Quinnipiac softball hangs on to beat Wagner 6-5

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Quinnipiac softball hangs on to beat Wagner 6-5

Photo: Emma Robertson

Photo: Emma Robertson

Photo: Emma Robertson

Photo: Emma Robertson

Juliana Nikac

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Along with green grass, warm weather, and leaves on the trees, Quinnipiac University welcomed back something else that signals the beginning of spring—softball in Hamden. The hometown Bobcats (9-14 overall, 0-0 MAAC) welcomed the Wagner College Seahawks (4-11 overall, 0-0 NEC) in the first game of an old-school doubleheader on Saturday, and despite a late surge from the Seahawks in the seventh inning, the Bobcats were able to hang on to a 6-5 win.

Both teams had scoring opportunities early, but some masterful pitching from the Bobcats’ Casey Herzog and the Seahawks’ Morgan Brown kept the game scoreless through one. Herzog, who found herself in the middle of a bases-loaded jam early, navigated her way through the meat of the Seahawks lineup to keep them without a run, and Brown, despite allowing two baserunners, pinned down the third out before anybody could cross the plate.

Both offenses went down quietly in the second inning, but the Seahawks threatened again in the third after a two-out double by catcher Jessica Carlucci. However, Herzog was again able to escape the inning unharmed, keeping the game scoreless into the bottom of the third.

After two and a half scoreless innings, it was the Bobcats who struck first in the third, as an Erin Larsen sacrifice fly saw Megan Dyson cross the plate, giving Quinnipiac the first lead of the game.

The Bobcats weren’t done, however, as the bats were clicking once again in the fourth. Brighid Douglas’s RBI double extended the lead to 2-0, and later in the inning, Douglas was driven on by sophomore Rachel Marchuk, who sent a first-pitch fastball over the left field wall for the first home run of her career.

It was smooth sailing until the sixth inning for Herzog, as the Seahawk bats finally came alive. A soft line drive from Karen Prihoda blooped over the head of Bobcats third baseman Erin Larsen, which drove in two and cut the Quinnipiac lead in half. Wagner wasn’t done, however—a dribbler off the bat of sophomore outfielder Zoe Bender brought home a third Seahawks run, and the Bobcat lead was suddenly just 4-3. With runners on the corners and two outs, Herzog managed to escape the jam, as she forced a comebacker to the mound for the third out.

The Bobcats tacked on two more in the bottom of the sixth, courtesy of Megan Dyson and Emily Czaja, and entered the seventh with a restored three-run lead. Herzog, still in the circle, allowed the first four runners to reach base, capped off with a bases-loaded walk. With the lead being threatened by a golden opportunity for Wagner, Herzog forced a sacrifice fly, a grounder to second, and a soft line drive to preserve the Bobcats’ lead and lock down the win in the first game of the doubleheader.

Hamden will be home for the Bobcats for the immediate future, as they welcome UMass Lowell and Brown for doubleheaders on Sunday, March 25 and Wednesday, March 28, respectively. First pitch against UMass Lowell is set for 12 p.m. on the Quinnipiac Softball Field.