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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Softball splits midweek doubleheader with Sacred Heart

Nicholas Pestritto
Junior third baseman Ella McGalliard awaits a pitch in a game against Sacred Heart on Wednesday.

HAMDEN — Following a road trip where Quinnipiac played some of its best softball in years, the Bobcats returned home and split a non-conference doubleheader with Sacred Heart on Wednesday.

The visitors struck early in game one, touching home three times in the first frame to grab an early 3-0 lead. 

Quinnipiac’s bats were silent for the majority of the contest, its lone run in the 4-1 loss coming in the fourth inning on a sac fly. 

Sophomore pitcher Sam Kowalski threw all seven innings for the Pioneers, striking out five, while allowing just six hits. 

Junior infielder Carly Koltko capped off game one with a no doubt home run in the fifth, putting the Bobcats down three. 

“I thought we played fine in the first game,” Quinnipiac head coach Hillary Smith said. “Sacred Heart did a good job with runners on base. If there’s something we can learn from the first game it’s that we have to be better with runners on base.”

However, in game two, Quinnipiac flipped the script. Its offense exploded for seven runs, defeating Sacred Heart 7-1.

It was the Bobcats who struck first, grabbing a 1-0 lead in the first inning off a sac-fly from junior third baseman Ella McGalliard.

Both starting pitchers settled in from that point. Junior Jaclyn Gonzalez was dominant, throwing 3.1 scoreless innings before being pulled in favor of fellow junior pitcher Sydney Horan.

Horan entered with the game still 1-0, but she quickly got help from her offense in the fourth inning. 

Sophomore second baseman Sofia Vega’s base hit with two runners on doubled the Quinnipiac lead to 2-0. However, that lead was cut to one in the top of the fifth when a passed ball allowed a Pioneer to score from third.

From that point on, it was all Bobcats. Junior designated hitter Taylor Walton slapped a line drive into the gap to bring in a run. Then, Walton came home on a base hit from senior infielder Julia Woeste to give the Bobcats a 4-1 advantage.

“I could probably cry when I talk about Taylor,” Smith said. “She’s been through so much. Honestly, she had an injury this fall where we didn’t know if she was going to be able to play … It’s amazing to see her come back as quickly as she did and to be able to succeed … She deserves the world.”

Junior outfielder Brooke Hilliard put the icing on the cake in the sixth, driving a ball off the wall to put the hosts up 6-1.

As rain started to fall, Quinnipiac tacked on one more run before Horan shut down the Pioneers to finish off the victory. 

With the split, the Bobcats have now won seven of their last nine, including six of seven MAAC games.

“It’s just awesome seeing them play the softball we know they can play,” Smith said. “They love each other and they play for each other. Everybody knows what their job is and everybody is really good at it. Usually we have such a young team, and now we’re older, you’re seeing the girls know what it takes. We have a lot more leaders.”

Quinnipiac looks to keep that momentum going this weekend when it hosts No. 5 Niagara, who sits right above Quinnipiac in the conference standings. The two teams will play a doubleheader on April 20 followed by one game on April 21.

“Niagara is doing really well right now, they’re sitting right there with us in the middle trying to get into the MAAC tournament,” Smith said. “This is a really big weekend, but as long as we keep our energy up, keep the bats alive and play the defense I know we can play, I think we’re going to come out with at least two wins.”

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