HAMDEN, Conn. – The Quinnipiac University softball team split its final doubleheader of the regular season against Northeast Conference opponent Saint Francis (Pa.) University on Saturday, May 5 at the QU Softball Field. After falling, 3-0, in game one, QU earned a 4-0 victory in the second contest. The Bobcats improve to 30-16 on the year and 13-7 in the league as they advance to the NEC Tournament next weekend, while the Red Flash end their season at 22-26 overall and 9-11 in conference action.
Overall, the Bobcats out-hit the Red Flash, 17-to-9. Senior Christy Cabrera (West Sacramento, Calif.) led the Bobcats as she went 4-for-7 in the two-game set, while freshman Nikki Barba (San Diego, Calif.) and senior Mina Duffy (Piedmont, Calif.) each contributed three hits. Junior Alex Alba (Sylmar, Calif.) also recorded her seventh homerun of the season in game two.
Saint Francis took a 3-0 lead in the first inning when Taylor Darnielle launched a single into right field, bringing home Paige Smith from first base. Taylor Parsons then stepped up to the plate and blasted a two-RBI homer into right-center.
Neither team would be able to score for the remainder of the contest as Duffy dropped to 0-1 on the season after letting up the Red Flash's three runs. Sophomore Katie Alfiere (Beacon Falls, Conn.) held Saint Francis to no runs as she pitched 6.2 innings for the Bobcats, also scattering five hits and earning strikeout. SFU's Brooke Koch saw a complete game from within the circle, allowing eight hits while fanning five QU batters.
Seven Bobcats each contributed a hit in game one, including Cabrera, who paced the team with two hits.
In the second outing of the afternoon, it was Quinnipiac to hold the first advantage. Cabrera led off the first inning with a single to right field. After she stole second, QU's centerfielder advanced to third on a Jacquie Ristow (Seal Beach, Calif.) groundout. Alba then launched her seventh homerun of the season, moving the Bobcats in front of the Red Flash, 2-0.
After four scoreless innings, the Bobcats loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the sixth. Duffy led off with a double to centerfield. Freshman Nikki Barba (San Diego, Calif.) placed a perfect bunt down the third base line to reach first, also moving Duffy to third base. After Barba stole second, Kesses was walked, loading the bases.
QU then widened the gap, 4-0, when senior Ashley Heiberger (Sioux Falls, S.D.) reached first on a Red Flash error. Duffy and Barba each scored on the play.
Senior Heather Schwartzburg (Mission Viejo, Calif.) improved her season record to 18-5 as she only let up two hits and matched a season best 12 strikeouts. Saint Francis' Megan Layne received the loss, her ninth of 2012.
The Bobcats return to action when they compete in the 2012 NEC Softball Championships next weekend. The tournament will be hosted by top-seeded Robert Morris University on May 10-12 in Moon Township, Pa. Quinnipiac's seed will be determined based on the results of the LIU Brooklyn versus Mount St. Mary's twinbill, also taking place on today, May 5.
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