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Getting in full swing: softball starts conference play
Quinnipiac softball saw its season end in the Northeast Conference finals on May 12 of last year with a 32-18 record. It was the closest it had been to earning a spot in the NCAA tournament in the history of the program.
This year, it sits at 7-19 having just began its conference schedule playing two games so far. With 25 games remaining in the season, the Bobcats are looking to make a strong playoff push.
One of the essential qualities in a pitcher that leads a team to the playoffs is duration. Having pitched 193.1 innings, 56.4 percent of the team’s total innings last season, Heather Schwartzburg gave her team plenty of opportunities. She went 20-6 with 22 complete games and her an impressive 1.52 ERA.
Pitching has been the crutch for Quinnipiac this season. The team leader in ERA and innings is Hannah Lindsley with 4.13 and 59.1, respectively. Overall, the team lets up 5.49, compared to its opponent average of 2.71 runs allowed. Lindsley is only a sophomore and with three freshman pitchers behind her,experience will be a major contributor.
The future is also bright for freshman left fielder Courtney Solt, from Boyertown, Pa. In her first year she has has a team-high .371 average and leads the team in AB (89), hits (33), runs (18), and stolen bases (five). In addition, she is second on the team in OBP with .398 and third in SLG with .449.
A statistic called Runs created per 27 outs (RC/27) measures how many runs a team would score if it consisted of nine clones of the same player. The team averages about four runs each game, but if the team consisted of nine copies of Courtney Solt, the team would score 7.24 runs a game. If this were the case, the team would have at least seven more wins (not counting draws).
Another player having a strong season is junior power hitter Jordan Paolucci. Paolucci sat out the majority of last season after a season-ending injury. This season she has come back and already has six home runs, a triple and 22 RBIs. She also has earned a .579 SLG which is second on the team. Her ability to swing the bat has also led to a team high 18 strikeouts. To ￼make a playoff push, her bat needs to make solid contact, and often.
Last season, Monmouth made it into the NEC tournament with a .500 record. Five NEC teams currently hold a record above that. A high number of conference wins, improved pitching, and continued efficient hitting may earn them a spot.