Softball Starts NEC Play With Doubleheader At Long Island Sunday

Conference Competition Commences
The Quinnipiac University softball team will travel to Long Island University on Sunday, Mar. 28 to play in their first Northeast Conference match-up of the 2010 season. The Bobcats and the Blackbirds will play a doubleheader at LIU Field, with the first game starting at 3 p.m. In its last outing, Quinnipiac defeated Harvard, 3-2, on Mar. 27 at home.

Scouting the Blackbirds
Long Island currently posts a 14-12 overall record on the year with a 2-0 record in NEC action. The Blackbirds are on a three-game winning streak heading into the doubleheader with the Bobcats, as they defeated Hofstra on Mar. 26 and Sacred Heart in a doubleheader on Mar. 27. Junior shortstop Bianca Mejia leads the team offensively, as she bats .343 through 22 games played with 23 hits and 12 RBI. Senior pitcher Blaire Porter has seen the most action from the circle for Long Island, pitching in 16 games this season with a 10-4 record. Porter posts a 2.43 ERA on the year with 57 strikeouts.

NEC Pre-Season Poll Reminder
The Bobcats were picked fifth of 11 teams in the Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll. Defending NEC regular season champion Long Island received nine of 11 first-place votes, while NEC tournament champions Sacred Heart picked up the remaining two first-place selections to earn second place. Robert Morris and Monmouth were picked to finish ahead of the Bobcats, in third and fourth places, respectively. Wagner, Mount St. Mary's and Saint Francis (Pa.) finished sixth through eighth, while Bryant, Fairleigh Dickinson and Central Connecticut round out the poll in the final three spots.

Not In Our House
The Bobcats are undefeated in games at home so far this season as they have defeated Connecticut and Harvard at the Quinnipiac Softball Field. Both wins were by one run each with sophomore Heather Schwartzburg (Mission Viejo, Calif.) finishing both games from the circle for Quinnipiac. The Bobcats next home game will be played next Friday, April 2, against Siena at 1 p.m.

Did I Hear A Niner?
In her four innings pitched for Quinnipiac against Harvard, Schwartzburg struck out nine batters out of 14 faced. The sophomore struck out two batters per inning, with three K's in the sixth to combine for the total, improving her season tally to 135. Schwartzburg continues to lead the conference in the strikeout category.

Clutch Action
Seniors Emily Bellush (Newton, Mass.) and Katie Allendorfer (Glenside, Pa.) came up with key offensive contributions in the Bobcats' victory against Harvard on Mar. 27. In the decisive third inning, Bellush came to the plate with one out on the board and runners at first and second and singled into left field to score the 2-2 tying run. Allendorfer came up to bat in the following play and knocked home the game-winning run with a sacrifice fly to left field.

Just a Little Single
Senior outfielder Angela Casella (Oceanside, N.Y.) and junior designated player Kim Brzezinski (Tinley Park, Ill.) tallied the other two hits for Quinnipiac against Harvard. Both hits came in the third inning with Brzezinski getting things started to open the bottom of the third, and Casella following suit in the next play to advance the runner to second. Both runners scored in the inning to take the lead over the Crimson.

Joelle's on the Jump
Junior infielder Joelle Jacobsen (Flemington, N.J.) scored her second run of the season for the Bobcats in the victory against Harvard as she came in to pinch run in the third inning for Brzezinski. Jacobsen advanced to second on Casella's single to right, and then scored from second on Bellush's single to left. Jacobsen has appeared in 15 games for Quinnipiac this season.

Under Pressure
Through 24 games played this season, the Bobcats record their best record in games where they win by a one-run margin. In their 11 victories registered thus far, six have come one run ahead of the opposition, as opposed to just three losses in one-run games.