10-10 tie and score the game-winning run from third base. The hit gave Barba a 3-for-4 day (tied career high) with two runs, career-high four RBI, one double and one home run. It was also the first walk-off hit of Barba's three-year career.
Welcome to the 100 Hit Club
Quinnipiac's junior second baseman Nikki Barba became the 31st player in Quinnipiac softball history to record her 100th career base hit last weekend. She tallied a single against Green Bay to join the long lineage of success for the Bobcats in recruiting dynamic offensive talent. Barba also became the second player for the Bobcats this season to join the 100 hit club as Jordan Paolucci did so back in February.
Eight Away from 100
With just eight more base hits, sophomore Courtney Solt would become the 32nd player in Quinnipiac softball history to reach 100 career hits. Solt tallied a single-season program record 66 hits during her debut season as a Bobcat in 2013 and already has tallied 26 this season. If she were to reach 100 before the end of the season, she would join the all-time hits leader Alicia Longobardi '97 (219 hits) as the only Bobcats to reach 100 before the start of their junior season.
Ever since her move up into the leadoff position in the Bobcats' order, sophomore Abby Johnson has been a revelation with the team's 4th-best average at .358 (24-for-67) with the 2nd-best on-base percentage (.482) as she has also picked up 14 runs, 14 walks, three hit-by-pitches and seven RBI in 24 games since the move-up the order. Johnson has also played stellar defense out in right field as she leads all the Bobcats' outfielders with eight assists on the season.
Full Steam Ahead
Nikki Barba had her six-game hitting streak snapped last Saturday, the longest such streak for any Bobcat hitter this season, but Barba has been nothing short of unstoppable as she has tallied a hit in 17 of the last 27 games for Quinnipiac. During this stretch, Barba is batting .354 with four home runs, 18 RBI, 11 walks, five doubles and 12 runs scored.
We Want More Robey
After tallying just six at-bats throughout the entire 2013 season, sophomore pitcher/first baseman Sydney Robey has come out of nowhere to lead the Quinnipiac offense through 30 games. Robey has compiled a .280 average (28-for-100) with 15 extra base hits (9 doubles, 5 home runs). She also sports the 5th-best on-base percentage (.368) as she's chipped in 11 walks in 2014. She tallied her first career homer against Georgia State while she tied a single-game program record with three doubles against Campbell. Just this week she smashed her team-leading fifth home run of the season and also tallied her first career three-hit game, going 3-for-4 with two runs against St. John's.
MAAC Player of the Week
Courtney Solt became the first Quinnipiac player to ever win a MAAC Player of the Week award after the sophomore outfielder had herself an incredible four-game stretch at the Towson Invitational. She batted .727 (8-for-11) with five runs, one RBI, one double, one walk, three hit-by-pitches and three stolen bases. Solt posted an incredible .800 on-base percentage and slugged .818 for the week. She recorded at least one hit in all four games while she reached base safely at least twice in all four games.
MAAC Pitcher of the Week
The Bobcats' lone senior Katie Alfiere made some history this week as she became the first Bobcat to win a MAAC Pitcher of the Week award. The weekly award win is the second in Alfiere's career and the first for the program since May 7, 2012. She won the award after pitching in four games last weekend for Quinnipiac with 8.2 innings pitched allowing seven hits, two earned runs, one walk and three strikeouts. Alfiere finished with a 1.82 ERA and also picked up a clutch two-out save on Sunday as she entered with the bases loaded and didn't allow a run to score against St. John's (NY).
Newly hired head coach Jill Karwoski earned her first career win at Quinnipiac with a 5-3 victory over St. John's (NY) on Sunday, March 9. Her team certainly earned the victory as they found themselves down 3-1 after just two innings but rallied for a come-from-behind 5-3 win. Karwoski also made a pressure-packed decision to bring in senior pitcher Katie Alfiere with one out and the bases loaded in the seventh and her senior came through with two consecutive outs that left three Red Storm runners on-base to seal the victory.
Home Run Queen
Undoubtedly the greatest power hitter the Quinnipiac softball program has ever seen, junior catcher Jordan Paolucci became the all-time leader in career home runs for the Bobcats over the weekend. She jacked out a solo home run in the second inning against Maine to pick up her 31st career home run, passing Sarah Collins '06 for first place on the all-time list. Paolucci is currently on pace to slug more than 50 career home runs as she still has over 80 percent of the games this season including another full year in 2015 to add to her already impressive record.
Quinnipiac's junior catcher Jordan Paolucci shook off a tough start to the season where she was batting less than .240 after 24 games and is now all the way up to .363. Paolucci slugged her second grand slam of the season on Saturday against St. Peter's which was the fifth of her career, easily the most of any Bobcat in program history.
In Steps Jill
Quinnipiac University Director of Athletics and Recreation Jack McDonald announced the hiring of Jill Karwoski as the head coach on Feb. 27, 2014. Karwoski comes to Quinnipiac from Providence College where she served as the assistant coach in 2012-13. Prior to joining Quinnipiac, Karwoski was the head coach at Merrimack College for the 2011-12 season. Before Merrimack, Karwoski spent four years as the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at Boston College, a position she held from 2007 through 2011. She also has head coaching experience at Morehead State University where she manned the helm from 2004 through 2007.
Contact: Maxx McNall; email@example.com