Quinnipiac University Bobcats (10-33, 5-11 MAAC)
Niagara University Purple Eagles (16-28, 6-10 MAAC)
Canisius College Golden Griffins (16-28, 6-10 MAAC)
Saturday, May 3, 2014 (QU Softball Field – Hamden, Conn.)
Niagara @ Quinnipiac – 1:00 pm
Niagara @ Quinnipiac – 3:00 pm
Sunday, May 4, 2014 (QU Softball Field – Hamden, Conn.)
Canisius @ Quinnipiac – 12:00 pm
Canisius @ Quinnipiac – 2:00 pm
The Quinnipiac University softball team (10-33, 5-11 MAAC) will conclude its 2014 home slate this weekend with matchups against the Niagara Purple Eagles (16-28, 6-10 MAAC) and the Canisius Golden Griffins (16-28, 6-10 MAAC). Both opponents come in with identical records while each team has something to play for in terms of their postseason chances. Quinnipiac needs to sweep the weekend to have a chance of making the postseason while both Niagara and Canisius are in need of at least three wins if they hope to secure a spot among the six-team MAAC Tournament. The Bobcats will also honor senior Katie Alfiere (Beacon Falls, Conn.) who'll be playing in the final home games of her four-year career.
All-Time Against the Competition
Quinnipiac's two opponents this weekend are both relatively unfamiliar foes as the Bobcats have never before played Canisius and have met Niagara just once in the history of the program. Quinnipiac fell to Niagara 3-1 on Feb. 29, 2008 for their only meeting in the series while Sunday will be the first meeting in the all-time series with the Golden Griffins.
Scouting the Purple Eagles
Niagara (16-28, 6-10 MAAC) has been playing some of their best games throughout the entire 2014 season in the last few weeks as they make a push for a MAAC postseason bid. With four games remaining this season, two against the Bobcats and two against Siena, they need to secure at least three wins to give themselves a chance for a bid in the six-team field. They're coming off a 3-1 weekend in their home finale last weekend as they split against Monmouth and swept Rider. The Purple Eagles are a team built around their pitching staff as senior Jennifer Sansano is one of the best in the conference. Her stat line for the season includes a 10-9 record and 2.30 ERA in 26 appearances (21 starts). Sansano also has posted 17 complete game efforts with three shutouts. She also has compiled 138 strikeouts and a .208 opponent batting average in 149.1 innings. As a team, Niagara allows less than five runs per game so the Bobcat pitching staff will have to do their best to work around the Niagara batting order starting with their leader at the dish in Bridget Hogan. Already the team's best hitting in only her freshman season, Hogan leads the team in batting average (.323), hits (43), doubles (7), home runs (3), RBI (20), slugging percentage (.444), and on-base percentage (.379). In just her debut season with the Purple Eagles, Hogan has already made quite the impact on a lineup that has struggled throughout the season. Batting just .244 as a team and averaging a little over three runs per game, Niagara has turned their season around on the strength of their pitching staff. Amanda Werth (.308, 5 doubles, 9 RBI) is the only other Niagara batter batting over .275 on the season. A key for the Bobcats will be their pitching staff trying to go toe-for-toe with Sansano and for the Bobcat hitters to take advantage of their opportunities with runners in scoring position with opportunities sure to be limited against the Purple Eagle ace.
Scouting the Golden Griffins
Canisius (16-28, 6-10MAAC) started the season off slowly, especially in conference play as they opened their MAAC slate of games with a 1-6 record but they've certainly picked up their play of late with a 5-4 mark in conference action in the nine games since. They were about to pull right into the mix as they hosted Monmouth last weekend in their 2014 home finale but were swept by the Hawks in two heartbreaking losses, 2-0 and 2-1. Those two defeats cost the Golden Griffins a prime opportunity to secure a playoff berth but now they have the odds stacked against them as they need to sweep the four-game weekend, two against Marist and two against the Bobcats, to have a shot at making the postseason. Armed with one of the best and most durable pitchers in the MAAC, Canisius has a chance in every game they play. Senior Jen Consaul has thrown nearly 80 percent of the Golden Griffins' possible innings this season and has been the biggest reason for the sudden improvement in 2014. Consaul enters the weekend with a 15-18 record and 2.51 ERA in 37 appearances (32 starts). Of the Golden Griffins' 44 total games this season, Consaul has appeared in 37 of them which accounts for 84.1 percent of the team's games, far and away the highest percentage in the MAAC. Consaul has compiled 30 complete games with five shutouts to show for her efforts. Her game is not overpowering as evidenced by her 104 strikeouts in 226 innings pitched but she does get the job done as evidenced by her .259 opponent batting average this season. At the dish for Canisius, the Golden Griffins have had the luxury of playing with a lineup that has remained fully healthy throughout the 2014 season. Eight of their nine top hitters have appeared in at least 42 of the team's 44 games this season, headlined by freshman Jessica Berzins. Often found atop the Canisius lineup, Berzins owns the highest batting average (.339) on the team with 24 runs, 9 doubles (team-high), and 8 RBI. With all that said, Berzins has the most advanced batter's eye of anyone in the conference as she leads all MAAC batters with 30 walks this season which boosts her on-base percentage all the way up to .470. Backing Berzins up is Lindsey Silfer who comes in with great all-around numbers including a .331 average, 18 runs, 43 hits, 8 doubles, 2 home runs and 14 RBI. Robin Kennery (.315, 16 runs, 46 hits, 7 doubles, 24 RBI) and Alexis Roman (.303, 15 runs, 37 hits, 6 doubles, 11 RBI) also make up the four Canisius batters who hit over .300 on the season. Their main power threat is Meghan Cuda who comes into the weekend with a team-best 9 home runs and .491 slugging percentage to along with 21 RBI.
Katie Alfiere Career Highlights
The Bobcats' lone senior in 2014 has blossomed into a complete all-around player in the field, at the plate and on the mound in her final year with the Bobcats. In 2014, Alfiere is currently in the midst of a career year as she comes into the weekend with newly established single season career highs in games played (39), doubles (4), runs scored (7), pitching appearances (28), saves (3) and strikeouts (34). She has transformed from just a pitcher who tallied only one at-bat her freshman season into a steady offensive player and reliable presence on the mound. Alfiere leads the team with 28 pitching appearances this season and has established herself as the Bobcats' closer with the most saves (3) in a season for any pitcher not named Heather Schwartzburg in quite some time. A two-time Pitcher of the Week, once in the Northeast Conference as well as Quinnipiac's first ever winner in the MAAC, Alfiere graduates from Quinnipiac as a respected player that improved her all-around game significantly throughout her four-year career.
Career Totals: Batting - .223 average (41-for-184), 19 runs, 8 doubles, 2 home runs, 13 RBI
Pitching – 13-23 record, 86 appearances, 33 starts, 12 complete games, 4 saves, 252 innings, 110 strikeouts, 5.30 ERA
One Away from 100
With just one more base hit, sophomore Courtney Solt will become the 32nd player in Quinnipiac softball history to reach 100 career hits. Solt tallied a single-season program record 66 hits during her debut season as a Bobcat in 2013 and has tallied 33 this season. If she were to reach 100 before the end of the season, she would join the all-time hits leader Alicia Longobardi '97 (219 hits) as the only Bobcats to reach 100 before the start of their junior season.
1st Annual StriKe Out Cancer Game
The Quinnipiac University softball team was forced to cancel their first annual StriKe Out Cancer Game this Wednesday due to pouring rain but the Bobcats will managed to raise $2,405 for the American Cancer Society. Starting with a team goal to raise $2,000, this group of Bobcats combined their efforts to raise an extra $405 over their goal and set a new standard in the coming years.
See the Ball, Hit the Ball
Jordan Paolucci entered Thursday riding her career high and Quinnipiac Division I program record 17-game hitting streak but she had it broken by CCSU and their ace pitcher Laura Messina. During her hitting streak she went through four-game stretch wherein she hit one home run in those four games straight. Paolucci absolutely destroyed the ball in the 17-game stretch as she's batted .543 (25-for-46) with nine runs, six homers, 18 RBI and a monster 1.022 slugging percentage. She also walked seven times and was hit by three pitches to give her a .603 on-base percentage.
Game two of the Bobcats' doubleheader against Marist on Sunday was a thrilled as Quinnipiac came back from a four run deficit in the 7th inning to force extra innings. Both teams played three additional innings before the Red Foxes walked-off with an 8-7 victory in 10 innings. The nightcap was the longest game played for Quinnipiac since their 12-inning thriller against Robert Morris in the 2011 Northeast Conference semifinals as the Bobcats defeated the Colonials 4-3 on May 12.
Moving on Up
Junior infielder Nikki Barba continued to add to her already impressive career resume as she went deep for the 12th time in her career on Saturday against Marist. That home run for Barba placed her into a tie with Katie Allendorfer '10 and Stacey Croft '01 for the 10th-most all-time at Quinnipiac. Already saddled with an 8th place ranking in doubles (25) and 18th all-time in hits (125), Barba deserves recognition as one of the best all-around players in program history.
Sophomore infielder Paige Giunta played the role of hero on Easter Sunday for the Bobcats as she lifted a walk-off double to left center field that scored the game-winning run all the way from first in a 6-5 comeback victory over Monmouth. It was Giunta's second double of the season and first career walk-off hit. Giunta carried that momentum into the non-conference battle with Sacred Heart as she drove in the go-ahead run in a 4-3 win with an RBI double to deep right center field.
Quinnipiac scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh in a 6-5 come-from-behind victory over Monmouth for their second such comeback from a three-run deficit in three weeks. The Bobcats also trailed UConn on April 3 by three runs heading into their last at-bats before plating four to pick up a pair of thrilling comeback victories in the last three weeks.
In a Category All Her Own
Quinnipiac's top hitter this season has been their redshirt junior Jordan Paolucci who comes in with team highs across the board on the offensive end. Her hitting streak was the longest since before the 1999 season as she continues to lead the team in average (.365), home runs (9), RBI (26) and slugging percentage (.661) while her on-base percentage of .449 also leads the team.
Player of the Year Candidate
Normally known for her home run prowess, the Bobcats' all-time leading home run hitter in Paolucci is rounding out her candidacy for MAAC Player of the Year with an outstanding season at the plate. A year after winning the home run crown in the Northeast Conference, Paolucci ranks 3rd in the MAAC in hitting with a .522 average (24-for-46) in 16 MAAC games while she also leads all players in conference-only games in terms of slugging percentage (.935), on-base percentage (.589), hits (24), home runs (5), total bases (43) and is 3rd in RBI (17).
Take Your Base
One of the most improved Bobcats from last season has been sophomore outfielder Abby Johnson who comes into the week with a .316 average, 20 runs scored, four doubles, 11 RBI, 23 walks and nine stolen bases. Manning the Bobcats' leadoff position for a majority of the season, Johnson has excelled drawing walks as she leads the team and is 4th overall in the MAAC with 23 walks. Her walk total through 43 games is already the highest for any Bobcat since Paolucci drew 26 walks in the 2011 season.
Good Things Come in Threes
Junior infielder Nikki Barba has continued to fly under the radar this season as one of the team's strongest all-around players. Shifting over to the shortstop position for the first time in her career this season, Barba ranks 3rd in the MAAC with 29 assists in 16 conference games. She also has been stellar at the plate with the 16th-best average (.325) of any MAAC player while she is 2nd with seven sacrifice bunts and 1st with three sacrifice flies and 10 total sacrifice hits. Barba also went deep on Saturday against Marist to extend a new single-season career high with six home runs in 2014.
Johnson Goes Yard
One of the lone bright spots for the Bobcats in their Sunday doubleheader against Iona was their slight leadoff hitter in sophomore Abby Johnson. Standing only 5'4 tall, Johnson took the Gaels' top pitcher Carly Argyle deep for a two-run shot to left field. The home run was the first for Johnson this season and just the second of her career for Quinnipiac.
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.
Throughout the Bobcats' five-game weekend on the road from April 5-7, 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.
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).
Quinnipiac has enjoyed plenty of offensive success in their first season in the MAAC as they rank 2nd among all 11 teams in home runs with 18 through 16 conference games. They also rank 3rd in the MAAC with 25 doubles and 2nd with 207 total bases. The Bobcats also rank 5th in the conference with 49 walks as a team in conference-only games while they also rank 3rd in slugging percentage (.478), 4th in runs scored (77), 5th in hits (128) and 5th in RBI (68).
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 115 RBI entering the weekend, Paolucci needs just 10 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.
Ever since her move up into the leadoff position in the Bobcats' order, sophomore Abby Johnson has been a revelation with the team's 4th-best average at .356 (26-for-73) with the 2nd-best on-base percentage (.484) as she has also picked up 15 runs, 16 walks, three hit-by-pitches and nine RBI in 26 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.
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 contribute greatly to the success of the Quinnipiac offense through 43 games. Robey has compiled a .280 average (33-for-118) with 15 extra base hits (9 doubles, 6 home runs). She also sports the 5th-best on-base percentage (.366) as she's chipped in 12 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).
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.
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 .365. 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; email@example.com