Manhattan and Niagara both opened their MAAC seasons by splitting a doubleheader Saturday in Niagara Falls, NY.
2 big RBIs for Nicole Michel
The Lady Jaspers opened game one of this MAAC doubleheader in strong fashion. Niagara starter Julie DiMatteo had just retired the first 2 LJ batters when Manhattan struck for 4 consecutive hits. Jaci Rahey began the onslaught with a single to center field, advancing to 2nd base on an error by Kristin Sito. The next batter, Nicole Michel, singled her home for a 1-0 lead. Katie Bowen then singled to put 2 runners on for Jen Keller. Jen singled to right field for an apparent RBI, but Alexis Wayne threw Nicole Michel out at the plate to limit the damage. Alexis did the same thing in the Manhattan 5th, this time getting Jaci Rahey at the plate; the LJs still clung to a 1-0 lead. Niagara tied the game up in the bottom of the 4th inning when Kristin Sito led off with a triple to center field and was sent home by a Teresa Healy single. The LJs got the lead right back in the 5th inning however when Katie Bowen earned a 2 out RBI due to an error by shortstop Maggie McDonald. It was 1 of 4 errors committed by the Purple Eagles in this game. Manhattan committed a pair of errors themselves in the bottom of the inning that led to Niagara tying the game back up. Sarah Anthon scored after errors by Jocelin Whitmore and Jen Keller, and it was 2-2. Two of Manhattan's big guns stepped up to win the game in the 7th inning. A one out Jaci Rahey double brought up Nicole Michel, who hit a shot down the left field line for 2 bases sending Jaci home with the winning run. Erika Sullivan picked up the win, holding the powerful Niagara attack to 6 hits, while walking only one batter, as is her fashion; Julie DiMatteo took the loss.
2 HRs, 6 RBIs for Becky Zill
The second game saw Niagara explode offensively, which they are wont to do at any given time. The Purple Eagles scored 4 times in the 1st inning, thanks to a 2 run Becky Zill homer, and RBIs by Kayla Hines and Alexis Wayne. Manhattan halved the Niagara lead with 2 runs in the 3rd; Melissa Donnelly and Nicole Michel both hit RBI doubles. Then Niagara let it loose, scoring 9 runs in the bottom of the 3rd. Becky Zill began the inning by striking out, but would be heard from later. Consecutive homers by Jen Hare and Kayla Hines then gave the Purple Eagles a 6-2 lead. Alexis Wayne, Sarah Anthon and Gabrielle Lustrinelli hit consecutive singles to load the bases. A walk to Maggie McDonald scored a run; a Kristin Sito double sent two more home; Teresa Healy singled to reload the bases, all still with just one out. The order completed, Becky Zill then stepped up again and hit a bomb over the center field fence and Niagara was suddenly up 13-2. Freshman Kim Bryson picked up the win, striking out 8. Ashley Rampino, who had lasted only one inning, suffered the loss.
Niagara will host St. Peter's Sunday; Manhattan travels to Canisius.