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Pitcher helps team at plate
Quinnipiac University softball continues to tear a part the NEC. With a doubleheader sweep over rival Sacred Heart (5-20, 2-6 NEC) on Friday Apr. 9, the Bobcats have won six straight conference games.
QU starter Kim Norman pitched a complete game shutout in the 4-0 win. It was not only her arm, but also, her swing that cruised the team down victory lane. Lately, these components have made her a vital reason for the team’s success.
While the ‘Cats (10-13, 7-1 NEC) have allowed only one run in its last four games, Norman is responsible for two of those shutouts. She has pitched three complete games, including a one-hitter, in her last three outings versus St. Francis (NY) and Wagner.
Her victory on Friday was her fifth of the season (5-2). She did allow eight hits and four walks, but also struck out four batters. Of these four, two of them ended potential Sacred Heart scoring threats.
“Hey, what can I say,” shortstop Sarah Collins said, “She pitched an awesome game and kept them on their toes.”
She surrendered two of her eight hits in the first inning. Also, a miscommunication on a pop up between her and catcher Brandi Simon could have extended the inning, but a pick off by Simon on Sacred Heart infielder Leslie Konsig calmed Norman down for the remainder of the game.
She helped out teammates’ sloppy defense in the key moments of the game.
In the fourth inning, a couple of walks by Norman and a miscue between Collins and left fielder Lauren Welch loaded the bases. But, Norman was able to shut down Sacred Heart by forcing a lazy fly ball to first.
In the fifth inning with a runner on second, Norman fielded a groundball and tracked down the runner, resulting in a put out at second base. She denied any thoughts of another Sacred Heart threat by striking out the last batter of the inning.
In the sixth inning, the QU infield was unable to execute plays, which loaded the bases a second time for Sacred Heart. But, Norman shined by forcing another lazy fly ball to right field.
“Some plays were iffy, but it made me want to throw strikes and make close pitches even closer,” Norman said.
Placed fifth in the batting order, Norman helped her cause in the second inning, which set the tone of the game. With runners on second and third, Norman drilled a double into the left-centerfield gap scoring two runs for the ‘Cats. That was all the run support Norman would need.
She would later add another RBI in the fifth inning on a double, this time, into the right-centerfield gap. She finished the game 2-for-3 with 3 RBI’s. “Her three RBIs were key,” Collins said.
This performance is not new to the Bobcats. When the team was in the midst of a terrible losing streak, in which they lost six of seven games, Norman appeased the pain with a strong pitching and batting performance.
“She was going to hit for us,” Head Coach Germaine Fairchild said, “She’s worked hard on hitting.”
At the plate she has contributed with five RBI’s, 11 hits and one homerun.
Back on Mar. 28 versus Mount St. Mary’s, Norman pitched a four-hit complete game shutout, while driving in a run that ultimately won the game for Quinnipiac, 2-0.
“Whenever we have a tough inning on defense or my pitching is bad, I always seem to hit a lot better,” Norman said.