Sunday, May 1, 2011

Red Foxes Clinch Tournament Berth With Sweep Of Niagara

Freshman Paige Lewis won her MAAC leading 15th game

Marist 13
Niagara 12

Marist 3
Niagara 1

Game One Box Score
Game Two Box Score

Marist completed a remarkable turnaround when their sweep of the Purple Eagles Sunday in Niagara Falls, NY catapulted them into the MAAC Tournament.

Guess who is playing on their home field in the MAAC Tournament!
The Marist Red Foxes went from rags to riches Sunday. Last season, Marist won a total of 10 games. This season they have already won 31 and are sitting pretty in the top 4. No hotel bills either as they will be hosting the tournament in a couple weeks.

No, that's not a misprint. The first game of this doubleheader was a wild shootout. The Purple Eagles needed this game to have a chance at qualifying for the tournament, and they did not go down easy. Marist exploded for 17 hits and 13 runs---and they needed every one of them. Too much going on in this one to give a detailed play by play, so here's the gist of it. Niagara jumped in front 5-2 thanks in large part to a 3 run blast by Kristin Sito. Then came the Marist avalanche. The Red Foxes scored 8 runs in the 5th inning; 5 of those runs courtesy of long homers off the bats of Caitlin Schell and Sarah Carmody. Marist was up 10-5, but Niagara chipped away at that lead with a Maggie McDonald RBI single and Teresa Healy home run. Marist though put three more runs on the board in the top of the 7th inning, with Caitlin Schell, Aly Klemmer and Christina Lausch all driving home runs for a 13-7 lead. Then in the bottom of the 7th, with their backs up against the wall, Niagara mounted a furious comeback that fell just short. The Purple Eagles quickly loaded the bases, and Jen Hare singled home one run. Alexis Wayne then hit a blast over the center field fence that cleared the bases and suddenly it was a 13-12 game. At this point, desperate Niagara ran out of pinch hitters and sent Ali Grab to the plate. Emily Osterhaus retired her for the win.

Game two was a different affair, with the demoralized Purple Eagles not mounting much of an attack. Marist starter Paige Lewis pitched a very controlled game, walking no one while striking out 5. Danielle Koltz drove home a run in the 2nd inning to give Marist the early lead; 3rd inning RBIs by Nicole DiVirgilio and Alyssa Zahka put Marist up 3-0. Kayla Hines homered for Niagara in the 6th inning; but Marist went on to win 3-1.

A difficult weekend for the Purple Eagles, who saw their MAAC hopes dashed for this season. This was the last home game for Teresa Healy, one of the greatest to play in the MAAC.

For Marist, it was jubilation remembering where they were at this time last year. However, they will now have to find a way to win without Megan Lamoureux, who suffered a broken collarbone last week.

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