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CLEARWATER, Fla. – The Quinnipiac softball team helped ring in a new era on Sunday as the Bobcats picked up a 5-3 victory over St. John's (N.Y.) which represented the first career win for newly hired head coach Jill Karwoski. The Bobcats certainly earned this result as they went down 3-1 after two innings but rallied back with four runs in the fourth through seventh innings while holding the Red Storm to no runs in the final five frames to score the come-from-behind win. Quinnipiac's first victory in 2014 moves them to 1-9 while St. John's falls to 8-12 on the season.
Two Bobcat sophomores finished with career days as Abby Johnson (Chelmsford, Mass.) made the most of her second career start in the leadoff position with her first career three-hit day at the plate. Her sophomore teammate Sydney Robey (Glenmoore, Pa.) also continued to shine as she picked up her second career three-hit game, all while recording just six at-bats for the entire 2013 season.
Quinnipiac allowed just three runs for the second time in three games as the combination of junior Hannah Lindsley (Narragansett, R.I.), senior Katie Alfiere (Beacon Falls, Conn.) and Robey combined for 7 innings with nine hits and four walks allowed with just one strikeout but St. John's could only muster three runs for the day. Lindsley earned the victory with a 5 inning start while Robey tossed 1.1 innings of scoreless relief before Alfiere entered and picked up a clutch two-out save with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh.
Junior Jordan Paolucci (Lake Mary, Fla.) chipped in with an RBI single in the first to score Robey and put the Bobcats on the board first with a 1-0 lead. The Red Storm were quick to strike back as they tallied four hits and three runs in the second to claim the 3-1 advantage.
Quinnipiac threatened by loading the bases with one out after singles from Johnson, junior Nikki Barba (San Diego, Calif.) and Robey in the third but couldn't convert, leaving all three runners on-base to end the inning.
The following inning was a much different story as Alfiere singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch and then scored after Solt picked up an RBI single. Solt advanced to second on the attempted throw home which proved crucial as Johnson came through big with a two-out run-scoring single through the right side of the infield to tie the score at 3-3.
The eventual game-winning run was scored on a huge play from freshman Kathryn Vitale (Cheshire, Conn.). Robey started the inning with a single up the middle and then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Paolucci. Lindsley then walked and was pinch run for Vitale. After a lineout gave St. John's two outs in the inning, Vitale put the pressure on with her blazing speed and forced a wild throw down to second that allowed Robey to score the run easily from third.
The Bobcats tacked on an insurance run after first loading the bases with no outs and finally converting two outs later with an RBI single from Alfiere in the top of the seventh that scored Paolucci from third to make it a 5-3 game.
The bottom of the seventh certainly wasn't easy as the bases loaded with just one out. Robey was lifted in favor of Alfiere who first forced a foul out to the catcher to give the Bobcats two outs and then finished the game off with a fielder's choice out at home to seal the first victory of the season for Quinnipiac.
After committing 25 errors through the first seven games this season, the Bobcats looked to have found some consistency in the field as they've committed just one error in each of the last three games.
Quinnipiac will rest for a day before playing a pair on Tuesday against Boston University and Penn from the Eddie C. Moore Field.
Contact: Maxx McNall; firstname.lastname@example.org