Softball Sweeps Central Connecticut State, 5-0 and 8-3

HAMDEN, Conn. - The Quinnipiac University softball team swept Central Connecticut State in a Northeast Conference doubleheader on Sunday, April 17 at the Quinnipiac Softball Field. The Bobcats shut out the Blue Devils, 5-0, in game one and came back to win, 8-3, in the second contest of the day. With the victories, Quinnipiac improves to 24-18 on the year and to 8-4 in NEC action, while CCSU drops to 19-14-1 overall and to 6-4 in conference play.

Junior pitcher Heather Schwartzburg (Mission Viejo, Calif.) led the Bobcats as she picked up two wins and improved her 2011 record to 16-9. Schwartzburg pitched a complete game in the first outing of the day and appeared in four innings in game two. The right-handed hurler struck out a combined 11 batters and only allowed four hits overall.

"Heather is willing to give this team whatever it needs," said Quinnipiac head coach Germaine Fairchild. "Heather deserves so much credit. Thanks to her strength and conditioning, she was able to come in, in that second game after throwing 100-plus pitches, and continue at them."

Quinnipiac outfielder Christy Cabrera (Reno, Nev.) went 4-for-6 with three runs and two RBI on the day, while sophomore shortstop Alex Alba (Sylmar, Calif.) went 4-for-8 with one run scored and a team-high four RBI. In addition, Kim Brzezinski (Tinley Park, Ill.) and Lauren Salgado (Covina, Calif.) each went 3-for-6, while Salgado also scored three runs and drove in a run for the Bobcats.

In game one, the Bobcats took an early 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Cabrera led off the inning with a single and advanced to third when second baseman Jacqueline Ristow (Seal Beach, Calif.) reached on a throwing error by Central Connecticut's third baseman. Quinnipiac's Alba then hit a three-run homer to center field, driving in Cabrera and Ristow.

In the bottom of the fourth, Quinnipiac increased its lead to 4-0, as Ristow singled through the right side to drive in Salgado, who had reached first on a fielding error by the Blue Devils.

The Bobcats' added an insurance run in the sixth inning, widening the gap by five runs, 5-0. Salgado led off the inning with a single to left field. After, Salgado advanced to second as Cabrera grounded out. Ristow then doubled to right center, driving in Salgado for the game's final run.

Ristow led Quinnipiac in game one as she went 3-for-4 with one run scored and two RBI. In addition, Alba went 2-for-4, scored two runs and picked up three RBI on her second home run of the year. In addition, Brzezinski contributed two hits in the victory. Overall, the Bobcats outhit the Blue Devils, 11-2, in the shutout.

In the second match-up of the day, Central Connecticut took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. The Blue Devils went on to add two runs in the second inning to hold a 3-0 advantage. Quinnipiac catcher Ashley Heiberger (Sioux Falls, S.D.) led off the bottom of the second with a single up the middle. Heiberger advanced to second on a Katie Donohue (Walpole, Mass.) sacrifice bunt. After Heiberger advanced to third on a Salgado single to the shortstop, she scored when Cabrera flied out to center field.

In the bottom of the fifth, Quinnipiac's Cabrera led off with a double to left center. With two outs on the inning, freshman Jordan Paolucci (Lake Mary, Fla.) came up big with a two-run home run to tie the game at three runs apiece.

Quinnipiac's Kortney Kesses (Woodbridge, Conn.) was hit by a pitch to lead off the sixth inning. Alex Murray (Milford, Mass.) entered the game for Heiberger as the pinch hitter and reached base on a fielding error, advancing Kesses to second base. The Bobcats took its first lead of the game, 4-3, when Jessica Amenda (Milford, Conn.) reached on another fielding error, advancing Murray to third and allowing Kesses to cross home plate. Salgado and Cabrera each singled and each drove in a run for Quinnipiac, followed by Ristow who drove in a run on a ground out to the pitcher. Quinnipiac's final run was scored as Alba singled to left center, driving in Cabrera.

Freshman Katie Alfiere (Beacon Falls, Conn.) started game two for the Bobcats and pitched 2.2 innings. With two outs in the third inning, junior pitcher Mina Duffy (Piedmont, Calif.) entered the game and got the final out for the Bobcats. Schwartzburg came into the fourth inning with two men on base and pitched the remainder of the game for Quinnipiac, earning the win.

Cabrera led the Bobcats in game two as she went 3-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBI. Salgado went 2-for-3, scored one run and picked up a RBI, while Alba went 2-for-4 and drove in a run.

After falling to Long Island in a pair of NEC games on Saturday, "the team responded really well," said Coach Fairchild. "I think they're a veteran group that can handle this pressure and I think that's something we learned about our team this weekend."

Quinnipiac returns to action when it hosts Hartford in a non-conference match-up on Wednesday, April 20 at 4:30 p.m. at the Quinnipiac Softball Field in Hamden, Conn.