CLEARWATER, Fla. – The Bobcats were locked in a battle all afternoon with Providence and Loyola Marymount but ultimately couldn't hold off both teams as Quinnipiac fell, 5-2, in nine innings to Providence and then lost, 5-4, to Loyola Marymount in the nightcap from Eddie C. Moore Complex. Junior pitcher Katie Alifere (Beacon Falls, Conn.) put forth a valiant effort on the mound against Providence, throwing all nine innings and staving off several Friar scoring chances before the decision was final. Sophomore Nikki Barba (San Deigo, Calif.) homered against Loyola Marymount but Quinnipiac again couldn't push that last run across to send the game into extra innings. The sweep drops the Bobcats to 2-6 on the season while Providence improves to 3-5 and the Lions move to 6-8.
Freshman Courtney Solt (Boyertown, Pa.) continued her hot streak at the plate of late as she went 2-for-3 against Providence and 1-for-4 against the Lions. The rookie outfielder is batting .412 (7-for-17) over her current four-game hitting streak. Barba carried the Bobcat offense against the Lions as she banger her second home run of the season which now leads the team, as well as registering two walks on the evening.
The day started with a matchup against BIG EAST's Providence and Alfiere had everything working early as she retired the first 13 Friar batters in order before an infield single broke up the perfect game. Quinnipiac pushed their first run across the board in the bottom of the fifth as senior Bridget Figmic (Stratford, Conn.) laced a leadoff double down the left field line. Sophomore Brittany Cyr (Southington, Conn.) sacrificed her over to third base and Figmic was knocked in by Solt whose infield single was deep enough to score her from third.
The Friars however wouldn't go away quietly as they engineered a two-out rally with three straight singled ending in a run-scoring knock to left field to knot the score at 1-1.
Quinnipiac was in deep trouble in the top of the seventh as the bases were loaded with no one out but Alfiere bore down and induced a ground ball double play at home and then to first base to record the first two outs. She then induced another groundout from third to home to keep her team in the game.
Providence took their first lead of the game in the eighth with a sacrifice fly but the Bobcats once again showed some fight as senior Lauren Salgado (Covina, Calif.) knocked an RBI single to left field that scored Cyr from third and the score was once again tied at 2-2.
Three runs however in the top of the ninth were too much for the Bobcats to overcome as a two-run home run highlighted the Providence effort in the deciding inning. Alfiere pitched very well in defeat as she pitched out of trouble in the later stages after dominating at the beginning. She finished with seven hits and three earned runs while walking just two and striking out three.
The second game of the doubleheader featured sophomore pitcher Hannah Lindsley (Narragansett, R.I.) who has thrown the ball very well, picking up both of the Bobcats' victories this season from the mound. Quinnipiac helped their ace pitcher out early with two runs in the second as Barba homered and Cyr was out at first with an RBI groundout to give the Bobcats a quick 2-0 advantage.
The Lions pushed a run across in the third and another in the fourth off a Bobcat error to even the score at 2-2. The Bobcats threatened with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth but left scoreless. They had another opportunity in the sixth and this time cashed in with freshman Dani Edmands (Northborough, Mass.) scoring, after doubling to start the inning, on a Loyola Marymount error in the field.
With a 3-2 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth, the Lions seized control with three runs including the game-winning RBI single from Breeanna Sandoval to make it a 5-3 game. Quinnipiac pushed across an unearned run in the seventh after sophomore Jordan Paolucci (Lake Mary, Fla.) tripled but couldn't equalize the score as the game ended with the Lions ahead, 5-4.
Lindsley took her first loss of the season as she drops to 2-1 but she threw well in six innings as she allowed four earned runs on six hits, walked four and struck out four in defeat.
The Bobcats will resume play tomorrow with one game to wrap up their run in the USF Under Armour Invitational with a matchup against Kent St. at 9:00 a.m.
Contact: Maxx McNall; email@example.com