Paolucci Smacks Solo Home Run, Giunta Doubles in Go-Ahead Run for Softball in 4-3 Win over Sacred Heart

HAMDEN, Conn. – Two crucial runs on two thunderous hits in the fourth inning for the Quinnipiac University softball team factored heavily in the Bobcats' 4-3 victory over regional rival Sacred Heart on Thursday. In a game that featured a sunny sky but overwhelming wind gusts approaching 40 mph, the Bobcats weathered the storm with a solid pitching outing from junior Hannah Lindsley (Narragansett, R.I.) and two massive shots from junior Jordan Paolucci (Lake Mary, Fla.) and sophomore Paige Giunta (Downingtown, Pa.) that proved the difference for Quinnipiac.

With their second straight win the Bobcats move to 10-30 on the season while the Pioneers drop their eighth straight to fall to 12-25. They also improve their all-time mark against Sacred Heart to 12-8 including a perfect 7-0 record from the QU Softball Field.

Paolucci's eighth home run of the season tied the score at 2-2 while the hero on Sunday against Monmouth in Giunta factored against as she doubled in the go-ahead running later in the fourth inning to give the Bobcats the lead for good. Paolucci increased her team-leading RBI total to 25 as she tacked on another with a sacrifice fly in the first inning. The home run also upped her career-long hitting streak to 15 games as this is the longest such streak for any Bobcat since the 2001 season. Giunta followed up her walk-off double against Monmouth with her third two-base hit of the season while she also walked to reach base safely twice in three plate appearances. Freshman Keilani Finley (Alameda, Calif.) and sophomores Courtney Solt (Glenmoore, Pa.) and Abby Johnson (Chelmsford, Mass.) each singled in the victory while Paolucci, Finley, junior Nikki Barba (San Diego, Calif.) and sophomore Dani Edmands (Northborough, Mass.) all scored one run each.

Lindsley got the call on the mound for her 16th start of the season and performed very well against extreme wind conditions as she picked up the complete game victory allowing nine hits, three runs (two earned) and one walk while striking out three. Lindsley moves her team-leading record to 6-8 on the season while she earns her first win since April 6 against Rider (five appearances ago).

Quinnipiac started the game off strong as they scored their first run in the opening inning with a great small ball strategy that started with Barba reaching on a walk. Johnson then bunted her over on a slow roller back to the pitcher. A wild pitch moved Barba over to third and Paolucci capitalized with a sacrifice fly to deep center field.

Lindsley continued to work along without problem as she retired the first seven Pioneers in-order before allowing a single to McKenna Wiegand in the third. After a force out at second base, Sacred Heart's Jenn Robillard stole second base and scored on a single down the left field line but the batter Andrea Sidor was gunned down by Solt out in left field as her throw to second base ended the inning with the score tied 1-1.

Two Bobcats errors in the fourth inning led to a Pioneer run but Lindsley was able to escape a bases loaded jam as she tossed a strikeout and induced a groundout to Barba at shortstop to limit the damage to just one run.

The Bobcat backed up their pitcher in the bottom of the fourth as Paolucci hit her solo shot to deep center field to tie the score with one out. Her blast appeared to be headed for the left field fence but the severe wind gusts curled the ball as it landed all the way out in center field. The inning continued as Edmands walked and Giunta came through with a screaming line drive double that made it all the way to the wall and scored Edmands all the way from first.

Quinnipiac added a much-needed insurance run in the fifth as Finley and Solt led off with singles and after Johnson tacked on another base hit to load the bases, sophomore Sydney Robey (Glenmoore, Pa.) drew a walk to score Finley and make it 4-2 Bobcats.

Sacred Heart put the pressure on the Bobcats in the sixth as three of the first four batters at the plate all singled to load the bases with one out. Lindsley again battled through the pressure to induce an RBI groundout before popping the last batter out to third base. It didn't get any easier in the seventh for Quinnipiac as a walk and single to left field put the game-tying run in scoring position but a groundout to second and pop out to short ended the game and a well-earned victory for Lindsley.

A big road weekend doubleheader is up next for Quinnipiac as they travel to face the 2013 MAAC Tournament Champion Marist Red Foxes on Saturday starting at 1:00 pm. Playoff implications and seeding are at stake for both squads as only six conference games remain for the Bobcats.

Contact: Maxx McNall;