Tuesday, March 31, 2015

New Coach, Old Results

Canisius coach Kim Griffin has her team off to best MAAC start since '08
Canisius 13
Iona 5

Canisius 8
Iona 4


The Canisius Golden Griffins swept the Iona Gaels in a MAAC doubleheader Monday in New Rochelle, NY.

It was the Iona Gaels who ended the Canisius domination of the MAAC back in 2010, and since that time the Golden Griffins have beaten the Gaels only once...until Monday. Canisius won their first game at Iona since 2009 (their last championship season) with their 13-5 game one win. After Jessica Berzins led off the game with a solo homer, the first of her career, to give the Griffs the early lead, Iona stormed in front 5-1. A two run home run blast by Kristen Turner in the bottom of the first, followed by her two run towering double in the bottom of the third inning, with Bri Schauer's RBI, had Iona firmly in the lead. But the Golden Griffins can explode out of the batter's box at any given time, and did so, scoring the game's final 12 runs. RBIs by Sarah Andrews and Michelle DelPrince pulled the Griffs to within one in the fourth inning. They tied the game in the fifth after Moriah Harris singled home a run; and pulled in front in the sixth, 8-5, with RBIs coming from Robin Kennery and Alexis Roman. They blew the game open with a five run seventh inning, with RBIs coming from Michelle DelPrince, Sam Sharkey, Lindsey Silfer and Moriah Harris. Eight of the nine Canisius batters drove home runs in the game. Freshman Madi Weathers earned her sixth win of the season, shutting out Iona over the game's final four innings while her team rallied.

In game two, Canisius jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead, and never looked back, winning 8-4. They scored six runs before the Gaels even came to bat, with RBIs produced by Sam Sharkey, Lindsey Silfer, Moriah Harris (2) and Meghan Cuda. Sam Sharkey drove home another pair in the second inning, and it was too much for Iona to overcome, although Allie Hand did hit a two run homer. The Griffs' other freshman pitcher, Erika Mackie, picked up her sixth win. First year coach Kim Griffin has her team playing like the Golden Griffins of championship years - I don't think even their best teams ever swept the Fairfield-Iona road trip, traditionally a tough one for Canisius. They are a team to watch in 2015.

Canisius is 4-0 and in first place in the MAAC. The Gaels fell to 2-2.

Manhattan Sweeps Siena

Meredith Bryant tied game one late with one swing of her bat then scored the winner
Manhattan 4
Siena 3

Manhattan 3
Siena 1


Game One Box
Game Two Box

The Manhattan Lady Jaspers swept the Siena Saints in a MAAC doubleheader Monday in Riverdale, New York.

This MAAC series featured two teams that have put up big offensive numbers. Manhattan, led by Elena Bowman, have been pounding the ball all season. Siena has been on a two week tear, and scored 20 runs in one game just the day before. So what we got was a lot of good pitching and low scoring games! In fact, game one went to the sixth inning without a run being scored. It was Siena that broke the tie in the top of the sixth when they scored three runs, all of them unearned. The big hit was a two out, two RBI single by Lauren Milligan. Unfortunately, she was hurt on the play, and may be out for a while. Manhattan responded in the bottom of the same inning, with Meredith Bryant driving home two runs; the tying run also scored on the play after a Siena error. The game was decided in controversial fashion when the umpire ruled that Siena relief pitcher Amanda Gatt threw an illegal pitch, sending Emily Bryant walking home with the winning run. Amy Bright got the win, striking out eight. Lauren Butts took the loss, but pitched well, striking out nine.

In game two, Manhattan took a first inning 1-0 lead thanks to Jenn Vazquez's ground rule double. A sacrifice fly RBI off the bat of Alyssa Lancaster tied the game for Siena in the top of the third inning. But the Lady Jaspers took the lead for good in the bottom of the same inning, with RBIs from Amanda Paxson and Jenn Vazquez once more. Briana Matazinsky picked up the win, with Amy Bright getting the save. Amanda Gatt suffered the loss.

Manhattan is 2-2 in the MAAC; Siena fell to 2-2.

Marist Beats Snow To Sweep Rider

Janine Lalli ended game two in walk off fashion
Marist 3
Rider 0

Marist 5
Rider 1


The Marist Red Foxes swept the Rider Broncs in a MAAC doubleheader Monday in Poughkeepsie, New York.

The mighty Hudson River hasn't frozen this winter, but Gartland Field which sits right next door nearly was. The Red Foxes spent time last week clearing their home park of snow, not an easy task, and were chagrined to wake up Monday to find a fresh coating covering it. But old man winter is taking his last breaths, and it melted just in time for this MAAC series! Marist got a solid performance from sophomore pitcher Jayne Oberdorf in game one. She scattered four Rider hits in a complete game shutout. Marist took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning thanks to Janine Lalli's RBI single, then extended the lead to 3-0 in the next inning with a Gabrielle Kelliher home run and Sam Reilly RBI single. Delany DeMello pitched another good game for the Broncs, but took the loss.

Game two saw Rider pitcher Megan McDonough flirting with a no-hitter for four innings plus as she was frustrating the Red Foxes. She herself gave the Broncs a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning when she drove home Dana Sensi, who had doubled. But Marist would scratch home a run in the bottom of the sixth inning, with Kyrsten Van Natta's sacrifice fly RBI, setting the stage for seventh inning dramatics. In that seventh, the Red Foxes loaded the bases with hits by Becca Freeman and Sam Reilly, along with Brittany Colombo getting HBP. Up stepped senior Janine Lalli, who is among the MAAC's RBI leaders, and she clobbered a pitch over the center field fence for the walk off win. And that officially put an end to this winter as far as I'm concerned! Melanie White got the win for the Red Foxes.

Marist is 2-0 in the MAAC; Rider fell to 1-3.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Iona Sweeps Purple Eagles

Another big homer for Kristen "Grand Slam" Turner
Iona 2
Niagara 0

Iona 6
Niagara 4 (9)


The Iona Gaels swept the Niagara Purple Eagles in a MAAC doubleheader Sunday in New Rochelle, New York.

Christine Costello started in the circle in game one for Iona, and after two years of nagging injuries, the redshirt sophomore has finally gotten the opportunity to get in the pitching rotation for the Gaels. She's been making the most of it, sporting a 2.23 ERA this season. She pitched a complete game shutout Sunday vs. Niagara, allowing just two hits. In fact, she pitched a no hitter through the game's first five innings, and finished with ten strikeouts.. Her team would get her all the support she would need in the fourth inning when Bri Schauer and Brianna King drove home runs. Sydney Myers pitched well for Niagara, but took the loss.

Game two was more of a back and forth affair. Niagara took a 1-0 first inning lead when Amanda Werth drove home a run. Iona jumped in front 3-1 in the second inning. Christine Costello can also bat, and she singled a run home in the inning. Ashlyn Morris' two run double then gave the Gaels the lead. But the Purps fought back, getting an unearned run and another RBI from the bat of Amanda Werth in the third. A wild pitch, scoring Bri Schauer, gave Iona the lead back in the fifth inning. Niagara though sent the game to extras thanks to Katie Gruarin's seventh inning RBI double. Both teams had numerous chances to win the game in extra innings, but it was Kristen Turner in the bottom of the ninth who ended it when she clubbed a two run homer for the 6-4 Iona win. Sarah McMahaon got the win for the Gaels with 2.2 innings of solid relief.

Iona is 2-0 in the MAAC, and will host Canisius on Monday. Niagara fell to 1-3.


Canisius Sweeps Fairfield On Neutral Ground

Robin Kennery drove home four runs, including each game's winner
Canisius 7
Fairfield 6

Canisius 4
Fairfield 1


The Canisius Golden Griffins swept a MAAC doubleheader from the Fairfield Stags Sunday in Shirley, New York on the campus of Dowling College. Fairfield's field was not ready for play.

The first four innings of game one went all Fairfield's way. The Stags took a 2-0 lead in the third inning when Sammy Ruffolo and Sam Frungillo both singled home runs. In the meantime, Fairfield starter Lauren Falkanger was no hitting Canisius through the game's first four innings. But the Griffs' explosive offense would come alive in the fifth inning with three runs on five hits. A two run double by Moriah Harris and an RBI single by Sarah Andrews gave Canisius the lead. The Golden Griffins then tacked another four runs onto that lead in the top of the seventh inning. RBI singles by Meghan "Barra" Cuda and Sam Sharkey, plus a two run double by Robin Kennery seemed to give Canisius a comfortable lead. But Fairfield would storm back in the bottom of the same inning with four runs. Pinch hitter Kate Robinson got the rally going with a solo homer. Sammy Ruffolo then singled to cut the Canisius lead to 7-4. A two run single by Sam Frugillo made it 7-6, and chased Griff starter Madi Weathers from the game. But Erika Mackie got the final out, and Canisius held on for the 7-6 win. Madi earned the win; Erika the save.

In game two, Canisius jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third inning thanks to Robin Kennery's two RBI single. They extended their lead to 3-0 in the fourth inning when Lindsey Silfer blasted a pitch over the right field fence. Fairfield got one back in the bottom of the same inning when Nicole Capra singled home a run, but that was as close as they would get. Canisius starter Erika Mackie shut the door on the Stags the rest of the way for her fifth win of the season. Her team added an unearned run in the fifth inning for a 4-1 win.

Canisius is 2-0 in the MAAC, and will play at Iona on Monday. Fairfield fell to 1-3.

Rider And Monmouth Split MAAC Series

Another impressive performance by Rider's Delany DeMello
Rider 3
Monmouth 1

Monmouth 12
Rider 9


The Monmouth Hawks and Rider Broncs split a MAAC doubleheader Sunday in Lawrenceville, NY.

This conference twinbill featured two different kinds of games. Game one favored the pitchers. Monmouth took a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning thanks to an RBI double by Ashalynn Umiamaka, who has been playing very well as of late. She's a junior transfer, new to the Hawks. But after this inning, Rider starting pitcher Delany Demello pretty much shut the door on Monmouth, allowing only two hits the rest of the way. Still, the Hawks held the slim lead until the sixth inning as their starter, Sydney Underhill, was pitching a fine game herself. She allowed only three hits in the game. But the Broncs mounted a comeback in that sixth inning, with a pair of MU errors aiding their cause. An RBI single by Gina McCool tied the game. Then Ally Breeden's two out, two run single sent home the winner. None of the runs were earned. Final was Rider on top, 3-1.

Game two evolved into a slugfest. Emily Cottrell's RBI single gave the Broncs a 1-0 first inning lead, but Monmouth would score the game's next six runs. In fact, they would score in each of the final five innings. Four Hawks drove home runs in the third inning: Jill Freese, Chloe Howerth, Ashalynn Umiamaka and Justene Reyes.  Jill Freese came right back in the next inning with a two run home run blast. The game looked to be getting out of reach when Rider staged a rally in the bottom of the fourth inning, pulling to within 6-5. Ally Breeden's two run homer, and Dana Sensi's two run double made the game close once more. But Monmouth would score the game's next four runs to regain their five run lead. Rachel Shotzbarger drove home a run in the fifth inning; in the next inning Justene Reyes drove one home and RaeLynn Galindo drove home two more. It seemed their lead was safe, but Rider's Emily Cottrell blasted a grand slam home run in the bottom of the sixth inning cutting the MU lead to 10-9. Emily had five RBIs in the game. The Hawks were relentless though, scoring another three runs in the top of the seventh to seal a 12-9 win, with Emma Hill and Chloe Howerth earning RBIs.

Monmouth and Rider are both 1-1 in the MAAC. Rider will play at Marist on Monday.

Siena's Offense Explodes in Sweep

Freshman Paige Hess is making bid for MAAC Rookie Of Year
Siena 20 (!)
St. Peter's 11 (5)

Siena 6
St. Peter's 3


The Siena Saints swept the St. Peter's Peacocks in a MAAC doubleheader Sunday in Jersey City, New Jersey, reaching 20 runs in a game for the first time in over ten years.

The first game of this series was one of the oddest MAAC games in recent history. The Saints put up an amazing 20 runs in this five inning game, but at one point the Peacocks made a six run rally to close to within 12-11! Siena pounded out 19 hits, led by freshman infielder Paige Hess who hit 4 for 5 with two homers, a double and seven RBIs. Paige is batting .385 this season. Senior Abby Carpenter had a huge day, with a homer and six RBIs. Paige Lloyd drove home three runs herself. For St. Peter's, Nicole Olmedo hit a home run and two doubles. Lee Harrison hit her second three run homer in as many games, which put her team back in the game, if only for a bit. Siena proved that their prodigious output of last week was no fluke.

The Saints won game two 6-3, but in a way it was anticlimactic after the earlier fireworks. Siena scored "only" six runs on "only" eight hits. Alyssa Lancaster seemed recovered from a nagging injury, smashing a two run double. Amanda Gatt cruised through six innings of two hit shutout pitching until the Peacocks scored three times in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Siena is 2-2 in the MAAC, and will play at Manhattan on Monday. St. Peter's fell to 0-4.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Quinnipiac Sweeps Saint Peter's

Reigning MAAC Player of the Week Hannah Lindsley had another big day
Quinnipiac 13
St. Peter's 4 (6)

Quinnipiac 12
St. Peter's 4 (6)


The Quinnipiac Bobcats swept the St. Peter's Peacocks in a MAAC doubleheader on a chilly Saturday afternoon in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Quinnipiac was designated home team in this conference series although played on the Peacocks' home field due to their own field being not suitable for play. But it didn't seem to matter to the Bobcats where these games were played as they unleashed a torrent of offense. Game one did start well for St. Peter's, with a Samantha Storms RBI giving them a first inning 1-0 lead. The Bobcats however would surge to a 4-1 lead in the third inning, thanks to RBIs coming off the bats of Molly Jarrett, Abby Johnson, Nikki Barba and Keilani Finley. QU increased their lead to 5-1 in the next inning when Molly Jarrett's suicide squeeze bunt scored a run. The Peacocks got themselves back in the game in the top of the fifth inning when Nicole Feoli and Samantha Storms drove home runs, but the comeback would be short lived. Quinnipiac would go on to score eight runs in the final two innings, helped along by a string of SPU errors. The final game ending blow came off the bat of Hannah Lindsley when she hit a three run home run in the sixth inning for a 13-4 run rule win. Hannah drove home five runs in the game, and was the winning pitcher. Nikki Barba had three hits for the Bobcats. Crystal Carlucci took the loss for St. Peter's.

Game two saw Quinnipiac storm to a 7-0 lead through four innings. The Bobcats scored three runs on bases loaded walks, and another after an error. St. Peter's could not recover from this, although Lee Harrison did launch a pinch hit three run homer over the center field fence in the sixth inning. QU scored a dozen runs on ten hits, helped along by three SPU errors and nine walks. Dani Edmands hit 3 for 5 and ended the game early when she blasted a two run double in the bottom of the sixth inning. Casey Herzog hit her first career home run for the Bobcats. Nicole Olmedo hit 4 for 4 for St. Peter's. Sydney Robey earned the win; Tori Feorenzo suffered the loss.

Quinnipiac is now 2-0 in the MAAC; St. Peter's 0-2. The Peacocks will host Siena in a conference doubleheader on Sunday, and this time they will be the home team.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Fairfield And Niagara Split MAAC Opener

Niagara's Des Maldonado had a big day Friday
Fairfield 8
Niagara 2

Niagara 7
Fairfield 1


The Niagara Purple Eagles and Fairfield Stags split the opening doubleheader of MAAC conference play Friday in Shirley, NY.

Shirley, NY?
Yes, this MAAC doubleheader was played on neutral ground due to Fairfield's field not being quite ready for use. But the Stags rolled to victory in game one anyway. It was Niagara who got the scoring started though when Desarae Maldonado drove home Taylor Moody, who had doubled. But a big four run third inning gave Fairfield momentum they would not lose. Two run singles by both Sammy Ruffolo and Sam Frungillo spearheaded the Stags' four hit inning. An RBI single by Lauren Filicia in the fourth inning, with an unearned run, and a two RBI double by Shelby Buttwell in the sixth inning added up to an 8-2 Fairfield win. Sammy Ruffolo had three hits in the game for Fairfield. The Stags used all three of their starting pitchers, with freshman Destinee Pallotto getting the win. Sydney Smyers took the loss for Niagara.

Niagara entered game two having lost their first 19 games of the season, but it would not extend to 20 games as they won impressively 7-1. Desarae Maldonado set the tone with a two run homer in the fourth inning, giving the Purple Eagles a lead they would not relinquish. Fairfield had a good chance to score in the bottom of the fourth inning, but Niagara ended that threat with a double play which included Tori Reed getting thrown out at home. Tori was 3 for 3 in the game. The score remained 2-0 through six innings, with Niagara junior transfer Taylor Greiger shutting down the Stag offense. Niagara was hoping for an insurance run in the top of the seventh inning, but got five of them instead. An RBI single by Taylor Moody, and two doubles, one by Chanelle Ward, the other by Desarae Maldonado scored the runs. Desarae was 4 for 4 in the game; and finished the day with six hits and four RBIs. Taylor Greiger earned her first division one win, while Lauren Falkanger suffered the loss for Fairfield.

Fairfield is 1-1 in the MAAC. They will play Canisius on Sunday at the same neutral site. Niagara is also 1-1 in the MAAC; they will be at Iona Sunday.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Conference Play To Begin This Weekend

Marist players taking course in snow removal!
*UPDATE 2*
Monmouth at Rider moved to Sunday. Rider at Marist moved to Monday. Siena at Manhattan moved to Monday.

*UPDATE*
The Canisius at Iona MAAC doubleheader scheduled for Saturday will now be played on Monday.

The MAAC is scheduled to open it's conference season on Saturday, but the harsh winter of '15 is going to make it difficult.

The Fairfield Stags, who will be hosting Niagara and Canisius, will not be able to play on their own field. They realized this earlier in the week, and made alternate plans. The games will now be played at Dowling College in Shirley, NY, on that school's artificial field.

The Iona Gaels are also scheduled to host Niagara and Canisius. However, they were forced to cancel a non conference game this week due to their field not being ready for play. No word on the status of those games.

Marist will host Rider on Sunday. As you can see in the above photo, taken on Wednesday, they are scrambling to clean their field of all the snow.

The Qinnipiac vs. St. Peter's doubleheader, scheduled to be played at QU will now be played at St. Peter's.

Rider will host Monmouth on Saturday; no word yet on the condition of their field.

Manhattan of course has an artificial field, and has already played a number of home games, the only MAAC team yet to do so. They host Siena on Saturday.

The forecast for Saturday calls for generally cold temperatures in the area the games are scheduled to be played...in the upper 30s. Sunday (and Monday) looks more promising. The MAAC has a reputation for getting all their conference games played; this season may be their biggest challenge yet!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Big Weekend For Amy Bright

All the talk about the Manhattan softball team has been centered around their powerful offense, led by Elena Bowman, but senior starting pitcher Amy Bright tossed a couple of gems this weekend. And in doing so, she has strengthened the Lady Jaspers' championship aspirations.

Amy Bright pitched two shutouts this weekend, one an extra innings game, and remarkably walked not a single batter in doing so. On Saturday she beat Santa Clara 2-0 in eight innings, on their own field. She scattered five hits, keeping her team in the game until they got the winning run in extras, which was provided by a Meredith Bryant RBI double. On Sunday, she shutdown Brown 8-0, allowing only four hits while maintaining perfect control. Amanda Paxson, the LJs "other great hitter", was 2 for 3 with a pair of RBIs. Emily Cutler also drove home two runs.

Manhattan will again play Santa Clara on Sunday before heading home.

Saints Storm Their Way Into Win Column

Siena 10
Norfolk St. 3

Siena 9
Norfolk St. 2


The Siena Saints swept a doubleheader over the Norfolk St. Spartans in Norfolk, VA Saturday, pounding out 19 runs and 28 hits in the process.

Through their first eleven games, it seemed like the Siena Saints had forgotten how to win. They had plenty of chances; but they could never quite close. On Saturday, they started hitting and decided it would be a good idea not to stop until the final out was recorded. They fell behind early in game one, 1-0 in the first inning, but from then on they powered ahead and never looked back. Senior Paige Lloyd led the way with two home run blasts. Abby Carpenter also hit one out of Norfolk's nice ball park, and drove home four runs. Sammy Smaldone joined the party with a homer of her own, plus a double and three RBIs. The Saints had 13 hits in the game; Paige and Stephanie Viggiano with three apiece. Lauren Butts earned her first collegiate victory with a seven strikeout performance in the 10-3 win.

Game two saw the Saints jump to a quick 4-0 lead. This time it was a 15 hit onslaught. Sammy Smaldone had another big performance at the plate, driving home another three runs. Paige Lloyd had another three hit game, to raise her season's average to over .400. Melanie Kalesse had three hits, and scored as many times. Abby Carpenter drove home two runs, giving her six RBIs for the day. Stephanie Viggiano also drove home a pair of runs. One gets the feeling that the Saints have seen the light for 2015 - keep the offense cranking no matter the score. The final in this one was 9-2, with Amanda Gatt earning her first win in a Siena uniform behind six strikeouts.

The two teams will play another game in Norfolk on Sunday.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Rider On The Rise

Senior Gina McCool off to best start in her career
The Rider Broncs won two of three games this weekend in Greensboro, NC, getting great hitting and pitching.

Rider, who in the past few seasons has started quite slow out of the gate, is having a different kind of season in 2015. The 4-4 Broncs are playing very good softball, and seem to be approaching each new game with a growing confidence. A good example of this was their Saturday game vs. Norfolk St, which saw them fall behind early 4-0. In the past they may have struggled with this situation, but they remained calm until they produced a six run fifth inning to storm in front, and stay there. The veterans of the team came through, with Amanda Irving tripling and Gina McCool doubling in the frame. Amanda Crimarco, Monica Clark and Delany DeMello also drove home runs in the inning. More importantly, pitcher Kaitlyn Kallert made it all count by shutting the door the rest of the way, and earning her second win of the season.

The Broncs' other two starting pitchers are also playing key roles. Megan McDonough sports a 1.62 ERA; Delany DeMello isn't far behind with an ERA of 1.87. Rider hasn't seen this kind of pitching since Rachael Matreale graduated.

Rider pounded out 11 hits in their 8-1 win over Norfolk St. on Sunday. Veteran Dana Sensi led the way, with a home run and four RBIs. Gina McCool, hitting .520 on the season, was 4 for 4 with three RBIs. Delany DeMello never gave Norfolk a chance to get in the game. The one game Rider did lose was a very close affair in which they got good pitching, 2-1 to Drexel. So they've been very competitive. The Broncs will stay in the south and play a doubleheader Tuesday at Elon before participating in Liberty's tournament next weekend.

Bowman's Bombers

Elena Bowman is off to a scorching start
Manhattan 15
Mount St. Mary's 6 (5)

Manhattan 8
Morgan St. 0 (6)


The Manhattan Lady Jaspers made quick work of two opponents at Gaelic Park in Riverdale, NY Sunday, and bruised up a bunch of softballs in the process.

Going into this weekend's games, Manhattan's Elena Bowman led the nation in hitting and on base percentage. She continued her torrid streak Sunday, hitting three home runs while driving home seven runs. And this was in two run rule shortened games! Three more homers will give her the all-time Manhattan career record.

But it's not just Elena Bowman doing all the hitting for Manhattan. How about seven RBIs for Mickayla Romero? She blasted a grand slam home run that helped Manhattan erase a 6-1 deficit vs. Mount St. Mary's, on the way to a blowout win.

You want to intentionally walk Elena? Well, batting right after her is Jenn Vazquez who hit a home run and drove home five runs herself. Amanda Paxson is hitting a blistering .474. The Lady Jaspers are hitting the ball well to say the least, producing 22 hits in the two abbreviated games.

On the pitching side, freshman Briana Matazinsky won her first collegiate game with a three hit shutout vs. Morgan St. Manhattan will play a doubleheader Monday vs. Mount St. Mary's at Gaelic Park.

Bobcats Finish Trip With Big Win

Hannah Lindsley led the QU offense
Quinnipiac 9
Colgate 1 (5)


The Quinnipiac Bobcats mercy ruled Colgate Sunday in Tampa, Florida on the final day of the Michelle Smith Spring Tournament.

The Bobcats stormed out of the gate in this game, and never looked back, taking a 4-0 lead in the first inning. Taking advantage of a couple Colgate errors, QU's first six batters reached base. RBIs by Hannah Lindsley, Keilani Finley and Miranda Magana gave the Bobcats the quick lead. Miranda drove home another run in the second inning; Dani Edmands drove home one herself, and Quinnipiac was up 6-0. A third inning single by Nikki Barba made the score 8-0. Colgate could only get a fifth inning unearned run off of QU starting pitcher Sydney Robey, who struck out six. Quinnipiac got that back in the bottom of the same inning to end this one early, courtesy of another Hannah Lindsley hit. Hannah finished the game 3 for 4 with two RBIs.

Quinnipiac will play in Liberty's tournament this coming weekend.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Griffs' Freshmen Pitchers Shine

Canisius pitchers Madi Weathers (right) and Erika Mackie (center) with fellow frosh Moriah Harris
There's a new coach at Canisius and two new pitchers, but the team is beginning to resemble the old Golden Griffins. That may not be very surprising, considering that Head Coach Kim Griffin was a protege of Mike Rappl. Canisius is using great pitching and speed as in the "old days"; their recent play makes them look like a contender in the MAAC.

The Griffs got great pitching wins from each of their freshmen. First it was lefty Erika Mackie on Friday, delivering a one hit gem vs. Towson, which resulted in a 1-0 win. Taylor Decker scored the game's only run, unearned in the second, and Erika shut the door the rest of the way.

On Saturday, the Griffs' other freshman pitcher, Madi Weathers, faced off against UMass and turned in a brilliant performance resulting in a 2-1 Canisius win. UMass scored a run in the first inning on a sacrifice fly, but could not get across home plate the rest of the game. Madi was in perfect control; UMass got only one runner to third base in the final six innings, and were retired in order in three of those innings. Canisius tied the game quickly in the top of the second inning when Sam Sharkey continued her hot streak by tripling home Alexis Roman, who had singled. Canisius entered this weekend second in the nation in triples per game, like the "old days". Lindsey Silfer drove home the winner in the fifth inning. The Griffs had nine hits in the game. Jessica Berzins had two of them, as she did in each of the four weekend games; she's hitting .415 this season.

Both freshman pitchers have lost a game this weekend, but both performed well enough for their team to win. Canisius lost to W. Michigan (4-3); and N. Illinois (2-0). The Griffs continue at the USF tournament Sunday with a game vs. Hartford, then stay in Florida for a series of games over the next week.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

This Weekend In The MAAC

Manhattan's Stephanie Reinhardt had a 5 RBI game this weekend
With the weather issues beginning to fade away, this weekend was the busiest for MAAC softball this season; and after a slow start, the MAAC piled up some wins.

Monmouth opened their 2015 season, and promptly moved to the top of the standings after a successful weekend of games. After beginning Saturday with a 6-2 loss to Morehead St., the Hawks got their game together with a win over MAAC rival Fairfield (which was a non conference match). Raelynn Galindo, who had an excellent tournament, drove home two runs; freshman Chloe Howerth drove home the other in the 3-2 win. Another freshman, pitcher Amanda Riley, earned her first collegiate win with five solid innings in the circle. On Sunday, the Hawks embarrassed host Campbell on their own field, mercy ruling them by a score of 13-4. Monmouth pounded out 13 hits in this one, scoring 11 runs in the final three frames. Emma Hill had a big game, with a triple and three RBIs. Rachel Shotzbarger hit 3 for 5, with two doubles and as many RBIs. Breanna Sniffen picked up the circle win with two innings of shutout pitching. Monmouth finishes their opening weekend with a record of 2-1.

Manhattan finally got their season going, and their bats were mostly hot, scoring 26 runs over the weekend. The Lady Jaspers began Saturday with a 9-5 loss to Binghamton, despite Jenn Vazquez's three run home run. They came back strong however, beating Hartford 6-2 in their second game of the day. Danielle Gabriel got her first win of the season, throwing six shutout innings before surrendering two runs in the seventh with her team up 6-0. Mickayla Romero, Elena Bowman, Amanda Paxson and Sydney Weedon all collected two hits in the game.

On Sunday, Manhattan began the day by crushing Hartford 15-8. They actually had fallen behind early in this one before scoring the game's final 11 runs. Stephanie Reinhardt had a fabulous game, with a double, triple and five RBIs. Andi Stallard blasted a grand slam home run in the third inning that put the Lady Jaspers in the lead for good. Freshman Briana Matazinsky drove home a pair of runs. Manhattan finished the weekend at 2-2 after falling to Binghamton.

After losing their first five games of the season, the Iona Gaels finally got into the win column with a very good effort in a 4-1 win over Charleston Southern, who hosted the tournament the Gaels got into at the last minute. Freshman Jessica Harkness pitched a complete game gem to earn her first collegiate win, scattering six hits. She didn't give up a run until the seventh inning with the contest all but decided. Sarah Schutz had a big game for the Gaels, with a double and a three run home run that came in the top of the seventh inning to seal the game. Kelsey Long also drove home a run in that inning.

Quinnipiac had their struggles at Florida Gulf Coast's tournament, losing five games, but they did come up with a big win over Boston University on Sunday. Another MAAC freshman pitcher earned her first win when the Bobcats' Casey Herzog threw a complete game in a 2-1 win. She struck out six batters, while scattering six hits in the performance. QU got both their runs in the 6th inning, breaking a scoreless tie. RBIs by Dani Edmands and Molly Jarrett providing the margin of victory.

Fairfield went 0-3 this weekend, but they could have won any of their games. All the losses were by one run. The good news for the Stags is that despite losing their two regular pitchers to graduation after last season, their pitching looks just fine for 2015. In fact, for opening weekend, all their pitchers did very well. The Stags never seem to have poor pitching. Fairfield lost to Campbell (2-1); Monmouth (3-2); and Morehead St. (5-4).

Rider had a successful opening of their season, going 2-3 on the weekend. On Saturday the Broncs got their feet wet with a grueling tripleheader. They dropped their first two games, including a close 3-2 loss to Binghamton. Delaney DeMello kept the Broncs close; she had a very good opening weekend in the circle. Rider finished Saturday with a very strong performance in a 9-3 win over Hartford. The Broncs got good pitching in this game also, with Megan McDonough who allowed just one earned run. At the plate, Rider pounded out 11 hits, led by Dana Sensi who drove home three runs. Gina McCool hit 3 for 4; freshman Toni Nino had two RBIs. Kim Valdes and Amanda Crimarco also drove home runs.

On Sunday, the Broncs suffered a setback, losing to Binghamton 20-2 (!) in their opening game. But they shook off that loss, closing the weekend with a hard fought nine inning 7-6 win over Hartford. The Broncs came from behind twice in extras, with a two run single by Gina McCool providing the winner in the bottom of the ninth inning. Kim Valdes had a great game, hitting 4 for 5, including two doubles. Emily Cottrell drove home a pair of runs, Amanda Irving hit a home run. Kaitlyn Kallert got the win, allowing just three earned runs in the contest.

There will be MAAC games every day this work week, with St. Peter's, Niagara and Quinnipiac all playing in Florida.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Winter vs. The MAAC

Unidentified MAAC player taking a break during practice
I really hate to keep talking about the weather, but so far this MAAC season it's been the major story. The college softball season is a month in, yet there are still five MAAC teams as of this writing yet to play a single game.

Here are the updates and revisions:

St. Peter's has had their opening tournament cancelled.

Iona had yet another cancellation (third or fourth? I've lost count). They have again scrambled to play, and will be at Charleston Southern's tournament this weekend.

Rider was set to play in Florida, at the Rebel Games, after a few cancellations, but a snowstorm in New Jersey shut down the airports. They have arranged with Manhattan, who also saw yet another cancellation, to play in an impromptu tournament on the same fields that Canisius played on last week in Myrtle Beach when they had a cancellation.

Fairfield and Monmouth were both set to open their seasons (after cancellations) at Campbell University's tournament. But the temps were forecast to drop a whopping 50 degrees in Buies Creek, NC! So, the Friday games of that tournament were out of the question. However, with no precipitation, they will be able to play down there Saturday and Sunday.

Quinnipiac is in sunny Florida, where they will play in a tournament hosted by Florida Gulf Coast.

The good news in this much delayed season is that the weather pattern over the eastern United States is forecast to change dramatically for the better next week. And then I will never write about the weather again!