April 28, 2014

QU Softball Travels to In-State Rival, Former Conference Foe CCSU on Thursday

Quinnipiac University Bobcats (10-32, 5-11 MAAC)
Central Connecticut State University Blue Devils (27-14, 11-5 Northeast Conference)

Thursday, May 1, 2014 (CCSU Softball Field – New Britain, Conn.)
Quinnipiac @ CCSU – 3:30 pm

Cross-Town Clash
The Bobcats (10-32, 5-11 MAAC) will conclude its 2014 non-conference slate with a single non-conference game on Thursday against the CCSU Blue Devils. The will renew a former annual conference showdown and end their 2014 road slate with a single game at CCSU (27-14, 11-5 NEC) on Thursday at 3:30 pm. 

All-Time Against the Competition
The Bobcats are 10-7 all-time against CCSU with an impressive 7-3 record from the QU Softball Field. Quinnipiac was handled in two meetings last season, however, as they were swept at home by a combined score of 19-2. 

Scouting the Blue Devils
CCSU (27-14, 11-5 NEC) is coming off their most decorated season in program history as they claimed their first Northeast Conference Championship in 2013 as well as their first NCAA Tournament victory. The Blue Devils came into 2014 following a 36-15 campaign that saw them finish 16-4 in conference play and defeat LIU Brooklyn in the NEC Championship, 4-3, to advance to their first NCAA Tournament appearance. In the NCAA Regional, the Blue Devils fell just one run short of upsetting the No. 7 ranked LSU Tigers as they fell, 3-2. Despite the loss, CCSU rebounded with a monumental 9-1 victory over Northwestern State to claim their first NCAA Tournament win in program history. All the momentum from 2013 has carried over into the 2014 campaign as they claimed one of the biggest wins in program history earlier this season on March 1 when they defeated No. 15 Stanford, 5-0. The Blue Devils also challenged the No. 1 nationally-ranked Florida Gators in a 8-2 loss on March 18 and gave No. 25 South Florida all they could handle in a 3-2 loss on March 19. Since returning home from the neutral site games down in Florida throughout the month of March, the Blue Devils are 17-5 in their last 22 games. The Bobcats will certainly have their hands full against CCSU who features one of the best pitchers in the nation. Junior Laura Messina is a one-man wrecking crew on the mound as she is tied for the lead in the nation with 12 shutouts. She has racked up five NEC Pitcher of the Week honors in 2014 to go along with an incredible 233 strikeouts in 211.1 innings. Messina has appeared in 33 games (all starts) and has finished 29 of those starts with complete games. She is 22-11 on the season with a staggering 1.46 ERA. Not to be overshadowed, their second ace on the team is a senior Julie Marks who has appeared in 10 games (six starts) and owns a dominating 1.58 ERA in 44.1 innings. As a team, the Blue Devils have compiled an ERA of 1.53 for the season. The Blue Devils' bats are led by a senior in Arielle Bruno who sits atop the CCSU order and owns an average of .348 to go along with 27 runs, five doubles, three home runs, 15 RBI and 23 walks. Kat Malcolm supplies the team's power with a .311 average, 22 runs, eight doubles, four homers and 18 RBI. Alexis Debrosse leads the Blue Devils with five home runs while Eileen Purcell has compiled a team high 22 RBI on the season.

1st Annual StriKe Out Cancer Game
The Quinnipiac University softball team invites all Bobcat fans to attend their 1st annual StriKe Out Cancer Game on Wednesday, April 30 at 2:30 pm. The Bobcats will dawn pink uniforms in support of the American Cancer Society as they welcome the Hartford Hawks for a doubleheader from the QU Softball Field. Those looking to join the fight against cancer can join the Softball team by clicking on the link here and donating to the American Cancer Society (ACS).

See the Ball, Hit the Ball
Jordan Paolucci enters Wednesday riding her career high and Quinnipiac Division I program record 17-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 17-game stretch as she's batting .543 (25-for-46) with nine runs, six homers, 18 RBI and a monster 1.022 slugging percentage. She also has walked seven times and hit by three pitches to give her a .603 on-base percentage.

Marathon Match
Game two of the Bobcats' doubleheader against Marist on Sunday was a thrilled as Quinnipiac came back from a four run deficit in the 7th inning to force extra innings. Both teams played three additional innings before the Red Foxes walked-off with an 8-7 victory in 10 innings. The nightcap was the longest game played for Quinnipiac since their 12-inning thriller against Robert Morris in the 2011 Northeast Conference semifinals as the Bobcats defeated the Colonials 4-3 on May 12.

Moving on Up
Junior infielder Nikki Barba continued to add to her already impressive career resume as she went deep for the 12th time in her career on Saturday against Marist. That home run for Barba placed her into a tie with Katie Allendorfer '10 and Stacey Croft '01 for the 10th-most all-time at Quinnipiac. Already saddled with an 8th place ranking in doubles (25) and 18th all-time in hits (125), Barba deserves recognition as one of the best all-around players in program history.

Paging Giunta
Sophomore infielder Paige Giunta played the role of hero on Easter Sunday for the Bobcats as she lifted a walk-off double to left center field that scored the game-winning run all the way from first in a 6-5 comeback victory over Monmouth. It was Giunta's second double of the season and first career walk-off hit. Giunta carried that momentum into the non-conference battle with Sacred Heart as she drove in the go-ahead run in a 4-3 win with an RBI double to deep right center field.

Comeback Kids
Quinnipiac scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh in a 6-5 come-from-behind victory over Monmouth for their second such comeback from a three-run deficit in three weeks. The Bobcats also trailed UConn on April 3 by three runs heading into their last at-bats before plating four to pick up a pair of thrilling comeback victories in the last three weeks.

In a Category All Her Own
Quinnipiac's top hitter this season has been their redshirt junior Jordan Paolucci who comes in with team highs across the board on the offensive end. Her hitting streak is the longest since before the 1998 season as she continues to lead the team in average (.372), home runs (9), RBI (26) and slugging percentage (.673) while her on-base percentage of .455 also leads the team.

Player of the Year Candidate
Normally known for her home run prowess, the Bobcats' all-time leading home run hitter in Paolucci is rounding out her candidacy for MAAC Player of the Year with an outstanding season at the plate. A year after winning the home run crown in the Northeast Conference, Paolucci ranks 3rd in the MAAC in hitting with a .522 average (24-for-46) in 16 MAAC games while she also leads all players in conference-only games in terms of slugging percentage (.935), on-base percentage (.589), hits (24), home runs (5), total bases (43) and is 3rd in RBI (17).

Take Your Base
One of the most improved Bobcats from last season has been sophomore outfielder Abby Johnson who comes into the week with a .312 average, 20 runs scored, four doubles, 11 RBI, 23 walks and nine stolen bases. Manning the Bobcats' leadoff position for a majority of the season, Johnson has excelled drawing walks as she leads the team and is 4th overall in the MAAC with 23 walks. Her walk total through 42 games is already the highest for any Bobcat since Paolucci drew 26 walks in the 2011 season.

Good Things Come in Threes
Junior infielder Nikki Barba has continued to fly under the radar this season as one of the team's strongest all-around players. Shifting over to the shortstop position for the first time in her career this season, Barba ranks 3rd in the MAAC with 29 assists. She also has been stellar at the plate with the 16th-best average (.331) of any MAAC player while she is 2nd with seven sacrifice bunts and 1st with three sacrifice flies and 10 total sacrifice hits. Barba also went deep on Saturday against Marist to extend a new single-season career high with six home runs in 2014.

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.

Offensive Explosion
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.

Record-Breaking Bobcats
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).

Offensive Explosion
Quinnipiac has enjoyed plenty of offensive success in their first season in the MAAC as they rank 2nd among all 11 teams in home runs with 18 through 16 conference games. They also rank 3rd in the MAAC with 25 doubles and 2nd with 207 total bases. The Bobcats also rank 5th in the conference with 49 walks as a team in conference-only games while they also rank 3rd in slugging percentage (.478), 4th in runs scored (77), 5th in hits (128) and 5th in RBI (68).

Exclusive Company
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 115 RBI entering the week, Paolucci needs just 10 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.

Two Away from 100
With just five 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 has tallied 32 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.

Leading Off
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 .356 (26-for-73) with the 2nd-best on-base percentage (.484) as she has also picked up 15 runs, 16 walks, three hit-by-pitches and nine RBI in 26 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.

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 contribute greatly to the success of the Quinnipiac offense through 42 games. Robey has compiled a .284 average (33-for-116) with 15 extra base hits (9 doubles, 6 home runs). She also sports the 5th-best on-base percentage (.371) as she's chipped in 12 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).

Karwoski's First
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. 

Power Player
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 .372. 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; maxx.mcnall@quinnipiac.edu