SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Quinnipiac softball team was victimized by some late-inning magic from the Bryant Bulldogs as they fell twice on Saturday, 9-8 and 8-0 (five innings), from Conaty Park. Senior Alex Alba's (Sylmar, Calif.) two hits on the day made some history as she moved past Beth Luizzi '97 for second-place on Quinnipiac's all-time hits list with 190 for her career. The Bobcats now drop to 15-29 (8-6 NEC) while Bryant improves to 20-20 (9-9 NEC).
Needing wins to keep pace with the top-four teams in the conference, the Bobcats were able to generate plenty of early offense in game one, going up 6-0 after the first frame against the Bulldogs. Bryant however wouldn't go away easily as they were able to close the gap to 7-6 after the sixth inning before plating three runs in the bottom of the seventh including the walk-off two-run double from Aubrey Mable to put away the dramatic 9-8 victory in game one.
The momentum certainly carried over into the second game as the Bobcats could only muster one hit against Bryant starter Jennifer Jacob as they were put away, 8-0, in five innings.
A couple individual marks from game one highlighted the day for the Bobcats as sophomore Jordan Paolucci (Lake Mary, Fla.), the Northeast Conference's leader in home runs and RBI this season, slapped a run-scoring single to give her 41 RBI this year which tied a single-season record for Quinnipiac. Alba was also heavily involved early as she went 2-for-4 and is now in sole possession of second-place on the all-time hits leader board as she now has 190 for her four years as a Bobcat.
Sophomores Brittney Cyr (Southington, Conn.) and Nikki Barba (San Diego, Calif.) as well as senior Lauren Salgado (Covina, Calif.) joined Alba with two hits in game one while Salgado and freshman Abby Johnson (Chelmsford, Mass.) each led the team with two RBI on the afternoon. Cyr also singled in the second game to lead the Bobcats in hits with three in the doubleheader.
The early game looked to be in the Bobcats' hands early as they generated plenty of offense in the first inning starting with three straight singles from Cyr, Alba and Paolucci to score the first run. Barba followed with an RBI double to center field and senior Bridget Figmic (Stratford, Conn.) kept the hits coming with a run-scoring single. Salgado then came through with a big two-out two-run single and later scored on a wild pitch as momentum clearly favored Quinnipiac early, jumping out to a 6-0 lead.
The Bulldogs would then limit the Bobcat offense for the next three innings and would pick up four runs of their own in the process. The first two came across on a Elle Madsen two-run double in the first and later they scored two more in the fourth on a leadoff homer from Lauren Guy and RBI base knock from Madeline Velasquez.
Quinnipiac loaded the bases in the fifth with one out but couldn't only manage one run as Johnson singled up the middle to score Barba from third. The Bulldogs managed the escape the jam with that being the only damage and continued to put the pressure on with two more runs in the sixth to make it 7-6 heading into the seventh.
The fortunes were on the Bobcat's side early as a fielding error allowed senior Kortney Kesses (Woodbridge, Conn.) to reach and later come home on an RBI groundout from Johnson.
The tides then turned for the Bobcats in the bottom half as a leadoff strikeout from freshman pitcher Sydney Robey (Glenmoore, Pa.) was nullified by a missed third-strike catch. Later in the inning with the bases loaded after Guy was intentionally walked, Kendall Corder drew a four-pitch walk to plate a run and then Mable ended it with a walk-off two-run double to help Bryant score a come-from-behind victory, 9-8.
Game two was dominated by the Bulldogs as they carried the momentum right into the nightcap. Madsen got the scoring barrage started with an RBI double in the first and the Velasquez singled her home to make it 2-0 after one.
Madsen then helped account for two more runs in the third as she tripled to left center that scored Mable and then came home on a wild pitch to increase the lead to 4-0.
Quinnipiac generated their only base hit of the second game in the fourth as Cyr hit a leadoff single but could get no farther as three consecutive outs ended the inning.
Bryant put the second game away with four runs in the fourth and Jacob finished off her sensational pitching outing with just a walk to Barba in the fifth but no runs as her line went for five innings, six strikeouts and just two runners reaching base.
The Bobcats will need to come up with victories in their remaining six NEC games to have a chance at the playoffs and that begins with a doubleheader against Central Conn. St. tomorrow starting at Noon. This will be the final home conference series in the careers of four Bobcat seniors as they will all be honored before the day's action around 11:40 am for Senior Day.
Contact: Maxx McNall; firstname.lastname@example.org