Indiana, Pa. - Junior right-handed pitcher Heather Schwartzburg (Mission Viejo, Calif.) broke the Quinnipiac University softball season-strikeout record as she fanned six batters in a Northeast Conference doubleheader against Saint Francis (Pa.). Schwartzburg struck out 15 batters on the day to increase her season total to 265 strikeouts, which breaks the record she set last season when she posted 255 strikeouts as a sophomore. The Bobcats won the first outing of the twinbill, 2-0, and recorded an 11-3 victory in five innings of play in game two. Quinnipiac improves to 29-24 on the year and with a 13-7 mark in conference play, while the Red Flash drop to 10-34 overall and to 2-12 in the NEC.
The first game of the day started over 2.5 hours late due to a rain delay. In the top of the second, Quinnipiac freshman Jordan Paolucci (Lake Mary, Fla.) led off with a single to left field and then stole second base. With one out on the inning, junior catcher Ashley Heiberger (Sioux Falls, S.D.) was hit by a pitch and Kortney Kesses (Woodbridge, Conn.) flied out to right field, allowing Paolucci to advance to third base. The designated hitter, Kim Brzezinski (Tinley Park, Ill.) then singled to third base, driving in Paolucci for the Bobcats' first run of the game and 1-0 lead.
The contest was delayed for a second time due to inclement weather and the bottom of the second inning resumed around the 4 p.m. Quinnipiac added its second and final run in the top of the sixth. With one out and runners on first and second, Paolucci singled to right field to load the bases. Ristow then hit a sac fly into a double play. Sophomore Alex Alba (Sylmar, Calif.) was called out at third base, but not before sophomore Lauren Salgado (Covina, Calif.) would cross home plate to increase the Bobcats lead, 2-0.
Schwartzburg led the Bobcats from the circle as she pitched a complete game, earning her 20th win of the season. She only allowed two hits and picked up 10 strikeouts to break Quinnipiac softball's season-strikeout record.
In game two, the Bobcats took an early 3-0 lead after one inning of play. With one out in the top of the first, Salgado and Alba each singled, putting runners on first and second. Paolucci then hit a three-run homer to left field, boosting her season total to 13 home runs.
With one out in the top of the fourth, senior first baseman Joelle Jacobsen (Flemington, N.J.) singled up the middle with runners on first and second. Brzezinski advanced to third and Kesses scored on the play. Jacobsen then stole second and Brzezinski scored on a throwing error by Saint Francis catcher. After junior Christy Cabrera (Reno, Nev.) grounded out, the Bobcats took a 6-0 lead when Salgado singled to right field, driving in Jacobsen from third base. Each of Quinnipiac's runs in the fourth were deemed unearned.
The Red Flash narrowed the gap, 6-2, when they scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Megan Layne picked up a RBI when she reached first on a Bobcats' error. Ashley Thomas and Misty Hammel each scored on the play.
With the bases loaded in the top of the fifth, Quinnipiac's Cabrera singled to left center, driving in Kesses to increase the Bobcats' lead, 7-2. With two outs on the inning, Alba reached on a Red Flash error, which allowed both Jacobsen and Brzezinski to score. After Paolucci walked, Ristow singled to center field, driving in Cabrera for another Quinnipiac run. The Bobcats scored their final run of the inning when Heiberger was hit by a pitch, forcing Alba to score from third. Quinnipiac held an 11-2 advantage as the game entered the bottom of the fifth inning.
The Red Flash responded with a run by Smith in the bottom of the fifth, but freshman hurler Emily O'Keefe (Southington, Conn.) kept Saint Francis from scoring any additional runs, as she faced five batters in the inning. Schwartzburg picked up her second win of the day as she struck out five batters across four innings in game two.
Cabrera and Salgado each went 2-for-4 with one run scored and a RBI in the second outing of the day. Alba, Kesses and Ristow each went 1-for-4, while Alba and Kesses each scored two runs and Ristow drove in a run for the Bobcats. Paolucci led the team with three RBI in the 11-3 win over the Red Flash. Overall, Quinnipiac outhit Saint Francis, 10-5, in the game.
Quinnipiac returns to action when it hosts Fairfield in a non-conference match-up on Thursday, May 5 at 3:30 p.m. at the Quinnipiac Softball Field in Hamden, Conn.