The Quinnipiac University softball team will travel to the University of Connecticut on Tuesday, April 13 for a non-conference make-up game at the Burrill Family Field. The first pitch is set for 4 p.m. from Storrs, Conn. In their last match-up, the Bobcats took two from St. Francis (PA) in a Northeast Conference doubleheader on April 11.
UConn currently posts a 16-19 overall record this season, with a 4-5 record in Big East Conference play. The Huskies most recently split a doubleheader with Rutgers University, snapping a six game win streak they had compiled since April 3. Sophomore third baseman Amy DeLuca currently leads the team as she bats .337 through 31 games played. Junior infielder Julianne Towers also posts strong offensive numbers with 39 hits, 26 runs and 22 RBI. Freshman Kiki Saveriano has thrown from the circle in 21 games this year and holds a 2.25 ERA with 109 strikeouts.
Time Against UConn
The Bobcats and the Huskies have seen one other match-up already this season, when UConn came to Hamden for the QU home-opener on Mar. 17. Quinnipiac came away with the 1-0 victory in that game with freshman Jacqueline Ristow (Seal Beach, Calif.) crossing the plate for the lone run of the day. Pitchers Emily Bellush (Newton, Mass.) and Heather Schwartzburg (Mission Viejo, Calif.) combined for the shutout allowing just one hit and striking out six batters on the day.
Quinnipiac collected three wins against Northeast Conference opponents this weekend, improving their conference record to 5-3 on the year. With the victories, the Bobcats moved into fourth place in the NEC behind Monmouth, Long Island and Robert Morris.
Freshman Alex Alba (Sylmar, Calif.) picked up her first homerun in a Bobcats' jersey this past weekend against Robert Morris. After the two teams battled through three scoreless innings, Alba stepped to the plate with two outs on the board and drilled a liner over the left field fence for the solo homerun to lead the team to the 1-0 victory against the Colonials in game one. Alba led the team offensively on the entire weekend, going 5-for-9 from the plate with three runs scored. She currently leads the team in hits (27) and ranks second in batting average (.303).
The Bobcats saw an incredible come-from-behind win against St. Francis (PA) on April 11 at the Quinnipiac Softball Field. The Red Flash got a 4-0 lead on Quinnipiac in the first inning of game one, a sticky situation for the Bobcats as they are just 3-9 when their opponents score in the first inning, but Quinnipiac chipped away a the lead until senior Kelly Wall (Westport, Conn.) hit a two-run homer in the fifth to put the team up 5-4 over St. Francis and they held on for the victory.
Cleats Were Made For Walking
Wall hit her third homerun of the season against St. Francis (PA) on Sunday, altering the game's direction in favor of the Bobcats. In similar fashion to her walk-off homer last weekend, Wall stepped to the plate and drilled the first pitch she saw in the at-bat, sending the ball sailing over the centerfield fence for the two-run shot. The fourth-inning blast gave Quinnipiac the 5-4 edge over St. Francis, where they held on for the victory.
In game two against the Red Flash on April 11, it took just one play for the Bobcats to take the 2-0 victory and the sweep on the day. After five scoreless innings, Quinnipiac saw an opportunity in the top of the sixth when senior Angela Casella (Oceanside, N.Y.) got on base when she was hit by a pitch in the first at bat of the inning. Sophomore Alex Murray (Milford, Mass.) moved her along to second with a sacrifice bunt, and freshman Lauren Salgado (Covina, Calif.) advanced her to third on a bunt single in the next play. With the threat of runners on first and third and just one out on the board, Salgado stole second and with the catcher throwing down trying to catch her, Casella stole home for the 1-0 lead. When the shortstop attempted to throw Casella out at home, the ball flew wide and the speedy Salgado raced all the way around third to home for the score.
Schwartzburg is well on her way to re-setting the Quinnipiac single-season strikeout record, which she broke in her rookie season when she fanned 206 batters on the year. Schwartzburg struck out 23 batters in the four games against Robert Morris and St. Francis, boosting her 2010 total to 190 K's. The sophomore leads the NEC in the strikeout category, and is 83 strikeouts away from the conference season record, set by Robert Morris' Lauren Dickinson who struck out 273 batters in 2001.
The Bobcats tallied a .960 fielding percentage on the weekend against Robert Morris and St. Francis and there were a few players who made notable plays to deter the opponent's offensive momentum. Against Robert Morris, Ristow made an excellent play at first base when she made a diving catch to stop a line drive heading through the right side. In game two against St. Francis, junior Kim Brzezinski (Tinley Park, Ill.) snagged a high fly ball in on-the-run, over-the-head, fashion to prevent the hit into right field. Schwartzburg also saw a key defensive play against the Red Flash when she caught a line drive at the circle, and picked off the runner at first to tally the double play.