Softball Faces Sacred Heart In Home Opener On Sunday, April 1

Photo by Jim Dostie

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Games #23-24
Quinnipiac University Bobcats (13-9, 2-2 NEC) vs.
Sacred Heart University Pioneers (10-16, 3-1 NEC)
Sunday, April 1, 2012 – 12 p.m. (DH)
QU Softball Field – Hamden, Conn.

2012 Softball Home Opener
The Quinnipiac University softball team (13-9, 2-2 NEC) will play Sacred Heart University (10-16, 3-1 NEC) in its 2012 home opener this Sunday, April 1. The Northeast Conference doubleheader is scheduled to begin at Noon at the QU Softball Field in Hamden, Conn.

Live stats and audio will be available by clicking on the appropriate links of the Quinnipiac softball schedule at the Official Website of Quinnipiac Athletics,

Scouting Sacred Heart
The Pioneers enter the weekend at 10-16 overall and 3-1 in NEC play after the first weekend of conference action. Sacred Heart will first play a conference twinbill at Wagner on Saturday, March 31 before traveling to QU on Sunday. After splitting a pair of league games at Monmouth, the Pioneers went on to sweep Mount St. Mary’s, 1-0 and 2-1, on Sunday, March 25. Junior Nicole Sidor received her second straight NEC Co-Pitcher of the Week award after making four appearances on the weekend. Sidor currently posts a 7-8 record in 17 contests with a team-leading 2.07 ERA, while compiling 101 strikeouts in 94.2 innings. Kate Nadler leads the Pioneers with a .303 batting average, while Sidor also ranks first in runs scored (17) and second in RBI (13). Annie Dreher currently leads Sacred Heart with 15 RBI, while Liz Tsipouras has a team-best .547 slugging percentage and Jade Bowins ranks first in on-base percentage (.375).

All-Time Against The Pioneers
Quinnipiac leads the all-time Division-I series against Sacred Heart, 16-11, dating back to the 1999 season. The Bobcats posts an 8-4 mark at the QU Softball Field, 8-7 record in games played on the road, including a 0-1 record in the NEC Tournament at a neutral location. Last season, QU split a doubleheader at Sacred Heart, picking up a 2-0 shutout over the Pioneers and 8-0 loss on April 22, 2011. The Bobcats went on to drop a NEC Tournament game to Sacred Heart, 4-3, on March 13 and eventually were eliminated in the NEC Championship game to SHU.

Last Time Out
In their most recent outing, the Bobcats lost a non-conference game, 1-0, at the University of Massachusetts on Wednesday, March 28. Bobcats’ senior pitcher Heather Schwartzburg put together her second-best strikeout performance of the season as she fanned 11 UMass batters. The Minutewomen’s Sara Plourde pitched a no-hitter against QU. The Bobcats posted a perfect showing defensively, while UMass had one error in the outing. Schwartzburg dropped to 8-3 on the year with the loss.

NEC Opening Weekend
In its first weekend of league action, Quinnipiac went 2-2, splitting doubleheaders on the road against Mount St. Mary’s on Friday, March 23 and Monmouth, on Sunday, March 25. The Bobcats picked up a 1-0 loss in eight innings and a 2-0 victory against the Mountaineers. Junior Jacquie Ristow batted a team-high .400 in the two-game series as she went 2-for-5. Senior Bridget Figmic contributed a RBI, while seniors Christy Cabrera and Mina Duffy each scored a run against the Mount. Heather Schwartzburg was granted the win against Mount St. Mary’s as she put together a 0.0 ERA, striking out 12 batters and allowing three hits. QU then defeated the Hawks, 6-5, but lost, 4-1. Three Bobcats batted .333 in the two-game series, but sophomore Katie Alfiere led the team with a .400 in two starts and contributed a RBI and run scored. Cabrera earned the win against MU, while fellow classmate Schwartzburg picked up her first save of the 2012 season in game one.

A Look At The League
After one weekend of conference play, QU is 2-2 in league action, tied for fourth in the NEC standings with Monmouth, Saint Francis (Pa.) and Wagner. Fairleigh Dickinson leads the conference at 2-0, while Robert Morris and Sacred Heart each post a 3-1 mark in league games. At 13-9 on the year, Quinnipiac’s overall win-loss percentage (.591) ranks second amongst NEC opponents.

NEC Notes
Quinnipiac currently leads the conference with a .977 fielding percentage, which also ranks 11th in the NCAA standings, as of Monday, March 26. The Bobcats’ team pitching stands third in the league rankings, as QU has combined for a .247 ERA. The team’s total of 131 strikeouts also ranks fourth in the conference.

The Stats On Schwartzburg
Senior Heather Schwartzburg continues to lead the Bobcats and the Northeast Conference with a 1.05 ERA, which ranks 23rd in the NCAA standings, after making 14 appearances and 10 starts for QU this season. Schwartzburg, now 8-3 on the year, has compiled a team-best 92 strikeouts, which rank fourth amongst NEC opponents. In 79.2 innings pitched, Schwartzburg has held opponents to a team-best .184 batting average. She recently earned her first save of 2012 in Quinnipiac’s 6-5 win at Monmouth on March 25.

Alba Keeps It Up
Junior Alex Alba currently leads the Bobcats with a .387 batting average, which also stands fifth in the NEC rankings. Alba also ranks first for Quinnipiac and in the conference in doubles (9), while leading the team in slugging percentage (.613), on base percentage (.400), total bases (38), and hits (24). At the beginning of the week, Alba stood eighth in the NCAA rankings in toughest to strike out.

Count On Christy
Senior Christy Cabrera led QU over the weekend as she won two games from within the circle, while maintaining a .304 batting average. Cabrera has scored eight runs and contributed four RBI this year, while ranking second on the team with a .300 batting average. She also has pitched in eight contests this season, posting three wins and a 3.83 ERA from within the circle.

What A Catch
Senior catcher Ashley Heiberger ranks second for Quinnipiac with eight runs scored this season. Heiberger has yet to make an error in 22 starts this season and currently has a team-high 132 putouts on the year.

RPI Rankings
The Quinnipiac Bobcats were ranked third amongst NEC opponents and 131st overall out of 289 Division-I softball programs in the first NCAA RPI Rankings of the 2012 season, which were announced on Monday, March 26.

Stealing Stats
The Bobcats have combined for 18 stolen bases this season, while their opponents have only been successful on 11-of-21 attempts this year. Junior Lauren Salgado, QU’s leader in stolen bases last season, currently is a perfect 4-for-4 this year.

What’s Ahead For The Bobcats
Quinnipiac continues play at home when it takes on Fairfield in a non-conference match-up on Wednesday, April 4 at 3:30 p.m. at the QU Softball Field. The Bobcats will then travel for two NEC doubleheaders at LIU Brooklyn on Friday, April 6 and Central Connecticut State on Saturday, April 7.

Contact:Lindsay Oliveri,