Softball Drops Two Games to Reigning MAAC Champion Marist, 6-2 and 8-7 in 10 Innings

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – The Bobcats certainly didn't make it easy for the reigning MAAC Champion Marist Red Foxes on Saturday as they held a lead in game one and sent game two into the 10th inning but ultimately were swept in a doubleheader from Gartland Field, 6-2 and 8-7 (10 innings). Not to be lost among the two losses was junior Jordan Paolucci (Lake Mary, Fla.) breaking the Quinnipiac Division I hitting streak record as she upped her incredible run to 17 straight games with a base hit. Quinnipiac's record falls to 10-32 (5-11 MAAC) on the season while the Red Foxes now sit along in second place in the conference at 19-21 overall and 9-3 in MAAC play.

In their first ever meetings against the Red Foxes, the Bobcats showed well against one of the MAAC's elite generating nine runs and 17 hits throughout the doubleheader. Paolucci led the way with three hits including her ninth home run of the season in game one. Sophomores Abby Johnson (Chelmsford, Mass.) and Sydney Robey (Glenmoore, Pa.) also chipped in with three hits in the doubleheader, with Robey going 3-for-5 with two runs in the nightcap. Sophomore Dani Edmands (Northborough, Mass.) slugged her second career home run and set a new career high with three RBI in a 2-for-5 day at the plate in game two. Junior Nikki Barba (San Diego, Calif.) walked three times in the two games and sophomore Courtney Solt (Boyertown, Pa.) doubled twice to lead the Quinnipiac offense.

On the mound, junior Hannah Lindsley (Narragansett, R.I.) limited the potent Red Fox offense to four runs in her 5.1 innings of work. Lindsley did her best in moments of peril as she allowed eight hits, four walks and hit a batter in her outing but she worked out of trouble brilliantly to keep her team close in a game that was tied 2-2 heading into the fifth. Robey tossed all 9.2 innings in game two throwing a season-high 166 pitches, the most for any Bobcat pitcher this season. She allowed eight runs on 12 hits with five walks, much like Lindsley escaping potential damage despite her high pitch count.

The doubleheader started in grand fashion for the Bobcat lineup as they struck for two runs on two home runs in the first inning of game one. Barba started things off with a leadoff homer to left center and just one out later Paolucci went opposite field for her ninth home run of the season. Barba's homer is the 12th of her career which places her in a tie with Katie Allendorfer '10 and Stacey Croft '01 for the 10th most all-time at Quinnipiac while Paolucci's bomb was the 38th of her career and 115th RBI, both first and third respectively in the program's record books.

Marist tied the score at 2-2 in the third with a pair of solo shots but the Bobcats had a prime opportunity in their half of the fifth to reclaim the lead. Lindsley led off with a double to left field but three straight outs swung the momentum back in favor of the Red Foxes who took advantage with three runs in the bottom of the fifth.

After the Bobcats allowed another solo home run in the sixth, they managed to load the bases in the seventh to bring the tying run to the plate with two outs but a swinging strikeout put an end to game one with a 6-2 Marist win.

Game two featured another patented Bobcat comeback in the seventh inning as they overcame a deficit of three runs or more for the third time in 2014. The nightcap also was decided in 10 innings which was the longest game played for Quinnipiac since their 12 inning thriller against Robert Morris in the 2011 Northeast Conference semifinals, defeating the Colonials 4-3 on May 12, 2011.

In contrast to game one, Marist jumped out to an early 4-0 lead after three innings before the Bobcats struck back with three runs in the fourth. After Johnson and Paolucci singled to lead off the inning, a Marist throwing error brought Johnson home on a Robey fielder's choice. Edmands then cashed in with a two-run home run to center field that closed the gap to 4-3.

The Marist offense, however, wasn't fazed as they tacked on three more runs to open the lead to 7-3. The Bobcats, meanwhile, again had plenty of opportunities as they advanced a runner into scoring position in the fifth and sixth innings but couldn't cash in both times.

That was at least until the seventh inning as four runs saved the Bobcats and send this one in extra innings. Freshman Keilani Finley (Alameda, Calif.) started the run with a leadoff walk. Solt followed up with a double and Barba walked to load the bases. Despite the pressure, Marist looked to have escaped as they recorded two straight outs but their defense ultimately cost them a chance to close this out in regulation. Robey singled home a run to make it a three-run game and then Edmands followed with a single to shortstop but a throwing error to first base went way wide and allowed all three runs to score on the play to send the game into extras.

Both pitchers dominated in the eighth and ninth innings including a heroic effort from Robey as Marist went 0-for-3 combined with runners in scoring position in the two innings.

Despite Robey's best efforts, the unrelenting Marist offensive pressure led to the Bobcats' demise in nightcap. After Robey cruised through the first two batters with a strikeout and groundout, a two-out walk is where the trouble started. Marist then followed with a single, hit-by-pitch and capped with a walk-off single to left center that gave the Red Foxes an 8-7 win in 10 innings.

The Bobcats will have three days off to collect themselves and prepare for a Wednesday home doubleheader against Hartford. Quinnipiac softball will be wearing pink uniforms to commemorate their 1st annual StriKe Out Cancer Game in which the team is donating over $2,000 to the American Cancer Society. Fans that wish to donate can click on this link and can also come root on the Bobcats against the Hawks with a start time of 2:30 pm for game one.

Contact: Maxx McNall; maxx.mcnall@quinnipiac.edu