May 5, 2013

Softball's 2013 Season Ends With Split of St. Francis U; Courtney Solt Becomes QU's Single-Season Hits Record Holder

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Game One Box Score (L, 4-3)
Game Two Box Score (W, 2-0)

LORETTO, Pa. – Needing just two hits to become the program's all-time single-season record holder, freshman Courtney Solt (Boyertown, Pa.) did just that in Quinnipiac softball's final games of the 2013 season, earning a split with St. Francis U. The Red Flash took game one 4-3 while the Bobcats capped the season on w inning note earning a 2-0 victory in game two. Quinnipiac finishes the 2013 season at 17-35 and 9-11 in the NEC while St. Francis U ends their season at 25-30 (6-14 NEC).

Solt's triumph comes in just her first season with the Bobcats as she already came into Sunday with the freshman single-season hits record at Quinnipiac but she wasn't finished as she recorded a hit in each game to finish with 66 hits in 2013, passing Kerri McMahon's 18-year program record of 65 established back in 1995.  Solt has been a force all season for the Bobcats as she finishes the year with the fifth-highest batting average in the NEC (.376), third-most runs scored (37), tied for second place in hits (66), tied for first in triples (5), sixth in total bases (85), and tied for fifth in stolen bases (9).

Sophomore Jordan Paolucci (Lake Mary, Fla.) also finished the year with a bang as she slugged her NEC-leading 12th home run of the season. Paolucci went 5-for-6 throughout the two games of the doubleheader with one home run, one double, two runs scored and two RBI. She finishes the year with the most home runs and RBI (44) in the NEC as well as the single-season RBI record at Quinnipiac.

The Bobcats finish the 2013 season on a high note on the mound as a pair of underclassmen in sophomore Hannah Lindsley (Narragansett, R.I.) and freshman Nicole Gubellini (Salem, N.H.) both pitched very well on the day. Lindsley shutdown the St. Francis U offense in game two, pitching a six-hit complete game shutout with four strikeouts and just one walk. It is her third shutout of the season as she closes the year with the most victories (seven) of any Bobcat pitcher. Gubellini didn't disappoint in game one as she battled and held a lead until the final two innings where she was victimized by some timely hits from the Red Flash batters. Her line was 6.2 innings while giving up 10 hits and five walks but only allowed four runs in the tough luck defeat.

Game one started with a bang for the Bobcats as Paolucci slugged a two-run home run that scored sophomore Nikki Barba (San Diego, Calif.) who had already singled and stole two bases before the big blast.

Gubellini meanwhile was hitting her stride early as two runners in scoring position with one out in the second didn't faze the young rookie. She quickly induced a pop up to second after two pitches and closed out the inning with a line out to senior Bridget Figmic (Stratford, Conn.) at third base for the third out.

Senior Lauren Salgado (Covina, Calif.) teamed up with Solt to tack on another Bobcat run in the third as Solt led off with a triple to right center and then easily scored from third as Salgado slapped a groundout to second base to get her an RBI and make it 3-0 Bobcats early.

St. Francis U started their rally with a two-run blast from Chelsy Cosentino but Gubellini settled back down and retired the next two batters to maintain the lead. She once again showed some moxie in the fourth where the Red Flash had two runners in scoring position once again with just one out but the freshman had the next two batters roll over with groundouts to short to end the frame once again with no runs allowed.

The bats finally awoke for St. Francis U in the sixth as Karlie Miller came through with a game-tying RBI single with one out in the sixth and after the Bobcats couldn't grab the lead in the seventh, the Red Flash won it in the bottom half. With two outs and two runners in scoring position, Taylor Parsons was intentionally walked to load the bases for Kate Blattenberger who lifted her team to the win with a walk-off single to right for the 4-3 win.

The second game favored the Bobcats as they got things going in the second inning where Paolucci slapped a single to left field and then scored all the way from first on a two-out RBI double to left center for senior Kortney Kesses (Woodbridge, Conn.) as the Bobcats grabbed the early 1-0 lead in support of their starter Lindsley.

Solt grabbed the single-season hits record in the third inning as she was tied with McMahon after game one, needing one more for the record and she did so in typical Solt fashion using her blazing speed to reach on an infield single to second.

As the game progressed not a single run was scored for five straight innings but Lindsley did well to as the Red Flash left one runner on-base in all seven innings in game two. Their greatest chance came in the fourth inning as Cosentino drew a leadoff walk and Parsons singled to right to put two runners on-base but they would advance no further as Lindsley struck out the next batter and then induced a fly out to prevent any damage.

The Bobcats added an insurance run in the top of the seventh as Kesses hit her second double of the game out to left field and then later scored as a fielding error from the first baseman on a ball hit from Solt.

Now with a two-run lead, it was more than enough to finish the job for Lindsley as she retired the final three batters consecutively after allowing a leadoff single to earn her the third shutout of her young career.

The Bobcats miss out on the NEC Tournament for the first time in three years as the careers of stalwarts Figmic, Kesses, Salgado and Alex Alba (Sylmar, Calif.) come to a close. Quinnipiac also will be saying goodbye to the NEC as they will now compete move on to the MAAC in 2014 in hopes of making some noise with the return of several key underclassmen contributors including Solt, Paolucci, Barba, Lindsley, and Gubellini.

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