Amanda Cannizzo (pictured) drove home the tying and winning runs in the 7th inning as the Golden Griffins overcame a 4-0 Manhattan lead.
The Golden Griffins seemed stunned as they took the field for their first MAAC Championship game against Manhattan Thursday on their home field on the Canisius College campus. Their co-captain and All-MAAC First Team third baseman Paige Freiberger had just been spiked in practice and required 21 stitches in her hand leaving her unavailable to play. This appeared to have an effect on her teammates as they committed 2 errors in the first inning and allowed 3 hits and 4 runs to the Lady Jaspers before even coming up to bat.
Manhattan stormed out of the gate in the top half of the first inning. Kristina Walraven led things off with a single. Monica Evangelista then reached first base after a throwing error by Griffs' pitcher Caroline Main. A walk to Melissa Donnelly followed, loading the bases with no outs. Jaci Rahey drove in the first Manhattan run with a sacrifice fly. Nicole Michel followed that with an RBI single, making the score 2-0. Melissa Donnelly then scored on an error by first baseman Emily Helbig, 3-0. Nicole Michel scored Manhattan's 4th run on a passed ball, and the Lady Jaspers had Canisius in an early hole.
But that was all the offense Manhattan would produce for the rest of the game. The Griffs' comeback began with All-MAAC First Team pitcher Caroline Main, who retired the final 18 Lady Jaspers in order. However, Canisius would not score until the 5th inning. Amanda Cannizzo led off that inning with a walk, and was sacrificed to second base. Lauren Falzone singled her home for the Griffs' first run. Lauren moved to second when Lauren Hope drew a walk, and was sent home by a Michelle Fridey ground rule double that cut the Manhattan lead to 4-2.
Canisius faced do-or-die in the home half of the 7th inning. Katie Medina led off with a single, and was promptly sent home when Michelle Fridey hit her second double of the game. The bases got loaded with one out when Katie Lancellotti was hit in the head with a Melissa Donnelly pitch, and Emily Helbig singled. Amanda Cannizzo then won the game with a looping single to center field.
The Golden Griffins will have to once again play without their co-captain Friday when they meet Iona at 11am EDT in the winner's bracket game. Manhattan will play Niagara immediately following.