Hamden, CT – The Sacred Heart softball team combined with NEC rival Quinnipiac for nine homeruns in a Sunday afternoon double header but the Bobcats earned both victories, 12-7 and 5-4. Liz Tsipouras (Simi Valley, CA), Kate Nadler (Southbury, CT), and Justine Sibthorp (Santa Clarita, CA) all hit long balls for the Pioneers.
Quinnipiac (15-9, 4-2 NEC) got off to a scorching start, hanging up eight runs in the first inning. The Bobcats got on the board with a three-run homer from Alex Alba. However, the damage was just beginning as QU immediately added three straight solo shots from Mina Duffy, Katie Alfiere, and Nikki Barba to make it 6-0 and chase the SHU starter from the contest. The home team added a pair of unearned runs before the opening frame came to an end. Quinnipiac padded the advantage in the second with two more solo homeruns as Barba and Bridget Figmic went deep.
Sacred Heart (10-18, 3-3 NEC) would mount a comeback and that effort began in the top of the third. Annie Dreher (Saugus, CA) started the SHU scoring with a RBI single that plated Nicole Sidor (West Vancouver, BC). Tsipouras cut the deficit to 10-4 with a three-run bomb, her fifth homer of 2012, to drive in both Dreher and Jade Bowins (Frederick, MD). The Pioneers continued the charge in the fourth as Alyssa Garza (Santa Clarita, CA) ripped a RBI double and Dreher came through again, this time with a two-run knock. SHU got the go ahead run to the plate with the bases loaded but QU relief pitcher Alfiere got out of the jam and halted the rally.
Jacquie Ristow gave the Bobcats some breathing room in the fifth, pushing across two markers with a double. The Pioneers would be unable to threaten late and Quinnipiac took game one, 12-7.
The Bobcats were able to put up an early tally in the second game as Duffy made it 1-0 with a RBI single. Sacred Heart was able to solve QU's Heather Schwartzburg, the reigning NEC Pitcher of the Year, in the fourth frame as the Pioneers freshman third baseman delivered a big hit. Nadler launched a three-run homer to straight away center field to give SHU its first lead of the double header, 3-1. But Quinnipiac answered back with four runs in the bottom of the fifth and regained a 5-3 edge on the strength of its own three-run homer from Duffy.
Sacred Heart refused to go quietly as Sibthorp, another freshman, started the top of the seventh with her first collegiate homerun to close the gap to 5-4. Garza and Bowins each recorded singles to put the tying and go ahead runs on the base paths with two outs. Dreher, who leads the Pioneers with 18 RBI in 2012, ended the game with a groundball to first base as QU escaped with a 5-4 win.
The SHU softball team will need to bounce back quickly as they travel to Staten Island, NY to face Wagner tomorrow afternoon in a NEC double header . First pitch is set for 2:30 pm.