Clutch Pitching the Difference in Softball's 4-3 Victory Over UConn; Alex Alba's Hit Streak Up to Eight Games

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STORRS, Conn. – Strong offense and clutch pitching was the recipe for success for the Quinnipiac softball team on Wednesday afternoon as they took down UConn, 4-3, from Burrill Family Field. The Bobcats totaled 12 hits on the day while the pitching effort of freshman Sydney Robey (Glenmoore, Pa.) and sophomore Hannah Lindsley (Narragansett, R.I.) helped strand the game-tying run at third with just one out in the bottom of the seventh. The victory snaps the Bobcat's three-game losing streak as they improve to 6-18 while the Huskies fall to 12-11 on the season.

Eight different Quinnipiac players tallied at least one hit as sophomore Nikki Barba (San Diego, Calif.) went 3-for-4 and senior Alex Alba (Sylmar, Calif.), who went 2-for-4, led the offensive unit. Alba's two hits helped extend her hitting streak to eight games, the longest of any Bobcat this season. She is batting .519 (14-for-27) over the eight-game span with nine RBI, six doubles, six runs and three walks. Freshman Abby Johnson (Chelmsford, Mass.) also had a stellar day at the plate going 2-for-2 for her first career multi-hit game in her first start since Mar. 1. Johnson also scored two runs and hit the first double of her career as well.

Robey tossed 6.2 innings in what was one of the best outings of her young career. She allowed nine hits but just three runs were scored as she earned her third victory of the season which now leads the team. Her victory was in jeopardy in the final frame however as Lindsley entered the game with a runner on third and two outs but she bore down and induced a pop out to end the game and pick up her first career save.

Quinnipiac's leadoff hitter freshman Courtney Solt (Boyertown, Pa.) quickly ignited the Bobcat offense with a leadoff double in the first. The rookie now has recorded at least one hit in 10 of the last 11 games. Solt advanced to third on a groundout and scored on an Alba sacrifice fly to deep center field to give the Bobcats an early 1-0 lead.

The Huskies were up to the task in the bottom half as Emily O'Donnell slapped an RBI single to right field that scored Maddy Schiappa to even the score.

The momentum quickly swung back in the favor of the Bobcats as senior Lauren Salgado (Covina, Calif.) came through with the perhaps the play of the game at the dish. Senior Bridget Figmic (Stratford, Conn.) began the inning with a single to left and was late followed with back-to-back singles from senior Kortney Kesses (Woodbridge, Conn.) and Johnson to load the bases. A fielder's choice out at home gave the Huskies two outs but they couldn't escape the inning unscathed as Salgado knocked a two-run single back up the middle to plate both Kesses and Johnson to put her team back up, 3-1.

Robey was breezing through the UConn order with six straight outs before the Bobcats tacked on another as Johnson doubled to center field and later scored on the next at-bat when she advanced to third on a passed ball and then scored on a wild pitch to put Quinnipiac ahead, 4-1.

UConn couldn't muster any offense in the fourth as Robey mowed down the order one-two-three once again before the fifth where the Huskies put two runners on with singles. They each moved up a base on a passed ball but would go no further as Robey induced an O'Donnell groundout to end the threat.

Robey's ultimate test came in the bottom of the seventh where UConn was down three runs heading into the final frame. The inning began with a fly out but consecutive singles brought the game-tying run to the plate as Lexi Gifford came through for the Huskies with a clutch two-run double to center to make it a one-run game. Adding to the pressure, Gifford advanced to third on the throw home putting the game-tying run at third base with just one out.

Facing the top of the UConn order, Quinnipiac head coach Germaine Fairchild decided to leave her freshman starter out there to face Schiappa and the choice paid off as Robey induced a groundout to short that held the runner at third. With two out now, Fairchild made the move to Lindsley against O'Donnell who had tallied two hits already against Robey. Facing UConn's hottest hitter, Lindsley came through in the clutch for her team as she induced a game-ending pop out to Kesses at first base to give the Bobcats a much-needed victory.

The win could not have come at a better time for the Bobcats as they now have a day off before opening up Northeast Conference play on Friday in a doubleheader against Monmouth starting at 1:00 p.m. from QU Softball Field.

Contact: Maxx McNall; maxx.mcnall@quinnipiac.edu