Quinnipiac University Bobcats (6-18, 0-0 NEC)
vs. Monmouth Hawks (12-9, 3-1 NEC)
Friday, March 29, 2013
Monmouth @ Quinnipiac – 1:00 p.m.
QU Softball Field – Hamden, Conn.
Friday, March 29, 2013
Monmouth @ Quinnipiac – 3:00 p.m.
QU Softball Field – Hamden, Conn.
And So It Begins
With half the season behind them, the Quinnipiac softball looks to move up the Northeast Conference standings with their conference season opener on Friday with a doubleheader at home against the Monmouth Hawks. The Bobcats' opponents comes into the weekend with a 12-9 overall mark this season with a 3-1 record in NEC play thus far. They're currently sitting just one game behind Central Conn. St. who leads the conference with a 4-0 record. The Bobcats come into Friday with a little momentum after defeating the UConn Huskies, 4-3, on Wednesday to snap a three-game losing streak as the Bobcats come in with a 6-18 record through 24 non-conference games this season. It will be just the second and third home game of the year as the Bobcats were forced to deal with inclement weather throughout a majority of March.
Monmouth Scouting Report
Before entering conference play last weekend, Monmouth hadn't been playing their best ball of the season as they were riding a season-high four game losing streak. They quickly regaining momentum as they first split a doubleheader with Fairleigh Dickinson at home and then swept Bryant with a 7-1 and 6-5 victory on Sunday to move to 3-1 in the NEC this season. They currently sit second in the conference standings behind the 4-0 Central Conn. St. Blue Devils. This Hawks squad enters Friday with a 12-9 overall record with a respectable 7-8 mark on the road this season. Picked to finish fourth in the NEC Preseason Coaches' Poll, Monmouth boasts 2012 NEC Player of the Year Katie Schumacher who hit .391 (.421 NEC) with nine home runs (five in conference) and 34 RBI (16 NEC) in her sophomore season. Schumacher has not yet lived up to last year's numbers as she comes in batting just .279 (19-for-68) with just one home run and 12 RBI. One of the players helping fill the void without Schumacher in full form has been Kayleena Flores. She has been putting together a season worthy of NEC Player of the Year discussion as she comes in leading the team in batting average (.412), hits (26), runs (17), slugging percentage (.517), on-base percentage (.516), walks (eight) and stolen bases (five). Certainly the Hawks also have great depth on the pitching unit as all three pitchers have started at least five games, won four games each and have a combined ERA of 2.68. Lauren Sulick has the most impressive numbers with a 1.49 ERA, 4-2 record, 42.1 innings, .184 batting average against and 30 strikeouts in 42.1 innings. Cerissa Rivera (2.03 ERA, 4-3, .211 batting average against) and Jordan Barnett (3.99 ERA, 58.2 innings) also make up the Hawks' pitching staff.
All-Time Against Monmouth
The Bobcats come into Friday with a 18-14 record against the Hawks since joining the NEC in 1999. This includes a 3-1 mark all-time against Monmouth in the NEC Playoffs. Quinnipiac also is riding a recent hot streak against Monmouth as they're coming in winners of seven of the past nine meetings.
UConn Series Recap
Playing in a home-and-home series against UConn this week, the Bobcats managed a split in two games after a 6-1 loss on Tuesday and 4-3 win on Wednesday. Tuesday's loss at home was dominated by the Huskies' starting pitcher Kiki Saveriano who allowed just four hits and one unearned run over seven innings. Courtney Solt did chip in two of the Bobcats' four hits to 11 multi-hit games, leading the team in that category. Wednesday was a much different story as Quinnipiac totaled 12 hits and shut the door on a late UConn rally to snap their three-game losing streak. Sydney Robey threw 6.2 innings and allowed just three runs to pick up her third victory of the season while she combined with Hannah Lindsley to help notch the final two outs of the game with the tying run on third base. Alex Alba finished with two hits to extend her hitting streak to eight games while Nikki Barba (three hits) and Abby Johnson (2-for-2, one double, two runs) also had fine days at the plate.
What A Relief It Is
Freshman pitcher Sydney Robey threw one of the best games of her young career on Wednesday, going 6.2 innings allowing nine hits and just three runs to pick up her third victory of the season. It wouldn't have been possible without sophomore pitcher Hannah Lindsley coming in with two outs in the seventh and retiring the final batter with the game-tying run on third base. It was the first save of Lindsley's career.
Hits, Hits and More Hits
Senior shortstop Alex Alba extended her hitting streak to eight games with one hit on Tuesday and two hits to go along with an RBI on Wednesday against UConn. The hitting streak is the longest for any Bobcat this season as Alba has absolutely torn the cover off the ball in the eight-game span with a .519 (14-for-27) batting average, nine RBI, six doubles, six runs and three walks.
For the First Time
In what was her first start since March 1, freshman outfielder Abby Johnson made the most of her opportunity going 2-for-2 on Wednesday in her team's 4-3 victory over UConn. She came in with just two hits in 12 at-bats but certainly turned things around as she finished with her first career multi-hit game and also hit the first double of her career.
A key contributor throughout the season thus far has been sophomore second baseman Nikki Barba. She has held a top among the team's leaders in batting average (.368), hits (25), runs (13), doubles (four), home runs (three), RBI (12), walks (nine), stolen bases (two), on-base percentage (.449) and slugging percentage (.559). Barba currently ranks among the top-three on the team in all the listed offensive categories. She posted three hits against UConn for her third three-hit game this season.
Salgado to the Rescue
Senior outfielder Lauren Salgado came up with the most-clutch hit of the day for the Bobcats against UConn on Wednesday. With two outs and the bases loaded in the second and the score knotted at 1-1, Salgado laced a two-run single back up the middle to plate two and give her team the lead for good in the game. Despite batting only .173 this season, Salgado has been hot of late with a .304 average (7-for-23) over the past eight games.
Quinnipiac senior shortstop Alex Alba and freshman outfielder Courtney Solt both helped rewrite the record books last week as they claimed NEC Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week, respectively. It marked the first time since May 3, 2008 that the Bobcats have seized both weekly awards and just the second time in program history to feat has ever been accomplished.
The Solt-an of Swat
Freshman outfielder Courtney Solt has been the team's best player throughout the season in what has been a blistering start to her young career. She already has 32 hits, 17 runs, seven doubles, seven RBI, four stolen bases and a .381 batting average to lead the team in all categories. Her fielding has also been well above average as the rookie has committed just one error all season while manning the left field position. Her season-high seven game hitting streak came to an end against Dartmouth but she batted over .600 during the span. She also posted a streak of four straight multi-hit games and five total through the eight-game spring break stretch down in Fla.
Solt won the second Rookie of the Week honor of her career last week as she joins an impressive list of Heather Schwartzburg (2008), Krista Seeman (2007) and Kristin Sheriff (2005) as the only Bobcats to win multiple Rookie of the Week honors in program history.
Streaking to the Top
One of the senior leaders on this Bobcat team, Alex Alba, had herself one of the most stellar weeks Quinnipiac has seen in quite some time. She earned her second career NEC Player of the Week and first since May 10, 2010 after compiling a .481 batting average (13-for-27), .517 on-base percentage (15-for-29) and .704 slugging percentage through eight games in Fla. Of her 13 hits, six of them were doubles as she now leads the team with seven on the season. She also chipped in an amazing nine RBI and eight runs scored through the week-long series of games.
Don't Stop at One
Sophomore catcher Jordan Paolucci had herself quite the week down in Fla. as she hit two grand slams during the spring break schedule. She hit her first career grand slam on Tuesday, March 12 in a showcase game against national power South Florida. It gave the Bobcats a 4-0 lead in a game which they competed throughout and only fell by a three-run deficit, 7-4. She then hit her second of the week on Saturday, March 16 against Colgate to help the Bobcat secure a 16-7 victory.
Runs, Runs and More Runs
The Bobcats tied their program record with 16 runs scored to beat Colgate, 16-7, in five innings on Saturday, March 16. Quinnipiac tallied 16 hits on the afternoon to go along with a program record 12 runs scored in the third inning alone. The 16-run total tied a program record as the Bobcats hadn't scored that many runs in a game since March 3, 2006 when they beat Coppin St., 16-0. The Bobcats also scored 16 runs back in 2001 against St. Francis (Pa.) in a 16-4 victory.
The game against Colgate featured a program record 12 runs scored for the Bobcats in the third inning. One of the most impressive footnotes about the record-setting inning is the team trailed Colgate, 7-1, entering the frame and 11 of the 12 runs were scored with two outs.
Alex Alba and Jordan Paolucci are climbing up the program's all-time record books and are within reach of becoming the all-time leader in their respective offensive categories. After smashing six doubles two weeks ago, Alba now has 39 for her career, just four behind the all-time mark of 43 set by Sarah Collins '06. Paolucci currently sits second all-time in career home runs with 20, just nine behind Collins' all-time mark of 29.
Jordan Paolucci has had herself a nice start to the season with a team-high 19 RBI but she has really picked up her play of late as she rode an impressive seven-game streak with at least one RBI that ended on Friday, March 15 against Radford.
Making the Right Moves
Quinnipiac head coach Germaine Fairchild made a lineup change down in Fla., dropping Jordan Paolucci down from her usual cleanup spot to the fifth position in the lineup while moving sophomore second baseman Nikki Barba into the fourth place in the Bobcat lineup. The move certainly has paid dividends as the team is averaging 5.56 runs per-game since making the switch. Paolucci has compiled a .241 batting average, three home runs and an impressive 14 RBI while Barba has batted .423 with one homer, five RBI, three doubles and eight runs scored in nine games since making the move.
Just Nine Away
Paolucci's home run against Colgate was the 20th of her career as she now moves into sole possession of second place in the all-time record books for career home runs. She passed Sammi Allendorfer '07 and is just nine home runs shy of Sarah Collins' all-time record of 29 career dingers in a Bobcat uniform.
One of the most improved players from last year's team has been sophomore outfielder Brittney Cyr. After not seeing any playing time through the first five games of the season, Cyr earned three starts from Mar. 1-2 batting at the number eight hole in the lineup before moving all the way up to number two in the Bobcat lineup between offensive stars Courtney Solt and Alex Alba. She certainly has taken advantage of the opportunity as has compiled 10 hits, four RBI, nine runs and two stolen bases.
One of the more under-the-radar stars for the Bobcats this season has been senior third baseman Bridget Figmic who comes into Tuesday as one of the Bobcats' key offensive contributors in several offensive categories including batting average (.270), on-base percentage (.370), walks (nine) and runs (11). She already has tallied four multi-hit games this season and knocked in two runs in three separate games last week.
Good Luck Striking Her Out
One of the nation's toughest batters to strikeout all season has been Courtney Solt. She enters the week ranked in the Top-20 in the nation as far as the Toughest to Strikeout. Solt has struck out just twice in 87 plate appearances this year (2.3 percent).
Senior shortstop Alex Alba continues to climb up the all-time Quinnipiac career leaders as she becomes just the sixth player in program history to record at least 150 hits. She knocked her 150th base hit in typical Alba style as she knocked a double in the first in the team's matchup with Illinois-Chicago. She now currently stands with 172 career base knocks, just four away from fifth place.
Redshirt sophomore catcher Jordan Paolucci made her much-anticipated return to the Bobcat lineup earlier this year as she has posted a .286 batting average (20-for-70), nine runs, two doubles, five home runs, 19 RBI, three walks and two stolen bases. The 2011 NEC Rookie of the Year missed a majority of last season due to injury after slugging a program record 15 home runs in 2011.
Home Run Barrage
The Bobcats are less than one year removed from having tied the NCAA record with four consecutive home runs on April 1, 2012 against Sacred Heart. The power was supplied by the heart of the Bobcat lineup as sophomore Jordan Paolucci, sophomore Nikki Barba and senior Kortney Kesses combined to supply the power. For Kesses, it was the first home run of her career while Barba knocked her third and Paolucci recorded the 16th of her career.
The Bobcats will have some time off before their next action on Thursday, April 4 where they will play a road doubleheader at Stony Brook before a big NEC weekend as they take on 2012 NEC Champion LIU Brooklyn on Saturday, April 6 and Mount St. Mary's on Sunday, April 7 in a pair of home doubleheaders.
Contact: Maxx McNall; email@example.com