HAMDEN, Conn. – Needing a pair of victories to stay in the NEC playoff race, the Quinnipiac softball team earned two decisive victories on the backs of some late-game heroics as they beat Mount St. Mary's 13-5 in six innings and 7-4 on Sunday from QU Softball Field. Senior Alex Alba (Sylmar, Calif.) lifted a walk-off grand slam over the left field fence in the sixth inning of game one while three runs in the bottom of the sixth broke a 4-4 tie and carried the Bobcats to the victory in game two. Quinnipiac now jumps back to the .500 mark in NEC play at 3-3 with an overall record of 9-23 while the Mountaineers fall to 10-22 (2-8 NEC).
The 13 runs scored in game one is the third-most the Bobcats have scored in a game all season and Alba's grand slam was the third hit by Quinnipiac this season. Alba was on her game all afternoon as she tallied two hits in each game to go along with five RBI, three runs and the 41st double of her career as she now moves into sole possession of second place all-time at Quinnipiac in career doubles. Sophomore Jordan Paolucci (Lake Mary, Fla.) also made an impact at the plate with a go-ahead three run home run in game two, her eighth of the season and 23rd of her career. She finished the day with three hits, two runs, one double and five RBI. Other key offensive contributors included senior Lauren Salgado (Covina, Calif.) who went 4-for-8 with three runs, senior Bridget Figmic (Stratford, Conn.) who reached base all four times in game one (three walks, one hit, two stolen bases) and homered for the second time in her career, sophomore Brittany Cyr (Southington, Conn.) tallied three hits, two runs and two steals through both games, and freshman Courtney Solt (Boyertown, Pa.) also chipped in three hits, three runs, one RBI and one stolen base.
Freshman Sydney Robey (Glenmoore, Pa.) earned the victory in game one pitching six strong innings for the complete game as she now moves over the .500 mark with a 5-4 record this season. Sophomore Hannah Lindsley (Narragansett, R.I.) also had an impressive game as she earned the complete game win in game two. Lindsley struck out a season-high eight batters, the most for a Bobcat pitcher in any game this season, as she limited the Mountaineer attack to five hits and three earned runs in her win.
Game one was an offensive slugfest as the teams traded big blows early before the Bobcats took control in the later innings capped off by the Alba walk-off grand slam. Barba got the action going with an RBI single in the first followed by Paolucci who belted a double to right center that scored a pair. After Figmic walked, she and Paolucci took advantage of a defensive miscue as the catcher threw down to second to try and gun down Figmic stealing second but Paolucci alertly busted home where she scored the fourth run of the inning. The inning finally closed after the Bobcats scored two more on an error and passed ball to take a 6-0 lead.
Mount St. Mary's came right back to push their way back into the game scoring four runs in the second inning. A key defensive play came when Paolucci threw down to second to try and catch a runner stealing but Alba cut the throw off and gunned back home to nab the runner coming home from third.
Chances littered the Bobcats' half of the inning throughout the early stages of game one as they left two runners on-base in the second and third before finally busting home a run in the fourth. The Mountaineers inserted their ace pitcher Nicole Pagano to face freshman Molly Jarrett (Northport, N.Y.) but a sacrifice fly was enough to bring Barba in from third and increase the lead to 7-4.
After another Mountaineer run brought the score to 7-5, some clutch two out hits from Paolucci and Figmic brought in a pair of runs. Paolucci first singled with two outs to load up the bases and then Figmic followed with a clutch single to shortstop that scored one and then another as the fielder bobbled the grounder.
After Robey sat the Mount St. Mary's batters in order in the top half, Alba ended it in the bottom of the sixth as Cyr, Solt and Salgado all singled to load the bases before Alba took to offering deep to left field and end the game due to mercy ruling, 13-5.
Game two began nothing like the first as Mount St. Mary's came out of the gates strong with three first inning runs off Lindsley but the sophomore pitcher induced a fly out with runners on second and third with two outs to limit the damage.
The Bobcats then went to the home run to supply their runs as Figmic led off the second with her second career home run and first of the season and then Paolucci powered out a three-run homer to right center field as she helped move her team ahead, 4-3.
A run was scored for the Mountaineers on a passed ball in the top of the fifth and the score remained tied until the all-important sixth inning for Quinnipiac. Junior Katie Alfiere (Beacon Falls, Conn.) first reached on an error, one of seven committed by the Mountaineers in the field throughout game two, and Lindsley followed with a sacrifice bunt to move her over. After Cyr reached on an error and stole second, the stage was set for Solt who knocked the go-ahead RBI single to shortstop. Solt then stole second and another run was scored after Salgado hit a grounder to the shortstop. The ball was fielded and thrown home to try and tag out Cyr attempting to score from third but the catcher bobbled the catch and Cyr slid in safely. Alba added an insurance run with a suicide squeeze down the first base line to score Solt from third.
The game ended in the seventh after Lindsley struck out the final batter for her eighth strikeout and secured the 7-4 win for the Bobcats.
Quinnipiac will next face Fairfield on the road Wednesday for a non-conference tilt before a pair of NEC road weekend doubleheaders against Wagner and Sacred Heart, respectively.
Contact: Maxx McNall; email@example.com