Softball loses Game 2 vs. Marist

Michael Hewitt

Marist’s (18-22, 5-7 in MAAC) Rebecca Freeman’s 12th inning game-winning sacrifice fly kept Quinnipiac from a Sunday sweep, as Marist bested Quinnipiac (10-29, 5-9 in MAAC) 3-2, splitting the double-header at the QU Softball Field in Hamden. The Bobcats won the first game 4-2 when Jordan Paolucci hit a walk-off two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning.

It took five hours and thirty-four minutes in total for both extra inning games to take place.

Sydney Robey (3-11) toed the rubber in the second game of the double header, giving Quinnipiac ace Hannah Lindsley (5-12) a rest after pitching seven innings in the Game 1 victory.

The right-hander allowed one run and six hits over 5.2 innings, compiling a pair of strikeouts in the process. However, her performance wasn’t enough.

Given a 1-0 lead as the game entered the sixth, Robey struggled.

She surrendered a leadoff walk, and induced a pair of groundouts. One out away from sweeping Marist, Colleen McWilliams poked a two-out, two-strike pitch through the hole into right field, tying the score 1-1.

Quinnipiac head coach Jill Karwoski said Marist’s hitters had become comfortable facing Robey.

“By that point in the game, they had seen her four times,” she said.  “So, eventually, they start to catch up.”

Karwoski “mixed it up” and called on Casey Herzog.

Herzog answered by striking out Kourtney Paul with runners on the corners to keep the game tied at 1.

Herzog’s struggled in the seventh, though.  With two-outs, Krysten Van Natta connected on a fastball, driving it over the left field wall, giving Marist a 2-1 lead.

Quinnipiac battled back.

With each member of the Bobcats sporting their visors upside down, the attempt for a rally ensued.

After Maria Asher laced a double to center and Nikki Barber worked a one-out walk, Abby Johnson grounded a game-tying single to right field, setting up the stage for Paolucci to be the hero for the second-straight game.

It was a moment of “frustration” for the designated player, who belted a walk off, two-out, two-run homer in game one of the double header. Paolucci was intentionally walked.

“I had my toes on the line trying to reach the outside pitch,” she said. “But, it was also humbling because another team is willing to put you on for free.”

With the bases loaded and one-out, Marist’s Melanie White managed to escape trouble by recording a strikeout of Robey and groundout.

“We have to put the ball in play,” Karwoski said.  “Give the defense a chance to make a mistake and good things might happen for us.

Quinnipiac stranded three runners in the seventh, 11 total for the game.

With the game deadlocked 2-2 in the 12th inning and the go-ahead run on third, Marist’s Rebecca Freeman popped a sacrifice fly to shallow right field.  Second baseman Nikki Barba took charge, calling off Abby Johnson, making an over-the-shoulder grab.

Barba, however, lost all of her momentum on the throw to home plate due to her body positioned toward the outfield. Marist tagged and scored to take a 3-2 lead.

“Typically, you give the right fielder priority,” Karwoski said. “I don’t know what type of communication was out there. I have to give them props. They made a good play.”

White closed down Quinnipiac in the 12th, pitching six shutout innings in total.

Marist head coach Joe Ausanio said White displayed a ‘gamer’ type of performance.

“It was a senior moment for her,” he said. “She was tired, but told me it was her game and shut them down.”

Up next, Quinnipiac plays Sacred Heart (11-24) on Tuesday at 3:30 at home.