QU Softball Mashes Eight Home Runs in Two-Game Split of Rider; Paolucci and Lindsley Each Go Deep Twice in Sunday's Action

LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. – Any pitching staff who doubts the Quinnipiac softball offense is sorely mistaken as the Bobcats mashed 26 hits, eight homers, five doubles and 19 runs across a two-game split against Rider. Quinnipiac went deep three times in the game one but couldn't hold the lead late as they fell to the Broncs, 8-7, in game one. An even greater display was seen in game two as Quinnipiac tallied five home runs, including the first in the careers of Hannah Lindsley and Keilani Finley, to dominate Rider, 12-1, in five innings.

The Bobcats' (7-22, 3-4 MAAC) bats have been red hot of late as they're averaging 10.4 runs, 13.2 hits and 2.2 home runs per game over their last five games. The torrid stretch of late has also translated into victories as Quinnipiac is 4-1 overall in the five-game stretch, their best mark throughout the 2014 season.

Matching up against a Rider (3-22, 1-3 MAAC) staff that came into the weekend with a respectable sub-4.00 ERA, the Bobcats made it look easy as they compiled the most home runs in a two-game stretch in program history. With their five homers in game two, they came just one homer shy of matching the single-game record at Quinnipiac of six from April 1, 2012 against Sacred Heart.

Junior Nikki Barba (San Diego, Calif.) had everything working as she led the team with six hits on the day. Barba tallied two consecutive three-hit games to finish 6-for-7 two doubles, one homer, two runs scored and two RBI. The Bobcats' infielder has now tallied three hits in each of the last three games.

Junior Jordan Paolucci (Lake Mary, Fla.) continued to impose her will as she notched two home runs, three runs scored, three RBI and two walks in the two games on Sunday. Paolucci's monster day gives her the team-lead this season in home runs (six) and RBI (20) while her career totals increase to 35 homers (1st all-time at Quinnipiac) and 109 RBI (3rd all-time).

Quinnipiac's second-leading hitter on the day was junior Hannah Lindsley (Narragansett, R.I.) who came through with a 5-for-7 day at the plate including one double and the first two home runs of her career. Lindsley went deep twice in game two to finish 3-for-4 with two homers, three runs scored and two RBI. She tied with sophomore Paige Giunta (Downingtown, Pa.) for the team-lead with four RBI on the day.

Giunta only saw action in game two but she sure did make the most of her opportunity, going a perfect 3-for-3 and ending just a triple short of the cycle. Giunta homered and doubled for the first time as a Bobcat while she drove in a career high four runs in the game two victory.

Rounding out the incredible offensive day for Quinnipiac was sophomore Abby Johnson (Chelmsford, Mass.) who picked up three hits including her seventh multi-hit game of the season in game one. Johnson is riding a six-game hitting streak, tied for the longest of any Bobcat in 2014. Senior Katie Alfiere (Beacon Falls, Conn.) hit her second career home run in game one, going yard for the first time since April 1, 2012 in the same game in which the Bobcats finished with a program record six dingers. Freshman Keilani Finley (Alameda, Calif.) also only saw one at-bat but she certainly made the most of it, going yard for the first time in her career for a two-run shot in the fifth inning of game two.

As for the individual games on Saturday, the Bobcats were matching up against Rider for the first time since 2010 and also the first time from the Herb & Joan Young Field. Quinnipiac took complete control early as Barba and Paolucci each went deep for two-run bombs in the first inning to hand the Bobcats a 4-0 lead.

After the Broncs took advantage of a Bobcat error for a two-run second inning, Lindsley singled in a run in the third as she found a hole in left center and made it a 5-2 game.

Both sides traded runs in the bottom of the fourth and top of the fifth with Lindsley again factoring in the Quinnipiac run as she doubled home Paolucci all the way from first base.

Quinnipiac's onslaught continued an inning later in the sixth when Alfiere lifted a home run up and over the left field fence to push the Bobcats' lead to 7-3, all before Rider stormed back with a five-run sixth.

Sophomore Sydney Robey (Glenmoore, Pa.) had thrown a solid five inning game before she allowed a walk and single, forcing the Bobcats' closer Alfiere into the game to try and escape the jam. Despite her efforts, three timely hits for the Broncs turned the game completely upside down as two straight singles, followed by a grand slam plated five Rider runs and gave them an 8-7 lead.

The perseverant Bobcats have proved a tough out time and time again this season and Sunday was no different as Barba led off with a double in the seventh inning. After two straight groundouts, Lindsley was hit by a pitch to put two runners on for sophomore Dani Edmands (Northborough, Mass.) who hit a liner but right to the shortstop for the final out of game one.

Luckily for the Bobcats, the heart wrenching loss in game one was quickly put to bed as they mercy ruled Rider with a 12-1 victory in five innings in game two of the doubleheader.

The tone was set again early as the Bobcats plated nine runs combined in the second and third innings before putting the game away late with Finley's first career home run.

Quinnipiac's home run barrage didn't begin until the third inning but they still took command with a four-run second inning. Paolucci, Lindsley and Edmands all reached to load the bases for Giunta who came through with a two-run single to get the party started. Alfiere followed next with an RBI double while Johnson finished it off with a run-scoring single in the second.

The big inning for the Bobcats came in the third as all four of the five runs to come across came via the long ball. Paolucci and Lindsley first struck with back-to-back solo shots to lead off the frame while Giunta followed with a two-run shot of her own to score Edmands who had singled in front of her.

Lindsley picked up her second career home run and second of the day in the fourth inning as she went deep to right center field.

Finally, in the fifth inning sophomore Katie Strong (South Windsor, Conn.) walked for the first time in her career and then scored her first run as Finley picked up a two-run home run to make it a 12-1 game.

Lindsley closed the door on an impressive effort for Quinnipiac with a complete game four hitter, allowing just one run and one walk in her five innings of work. Her team-leading win total moved up to four while she also finished with her first complete game effort of the season.

Quinnipiac will look to finish off an impressive road swing with the conclusion of a postponed game against Manhattan tomorrow at 1:00 pm. Play will resume in the fourth inning with the bases loaded for the Bobcats with one out while Quinnipiac leads 1-0 over the Jaspers.

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