May 3, 2014

Softball Splits MAAC Doubleheader With Niagara; Courtney Solt Becomes Second Fastest Bobcat to 100 Career Hits

HAMDEN, Conn. – The Quinnipiac University softball team split a MAAC doubleheader against Niagara, losing the first game, 2-0, before holding off a seventh inning rally to top the Purple Eagles, 6-4, in the second game. Quinnipiac goes to 11-34 (6-12 MAAC) on the year while Niagara moves to 17-29 (7-11 MAAC). The split drops the Bobcats out of contention for the six-team MAAC Tournament as the highest they can finish now is 7th in the conference.

Sophomore Courtney Solt (Boyertown, Pa.) was the star on Sunday for the Bobcats as she became the second fastest player in program history to reach 100 career hits. Solt tallied three hits in game two to bring her total from 99 entering the day up to 102 at the end. Solt accomplishes the feat with her 10th career three-hit game and 3rd of the season. The only player to reach 100 hits sooner than Solt (93 games) is the program's all-time hits leader in Alicia Longobardi '97 (219 career hits) who reached 100 after only 85 career games.

Junior Nikki Barba (San Diego, Calif.) was one of only two Bobcats to tally a hit in both games as she finished the day 3-for-5 at the plate with one run, one RBI and two doubles. Sophomore Sydney Robey (Glenmoore, Pa.) also picked up a base hit in both games as she went 2-for-5 with one double, two RBI and one walk. Junior Jordan Paolucci (Lake Mary, Fla.) tallied two singles in game two while Solt tallied her first triple of the season and sophomore Molly Jarrett (Northport, N.Y.) walked twice and scored a run throughout the two-game set.

Junior Hannah Lindsley (Narragansett, R.I.) gutted out six innings on the mound in game one as she allowed just two runs in taking the hard luck loss. Senior Katie Alfiere (Beacon Falls, Conn.) threw a solid four innings in her game two start allowing one run (none earned) and just one hit while striking out four. Alfiere was lifted for Robey in the fifth inning as the Bobcats' sophomore threw the final three innings, allowing two hits and three runs (none earned) to pick up her first save of the season. Alfiere's masterful start was rewarded with her third victory of the season as she moves to 3-8.

The Bobcats were up against one of the premier pitchers in the MAAC with their game one matchup as Niagara's ace Jennifer Sansano twirled a two-hitter with just one walk and seven strikeouts against the Bobcat lineup.

The Purple Eagles did enough damage in the first inning to capture the early 1-0 lead. A single followed by a double from Bridget Hogan put two runners into scoring position. After a walk and fly out there was two outs in the inning but a walk to Desarae Maldonado brought in the first run of the game. Lindsley did well to escape the inning without further damage as the next batter flew out to right.

Both pitchers took the game over for the majority of game one as the next run wasn't scored until the top of the sixth inning. The Bobcats had their best opportunities in the first when Barba drove a leadoff single to left field but was then caught stealing second to take away one of the three Bobcat base runners in the first game.

In the second, Robey led off with a smashing double to center field that missed a home run by a few feet. Despite the blast off to center, Sansano did her job and retired the next three in-order to escape without any further damage.

Niagara tacked on an insurance run in the sixth inning as a fielding error allowed the runner from third to cross home plate. Lindsley again escaped peril in the sixth as she induced a pop out with the bases loaded to end the innings. She and Alifere combined to leave 11 Purple Eagle base runners stranded on-base throughout game one.

Quinnipiac had their best opportunity to get back in the game as they loaded the bases with one out in the sixth but couldn't get anything back as a strikeout and pop out left three runners on-base and thus ended the game one in a 2-0 win for Niagara.

Game two tipped in favor of the Bobcats as Alfiere got things started in the first, retiring the side in-order to lead into the offensive burst in the bottom half. Barba started with a leadoff double and Solt followed with a single and stole second base to put two runners into scoring position. After a groundout, Robey was the one to come through with a two-run single back up the middle to give the Bobcats their first two runs of the doubleheader and an early 2-0 lead.

Alfiere then struck out the side in the second inning and the Bobcats tacked on another run with an RBI double from Barba to score Jarrett all the way from first to make it 3-0 Bobcats.

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Niagara pushed one run across in the fourth inning before the Bobcats answered back in the fifth. Solt singled up the middle to leadoff the inning and Paolucci followed with a clean single to center field. Robey drew a walk and Edmands picked up an RBI with a sacrifice fly to center field that pushed the Bobcats' lead to 5-1.

Another Quinnipiac insurance run was added with an RBI triple from Solt to make it 6-1 heading into the seventh inning.

The Purple Eagles certainly made it tough on the Bobcats as an error at second base allowed two runs to score and a bases loaded walk forced in another to make it 6-4 with the bases still juiced with two outs. Despite walking three straight batters, Robey bore down and came through with a pop out to second base to end the inning and the game for Quinnipiac with a 6-4 victory.

Senior Day will be held on Sunday starting at Noon for the Quinnipiac softball team as the Bobcats will honor Alfiere prior to the start of their doubleheader against Canisius College.

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