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The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Quinnipiac softball aims to end 11-year losing streak by focusing on fundamentals

Courtesy of Quinnipiac Athletics
Sophomore outfielder Mary Fogg was named to the 2024 Preseason All-MAAC Team.

 With a 17-25 record in 2023, Quinnipiac softball extended its program’s losing season streak to 11.

The Bobcats sat at .500 on April 8, 2023, after splitting a doubleheader with Mount St. Mary’s. It seemed like they were headed toward progress, but inconsistent hitting over the next month had the team finishing the last 14 games` with a 3-11 record to place 10th in the MAAC.

This season, MAAC coaches picked Quinnipiac to finish No. 9 in the conference coaches’ poll. One thing that head coach Hillary Smith is focusing on for team growth and postseason contention are the small details.

“Details (are) what we are all about,” Smith said. “We want to make the MAAC tournament … but every day we focus on the fundamentals and the details.”

Despite being projected to finish near the bottom of the conference, the Bobcats have bright spots in the team, like preseason All-MAAC sophomore outfielder Mary Fogg. In her first year, Fogg finished with a .381 batting average, a .420 on-base percentage and swiped nine bases — all team highs.

“Everybody knows a lot about Mary now,” Smith said. “Usually, (sophomores) have something called the sophomore slump, but Mary’s not going to have that.”

Fogg’s .381 batting average is influenced by a unique skill in her arsenal: slap hitting. Slapping — a technique when players chop at incoming pitches rather than swinging — is used to put runners in scoring position.

With teams now keyed in on how to pitch to Fogg, she has been working on new skills to avoid the sophomore slump.

“Mary right now is learning to hit away,” Smith said. “She did good (in the preseason), I think (she) even hit one off the fence in the fall. So we’re excited to see her add that tool.”

Fogg, while coming off an All-MAAC season, knows the start of the season is important for success throughout the year.

“If you can control your start, you can control your finish,” Fogg said. “Having just as strong of a start as we do at the end and keeping that throughout each practice, each game and throughout the whole season.”

Alongside Fogg is a potent one-two punch of junior pitchers Sydney Horan and Jaclyn Gonzalez. Pitching is one of the strengths of this Bobcats team, with Quinnipiac having the MAAC’s second-lowest team ERA (2.89).

“I think our pitchers are a huge strength,” Smith said. “Syd and Jackie have been our workhorses … I’m excited to see them as juniors.”

A sixth year awaits graduate Hannah Davis, who has 121 games under her belt as Quinnipiac’s top catcher. There’s a simple reason why she returned to Hamden.

“Honestly, it’s the girls and the coaches, just the atmosphere I love,” Davis said. “I don’t want to leave. I’m already regretting it like I know (the end of the season is) still months away but there’s always that thought in the back of my mind like, ‘dang this is my last go around.’”

For a coach who is “not the biggest fan of the transfer portal,” Smith brought in two new transfers, sophomore outfielder Noelle Reid (Winthrop) and junior infielder Ella McGalliard (Miami–Ohio).

“You’ll see both of them out there this year,” Smith said.

The Bobcats started their non-conference schedule on Feb. 10, splitting in the Lion Classic with a win against UMass Lowell and a loss to Texas A&M-Commerce. Thanks to a strong all-around performance on Saturday, freshman pitcher/infielder Lauren Hilliard was named the MAAC Rookie of the Week. The Bobcats have a long wait until their next series, a collection of games in Madeira Beach, Florida, against Monmouth, Albany, Southern Indiana, St. Bonaventure and Western Michigan from March 1-3.

Then the Bobcats travel to Norfolk, Virginia, as a part of the Norfolk State Invitational. Quinnipiac will face its first Power Five opponent since 2022 in Syracuse. The Bobcats also have two games against UNLV before finishing off the Invitational against the host school Norfolk State.

The second Power Five school on the Bobcats’ schedule is Boston College on March 17 after a doubleheader against Hampton. Quinnipiac later heads down Whitney Avenue on Apr. 3 to face off against Yale.

“We love playing Yale, it’s always a high-energy game,” Smith said. “It’s very intense for us. They’re right down the street … I feel like it’s just a pride thing.”

In the wake of a challenging 2023 season with a determination to turn the tide, the Bobcats aim to defy expectations. Facing Power Five teams should prepare Quinnipiac for the MAAC season in pursuit of a conference title.

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Ryan Johanson
Ryan Johanson, Associate Sports Editor

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