April 11, 2014

Softball Heads to Sacred Heart on Thursday Before Resuming MAAC Play With Siena and Iona This Weekend

Quinnipiac University Bobcats (8-22, 4-4 MAAC)
Sacred Heart University Pioneers (9-13, 0-4 NEC)
Siena College Saints (14-15, 3-1 MAAC)
Iona College Gaels (10-16, 4-2 MAAC)

Thursday, April 10, 2014 (Pioneer Park – Fairfield, Conn.)
Quinnipiac @ Sacred Heart – 3:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 12, 2014 (Siena Field – Loudonville, N.Y.)
Quinnipiac @ Siena – 1:00 p.m.
Quinnipiac @ Siena – 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, April 13, 2014 (QU Softball Field – Hamden, Conn.)
Iona @ Quinnipiac – 12:00 p.m.
Iona @ Quinnipiac – 2:00 p.m.

After putting on one of the most impressive string of offensive displays in program history last weekend as well as the first no-hitter in Quinnipiac softball's Division I era, the Bobcats are riding a wave of momentum into play this weekend. Quinnipiac is slated for five games over a four-day stretch starting with a renewal of an annual rivalry with their former conference foes the Sacred Heart Pioneers on Thursday. The Bobcats will then take Friday to prepare for a pair of MAAC doubleheaders starting with a trip to Siena on Saturday followed by a home doubleheader against Iona on Sunday.

All-Time Against the Competition
The Bobcats own a winning record against all three of their upcoming opponents this weekend as they are 11-6 all-time against Sacred Heart, 7-3 against Siena and 3-1 against Iona. Quinnipiac has put together an impressive four-game winning streak against the Pioneers coming into Thursday's matchup while they've won five straight against the Saints and three in-a-row against the Gaels. The Bobcats' contests against both Siena and Iona come without much recent experience as they'll be playing the Saints for the first time since 2010 and the Gaels for the first time since 2012.

Scouting the Pioneers
Their former Northeast Conference foe Sacred Herat comes in with a 9-14 overall record and 0-4 mark in the NEC. Thursday's matchup with the Bobcats will be only the second home game for the Pioneers all season as they've played a combined 22 games either on the road or at a neutral site. After starting the year with an impressive 9-8 record, Sacred Heart has stumbled of late coming in losers of six straight games. They lost their NEC opener to the reigning champs CCSU while they were swept the following weekend at Mount St. Mary's. The Pioneer offense has been a trouble spot, coming into the matchup with Quinnipiac without any runs scored in the previous three-plus games (24 consecutive scoreless innings). Annie Dreher headlines the Sacred Heart offense with five doubles, five home runs and 12 RBI. Her slugging percentage of .545 leads the team and is one of only two players who comes in with a percentage higher than .339. Justine Sibthorp leads the Pioneers with a .302 average as well as a team-high 12 runs to go along with three homers. An area where Sacred Heart hasn't struggled lies in their pitching staff as the combined team ERA sits at 2.95. Jamie Carlson leads the way for the Pioneers with a 2-6 record, 3.73 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 62.0 innings. Adrianna Mallory has compiled the most wins on the team (four) while Kacie Wentworth has a team-leading ERA of 2.14.

Scouting the Saints
Siena is prepped and ready for their MAAC home opener this weekend as they come in with an overall record of 15-16 (the best in the conference) in addition to a 3-1 mark in conference play. They're coming off a split of Colgate on Wednesday and are finally returning home for their first taste of action from the Siena Field all season. They come into the weekend sitting in second place behind only Marist in the conference standings. The Saints come in with one of the most impressive lineups in the MAAC headlined by Alyssa Lancaster who comes into the weekend batting a team-high .375 to go along with 18 RBI. Abby Carpenter (.360, 18 runs, six doubles, three home runs, 14 RBI) and Stephanie Viggiano (.337, 15 runs, seven doubles, 10 RBI) both also bat well above .300 in a well-balance Siena lineup that will pose trouble for the Bobcat pitching staff. The Saints feature one of the most durable and reliable starts in the MAAC with Jessika Sandrini who comes in with a conference-leading 12 wins to go along with a 3.42 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 102.2 innings. Sandrini has thrown 12 complete games with three shutouts this season, both of which lead the conference.

Scouting the Gaels
Iona (10-17, 4-2 MAAC) recently had their season-best five-game winning streak snapped this past weekend and enter this weekend riding a three-game losing streak. Iona will be playing their third weekend road doubleheader in their last four MAAC contests. Eileen McCann leads the Iona offensive attack with a .367 average, 13 runs, three home runs and 11 RBI. Allison Hand has also put together a solid 2014 campaign coming into the weekend with a .352 average, 16 runs, seven doubles, five home runs and 14 RBI. The combination of McCann and Hand both help set the table for one of the MAAC's best power hitters in Kristen Turner who leads the MAAC with nine home runs and 34 RBI coming into the weekend. Turner's 34 RBI represents nearly 25 percent of the Gaels' total on the year while no one else on the team has more than 14 RBI. Behind Turner is seven batters who all hit over .259 on the season, something no other MAAC team can say about their offensive lineup. The one area where Iona has struggled is in their pitching staff as the Gaels have a combined 5.28 team ERA this season. Carly Argyle has a 4.76 ERA to go along with a team-leading 6-7 record. Argyle has struck out 75 batters in 85.1 innings but opponents have hit .303 against her this season. Sarah McMahon (2-2, 4.86 ERA) and Jordan Courage (2-8, 6.40 ERA) both figure to see time on the circle for Iona in Sunday's matchup.

For the First Time
Quinnipiac junior Hannah Lindsley had the pitching performance of the year on Monday, hurling the first no-hitter for Quinnipiac softball in the Division I era (since 1999) to defeat Manhattan, 2-0. Lindsley had everything working as she limited the highest-scoring lineup in the MAAC coming into the weekend to nothing offensively. Lindsley's no-hit effort is the first for any Bobcat pitcher in the 16-year history as an NCAA Division I program. As if the accomplishment wasn't impressive enough, Lindsley came just one walk and one hit batter away from throwing the first perfect game in the 37-year history of the program. Lindsley finished with a line of seven innings, no hits, no runs, two strikeouts and just one walk. Her defense fielded the ball perfectly as all 21 outs were secured without error in the Bobcats' victory.

Some More Notes About Hannah's No-No
In a game that was made up from a March 29 postponement, play began in the fourth inning with Lindsley already having worked through three hitless frames. She finished off her no-hitter with four frames of no-hit ball on Monday afternoon to become the first player in the history of NCAA Division I to throw a no-hitter in a game that was played on multiple days. The shutout is also the first for any Bobcat pitcher this season and the fourth of Lindsley's career.

Offensive Explosion
Throughout the five-game weekend on the road, the Bobcats put on an offensive display that rivals some of the best stretches the program has ever seen. Quinnipiac scored 43 runs in five games and batted .407, slugged .717 and totaled an on-base percentage of .494 to pick up a 4-1 record on the road. The Bobcats also added 12 doubles, 11 home runs, 41 RBI, 11 stolen bases and 22 walks throughout the offensive explosion.

Record-Breaking Bobcats
The Bobcat offensive attack busted out a single-game program record 20 hits, tallied 15 unanswered runs and also scored the largest margin of victory on the road since May 6, 2005 as they defeated Saint Peter's, 16-4, on April 5 in five innings. For Quinnipiac, their dominating performance was the 12-run margin of victory since Feb. 26, 2012 in a 14-1 win over Saint Peter's and their largest margin of victory on the road since a 13-1 victory over St. Francis (Pa.) back on May 6, 2005. It was also their first win via mercy-rule since April 7, 2013 (W, 13-5) in six innings against Mount St. Mary's and their most runs scored since March 16, 2013 in a 16-7 win over Colgate.

Let the Good Times Roll
In addition to the single-game hits record established on April 5, several more Bobcats picked up some record-breaking performances. Courtney Solt tallied a career high four hits and tied a single-game program record with five runs scored. Jordan Paolucci drove in a career high six runs which tied another single-game program record. A total of 11 Bobcats tallied a base hit on Saturday and 12 batters reached base safely to break yet another single-game record.

Paolucci's Player of the Week
After one of the most impressive offensive displays in the history of Quinnipiac softball last weekend, junior catcher/infielder Jordan Paolucci took home MAAC Player of the Week honors on April 8 for the first time in her storied career. The Bobcats' all-time home run leader spearheaded an incredible week for the Quinnipiac offense that averaged over 8 runs per game and close to 10 hits in seven games last week for a Bobcat squad that rattled off three straight wins to have a 4-3 winning record. Paolucci raked .565 (13-for-23) in seven games with nine runs, two doubles, two walks, three home runs and 12 RBI.

Home Run Heaven
In a doubleheader against Rider on April 13, the Bobcats combined for eight home runs against the Broncs. Quinnipiac came one homer shy in game two of tying the single-game program record but set a two-game record with the eight home runs. Among those to go deep were Paolucci (twice), Hannah Lindsley (twice, first two career homers), Nikki Barba (10th career), Katie Alfiere (second career, first since April 1, 2012), Keilani Finley (first career) and Paige Giunta (first as a Bobcat).

See the Ball, Hit the Ball
Jordan Paolucci enters Thursday riding a season-best six-game hitting streak as well as a four-game streak hitting one home run. Paolucci has absolutely destroyed the ball in the six-game stretch as she's batting .647 (11-for-17) with nine runs, four homers, 11 RBI and a monster 1.412 slugging percentage. She also has walked twice to give her a .720 on-base percentage.

Exclusive Company
Quinnipiac's red-shirt junior Jordan Paolucci became just the third Bobcat in program history to reach the 100 career RBI club on April 5 against St. Peter's. She finished with three RBI to join Sarah Collins '06 (124) and Kerri McMahon '96 (120) as the only three to reach the 100-career RBI milestone. With 110 RBI entering the weekend, Paolucci needs just 15 more to become the program's all-time record holder.

Finding a Way
Quinnipiac's 11-10 come-from-behind victory over UConn on April 3 saw the Bobcats erase a three-run deficit heading into their half of the seventh inning. For the Bobcats, the game against UConn on Thursday represented many firsts:

- First walk-off hit since Jordan Paolucci's grand slam in the 8th inning against FDU on April 20, 2013
- First comeback from at least a two-run deficit in the 7th inning or later since April 26, 2012 against Iona
- First time Bobcats came back from a deficit of more than three runs in the 7th inning since before the 2004 season
- Most combined runs (12) between both teams in the 7th inning of a game in program history

One Shining Moment
Even more history was made with Nikki Barba's walk-off single with the bases loaded as she struck a 1-2 fastball to right field that broke a 10-10 tie and score the game-winning run from third base. The hit gave Barba a 3-for-4 day (tied career high) with two runs, career-high four RBI, one double and one home run. It was also the first walk-off hit of Barba's three-year career.

Welcome to the 100 Hit Club
Quinnipiac's junior second baseman Nikki Barba became the 31st player in Quinnipiac softball history to record her 100th career base hit last weekend. She tallied a single against Green Bay to join the long lineage of success for the Bobcats in recruiting dynamic offensive talent. Barba also became the second player for the Bobcats this season to join the 100 hit club as Jordan Paolucci did so back in February.

Leading Off
Ever since her move up into the leadoff position in the Bobcats' order, sophomore Abby Johnson has been a revelation with the team's 3rd-best average at .381 (24-for-63) with the 2nd-best on-base percentage (.494) as she has also picked up 13 runs, 12 walks, three hit-by-pitches and seven RBI in 22 games since the move-up the order. Johnson has also played stellar defense out in right field as she leads all the Bobcats' outfielders with eight assists on the season.

Full Steam Ahead
Nikki Barba had her six-game hitting streak snapped last Saturday, the longest such streak for any Bobcat hitter this season, but Barba has been nothing short of unstoppable as she has tallied a hit in 17 of the last 22 games for Quinnipiac. During this stretch, Barba is batting .429 with four home runs, 18 RBI, 10 walks, five doubles and 10 runs scored.

We Want More Robey
After tallying just six at-bats throughout the entire 2013 season, sophomore pitcher/first baseman Sydney Robey has come out of nowhere to lead the Quinnipiac offense through 30 games. Robey has compiled a .287 average (25-for-87) with 13 extra base hits (eight doubles, five home runs). She also sports the 5th-best on-base percentage (.374) as she's chipped in nine walks in 2014. She tallied her first career homer against Georgia State while she tied a single-game program record with three doubles against Campbell. Just this week she smashed her team-leading fifth home run of the season and also tallied her first career three-hit game, going 3-for-4 with two runs against St. John's.

MAAC Player of the Week
Courtney Solt became the first Quinnipiac player to ever win a MAAC Player of the Week award after the sophomore outfielder had herself an incredible four-game stretch at the Towson Invitational. She batted .727 (8-for-11) with five runs, one RBI, one double, one walk, three hit-by-pitches and three stolen bases. Solt posted an incredible .800 on-base percentage and slugged .818 for the week. She recorded at least one hit in all four games while she reached base safely at least twice in all four games.

MAAC Pitcher of the Week
The Bobcats' lone senior Katie Alfiere made some history this week as she became the first Bobcat to win a MAAC Pitcher of the Week award. The weekly award win is the second in Alfiere's career and the first for the program since May 7, 2012. She won the award after pitching in four games last weekend for Quinnipiac with 8.2 innings pitched allowing seven hits, two earned runs, one walk and three strikeouts. Alfiere finished with a 1.82 ERA and also picked up a clutch two-out save on Sunday as she entered with the bases loaded and didn't allow a run to score against St. John's (NY).

Karwoski's First
Newly hired head coach Jill Karwoski earned her first career win at Quinnipiac with a 5-3 victory over St. John's (NY) on Sunday, March 9. Her team certainly earned the victory as they found themselves down 3-1 after just two innings but rallied for a come-from-behind 5-3 win. Karwoski also made a pressure-packed decision to bring in senior pitcher Katie Alfiere with one out and the bases loaded in the seventh and her senior came through with two consecutive outs that left three Red Storm runners on-base to seal the victory.

Home Run Queen
Undoubtedly the greatest power hitter the Quinnipiac softball program has ever seen, junior catcher Jordan Paolucci became the all-time leader in career home runs for the Bobcats over the weekend. She jacked out a solo home run in the second inning against Maine to pick up her 31st career home run, passing Sarah Collins '06 for first place on the all-time list. Paolucci is currently on pace to slug more than 50 career home runs as she still has over 80 percent of the games this season including another full year in 2015 to add to her already impressive record. 

Power Player
Quinnipiac's junior catcher Jordan Paolucci shook off a tough start to the season where she was batting less than .240 after 24 games and is now all the way up to .333. Paolucci slugged her second grand slam of the season on Saturday against St. Peter's which was the fifth of her career, easily the most of any Bobcat in program history. 

In Steps Jill
Quinnipiac University Director of Athletics and Recreation Jack McDonald announced the hiring of Jill Karwoski as the head coach on Feb. 27, 2014. Karwoski comes to Quinnipiac from Providence College where she served as the assistant coach in 2012-13. Prior to joining Quinnipiac, Karwoski was the head coach at Merrimack College for the 2011-12 season. Before Merrimack, Karwoski spent four years as the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at Boston College, a position she held from 2007 through 2011. She also has head coaching experience at Morehead State University where she manned the helm from 2004 through 2007.

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