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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 swept by Niagara, drops out of playoff picture

Nicholas Pestritto
Junior Sydney Horan pitches in a game against Sacred Heart on April 17.

HAMDEN — Quinnipiac softball entered the weekend scorching hot, having won seven of its last nine, but it all went south for the Bobcats as they were swept by Niagara in a three-game series. 

The series began with a pitching duel between junior pitcher Syndey Horan and graduate student pitcher Maddie Hickingbottom. The two arms, allowed just three hits each, but a fielding error by the Bobcats allowed the visitors to escape game one with a 1-0 victory. 

“Sydney pitched amazing,” Quinnipiac head coach Hillary Smith said. “I just wish we had her back a little bit more. We didn’t come out the way we needed to defensively.”

The second matchup of the doubleheader painted a different picture, with the Purple Eagles taking control early and never looking back.

The visitors dominated the Bobcats 11-1, capitalizing on a rough start from junior pitcher Jaclyn Gonzalez. The Carson, California, native struggled with her control, and was replaced after just three innings by freshman pitcher Lauren Hilliard.

Hilliard started off well, but the Purple Eagles’ offense became too much to handle. A bases-clearing double from sophomore outfielder Sophia Marrero capped off a six-run fifth inning 

The Bobcats were unable to score in the bottom half of the inning, so a mercy rule was put into effect with Quinnipiac trailing by 10.

“We were waiting too long to make adjustments,” Smith said. “We weren’t stepping up when we needed to.”

Sunday’s game offered Quinnipiac a chance to salvage the series, but despite a promising start, it dropped the finale 9-4.

The hosts initially took a 3-2 lead in the first inning thanks to a two-run double from graduate student catcher Hannah Davis. 

“I love Hannah,” Smith said. “She’s just been through so much. She was in a really bad car accident and we weren’t even sure if she was going to be able to play again. For her to be able to do this and have the season she’s having… it’s just honestly amazing.”

However, Niagara quickly responded, tying the game in the next inning on a three-run double from junior outfielder Lindsay Mayo. Then, the Purple Eagles went ahead on an RBI base hit from Marrero. 

Quinnipiac did well with getting runners on base, but once again couldn’t capitalize when it mattered most. 

“We need to keep trying to get in situations in practice where they have to step up in pressure situations, that’s what we’re doing tomorrow going into the Fairfield series,” Smith said. “I know that we can do it, we just gotta be able to execute it in the game when it matters most.”

Niagara raked in five more runs to complete the sweep and knock Quinnipiac out of current playoff contention.

“We know we still have a race to make the tournament, that’s really what our mindset has been all year,” Smith said. “It’s just ‘make the MAAC Tournament, make the MAAC tournament, do whatever it takes.”

The Bobcats look to bounce back in their upcoming series against Fairfield. The three-game matchup starts Tuesday in Fairfield. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m. 

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