Monday, April 30, 2012

MAAC Stars Of The Week* 4/30/12

*Not the official MAAC Players Of The Week, but as chosen by this blog

Player Of The Week

Alexis Wayne, Niagara Purple Eagles

In four conference games this past weekend, Alexis hit for a .429 average which included three home runs and nine RBIs. She also tied Teresa Healy's school record for RBIs in a game (6).

Pitcher Of The Week

Sarah Jackson, Iona Gaels

Iona's Most Valuable Ever had an ERA last week of 0.28 with a 3-1 record. The loss was a 1-0 game. She also struck out 31 batters along the way and solidified the Gaels' spot at number one in the MAAC with a pair of dominating conference wins.

Freshman Of The Week

Ambur Farmer, Niagara Purple Eagles

In four conference games this past weekend, the center fielder hit for a .400 average, scoring seven runs.

Manhattan Fights Hard For Split With Marist

Kelsi Redding pitched 9 innings, earned a win, allowed only 2 runs

Manhattan 4
Marist 2

Marist 4
Manhattan 3

Manhattan and Marist battled in a long doubleheader, splitting the games Sunday in Poughkeepsie, NY.

The Lady Jaspers gave Marist all they could handle in this conference twinbill, and more. Gone under the radar is the fact that the young LJs have shown great improvement in the latter part of this season, having begun the year with virtually a whole new team, and the Red Foxes learned this first hand. Marist got out to a 2-0 lead in game one when in the second inning, Ashley Corriss singled home Aly Klemmer and Haley Birnbaum. But it was in the top of the fourth inning, after Jocelin Whitmore and Amanda Babcock opened with singles, that All-MAAC candidate Katie Bowen shocked Marist by blasting a home run over the center field fence to give the LJs the lead. They extended that lead to 4-2 in the fifth inning via Amanda Babcock's RBI single. In the meantime, junior college transfer pitcher Kelsi Redding would stone the Red Foxes into frustration the rest of the way, allowing only one runner to get as far as second base the final five innings. It was Kelsi's second consecutive conference win, and a big one on the road against a team fighting for a tournament spot.

Suddenly, the Red Foxes found themselves really needing to win game two, and they jumped on Manhattan starter Katie Bowen early, scoring four times in the bottom of the first inning. Nicole DiVirgilio's double scored Megan Lamoureux before Alyssa Zhaka smashed a big three run homer to straightaway center. Things looked good for the Red Foxes; but they would be shutdown the rest of the way while the LJs chipped away at the lead. Marist starter Emily Osterhaus got into a bases loaded jam in the top of the fourth inning; her free pass to Kelly Murray put Manhattan on the board. Emily's day would end in the fifth inning when after Amanda Babcock doubled, Meghan McDevitt drove a pitch over the left field fence to trim the Marist lead to 4-3. Paige Lewis entered the game in relief, and Marist hung on for dear life. The LJs had a great chance to tie the game in the sixth inning. A one out single by Kelly Murray brought up Amanda Paxson, who stroked a double to center. Kelly was sent home on the play, but the Marist relay got her at the plate---Corriss to DiVirgilio to Lamoureux. Paige Lewis earned the save by retiring Manhattan in order in the seventh inning, and Marist escaped a potentially sticky situation in the standings.

2012 began as a season of adjustment for Manhattan; they may be a team to watch out for next season. The LJs are now 3-9. Marist is 8-4, and in good shape in the race.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Fairfield Sweeps Rider

Becca Trott shut down the Broncs in game one

Fairfield 1
Rider 0

Fairfield 7
Rider 2

Game One Box

Game Two Box

The Fairfield Stags jumped up in the standings with their sweep of Rider Sunday in Fairfield, CT.

Game one in this MAAC doubleheader wasn't as close as it looks, and game two was closer than it looks.
Yes, game one was decided by a 1-0 score, but Becca Trott didn't give anything for Rider to work with. With all the fanfare surrounding Sarah Jackson and Rachael Matreale, Becca is becoming one of the premier pitchers in the MAAC. She did not allow a Bronc past second base, and you got the sense that it was never going to go good for Rider. But Becca was against Rachael in this game, and her teammates could score only a single run. That happened in the first inning, and only did because of a wild pitch that allowed Kristen Filicia to get to third base before Alli Wigand's two out single sent her home. They might still be playing this game as I write, because Rachael Matreale was outstanding again. That was especially true in the third inning when Fairfield put their first three batters on base with an infield single, walk and hit batsman. Rachael dug down deep and struck out Rae Ball, Kimi Kurata and Tiffany Lawson in order, leaving all three runners standing. But that single run held up for the Fairfield win.

Rachaele Matreale did start game two, and this time her team got her a 2-0 lead. In the third inning, Alyssa Paul singled home Amanda Irving, then executed a double steal with Kehli Washington who scored ahead of her. But Fairfield would respond immediately in the bottom of the same inning. A Sammy Ruffolo infield single and a walk to Lauren Liseth set up Alli Wigand who smashed a double to left that scored both. This game remained close for a couple more innings, but ended in perhaps a predictable way when Rachael Matreale ran out of gas in the sixth inning. With the help of an error by third baseman Alyssa Paul, the Stags scored five unearned runs to win 7-2. The big hit was Rae Ball's double which cleared the bases for three RBIs. Rae also got the win in the circle, pitching a very controlled game. Alli Wigand also drove home three for Fairfield; Alyssa Paul had three hits for Rider.

Both teams are still very much in the thick of things. Fairfield improved to 8-4; Rider fell to 7-5.

Purple Eagles Sweep St. Peter's

Alexis Wayne tied school record for RBIs in a game

Niagara 11
St. Peter's 1

Niagara 10
St. Peter's 0 (5)

Game One Box
Game Two Box

The Niagara Purple Eagles unleashed their bats in a doubleheader sweep of St. Peter's in Jersey City, NJ Sunday.

The Peahens jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning of game one then watched Niagara score the next 21 runs in this MAAC doubleheader. The Purple Eagles had a lot big performances in the first game. Jaclyn Russell was a perfect 4 for 4; Gabby Lustrinelli drove home four runs, three of them with a bases loaded triple; and Jessica Hitchcock was 3 for 5 with a pair of RBIs. Kim Bryson picked up the win for Niagara, throwing a three hitter. Shelby Beaver suffered the loss.

Game two saw Niagara explode with a seven run second inning to win going away in a run rule five innings. Junior Alexis Wayne slammed two home runs in the game, and tied Teresa Healy's record for single game RBIs. Bri Allen pitched a two hitter for the win.

Niagara improved to 5-7; St. Peter's fell to 1-13.

Jackson And Maiese Sweep Siena

Cherish her Iona, you will not see her likes again!

Iona 2
Siena 0

Iona 1
Siena 0

The Iona Gaels swept Siena Sunday in New Rochelle, NY, dealing a serious blow to the Saints' chances at postseason play.

0 for 6.

That's pretty much the summary of this series between the Gaels and Saints. Iona's pitchers completely shut down the MAAC's leading hitter Shannon Jones. Alyssa Maiese struck her out in the seventh inning of game two when the contest was still in doubt to put an exclamation point on the sweep. Shannon Jones had six opportunities to alter these contests, but was handled each at bat by the conference's top two pitchers.

When Sarah Jackson retires her career in a few weeks, Iona College ought to name the softball field after her! The Gaels will look upon these last three seasons as the "Golden Years" of Iona softball. Sarah is so great, she's almost getting boring. Except for Jessika-Jo Sandrini, she mowed down the Saints, striking out a full dozen while scattering three hits, if you can even call it that. The amazing thing is that Sarah has not been at 100% this season. Siena never had a chance.

Fifth year senior Alyssa Maiese is more like a "1B" pitcher this season. She mowed down all the Saints as well, excepting Jessika-Jo Sandrini, and struck out ten. She didn't walk a batter, and "scattered" three hits. Siena didn't have a chance.

The Gaels managed to scratch out three runs for their star pitchers, which is enough for them. Siena got good efforts today from Amanda Filippazzo and Jessika-Jo Sandrini, but all of Iona's MAAC losses were shutouts. Speaking of Jessika-Jo, she was the only Saint that gave Iona trouble, hitting 3 for 4, and getting on base five times. She doubled in the seventh inning of game two, but no one could move her.

Iona improved to 11-3, and looks a cinch to qualify for the tournament. Siena dropped to 6-6, and may not be over the hump until next season.

BTW, I use this older photo of Sarah because it's like a statue that should be erected at the Rice Oval!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Kelsey Krisch Beats Siena To Give Broncs Sweep

Kelsey Krisch pitched her finest game on senior day

Rider 4
Siena 3 (9)

Rider 2
Siena 1

Game One Box
Game Two Box

The Rider Broncs swept a pair of intense MAAC games from the Siena Saints Saturday in Lawrenceville, NJ.

This was surely the best MAAC doubleheader of the season thus far, with two teams battling hard, and tournament implications abounding. The Broncs have sent notice to the rest of the MAAC that they are contenders this season. The Saints could have won either or both games, and must keep their focus for their big doubleheader Sunday at Iona.

Game one was a classic, going nine innings. Rider jumped in front in the first inning, 2-0, loading the bases quickly for Heather Muscara, who singled home a pair of runners. Rachael Matreale of course started for Rider, and held the MAAC's number one offense down until the Saints began a comeback in the fourth inning. In that frame, Shannon Jones halved the Rider lead with a solo home run over the right field fence. That homer had other implications, as when the MAAC's leading hitter stepped up to the plate in the sixth inning, she was issued a walk with two outs. The MAAC's number two hitter made Rider pay though. Jessika-Jo Sandrini smashed a home run over the left field fence, and suddenly Siena was up 3-2. The quick strike capability of the Saints can be shocking; but the Broncs maintained their poise. The Saints were one out away from winning this game. But in the bottom of the seventh inning, Kehli Washington and Ally Breeden both singled to reach base, and with two outs, Sam Pugh hit a clutch single which scored Kehli to tie the game at 3-3. Into extras they went. The bottom of the ninth inning decided the game, but Siena went down hard. A one out single by Kehli Washington brought up Alyssa Paul, who stroked a double to left field. Kehli was sent home, but a perfect relay from Mandy Ferro to Shannon Jones to Nastasha Powlowsky got her at the plate! Alyssa Paul did make it to third base on the throw however, and with two outs, freshman Ally Breeden stepped to the plate and calmly singled her home for the win. Ally was 3 for 5 in the game, and continued to make a case for Freshman Of The Year honors. Rachael Matreale earned the win, her 17th of the season; Jessika-Jo Sandrini took the loss, allowing only two earned runs.

Game two was hard pressed to top the drama, but it came close. Rider's Kelsey Krisch celebrated senior day by pitching her best game in a Broncs' uniform. Coach Carroll must have been extremely pleased with Kelsey's performance, to say the least. Not only did she get a complete game win from her, but she also got to sit Rachael Matreale down in a warmup jacket for all of game two, keeping her star pitcher fresher for Sunday's showdown at Fairfield. Kelsey was brilliant in limiting the Saints' offense; holding them to five hits while striking out six. Rider jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning when another senior, Lucy Higgins, doubled home Heather Muscara. The Broncs went up 2-0 in the fourth inning when Heather Muscara doubled and again was sent home by Lucy Higgins. The Saints got good pitching from Amanda Filippazzo, and hung in the game. In the sixth inning, Shannon Jones led off with her second home run of the day to cut the Rider lead to 2-1. That home run gave Shannon the Siena single season record. But it wasn't enough, and Rider held on for the 2-1 win and the sweep.

It was a great day of softball in Lawrenceville; and these two teams may meet again. Rider improved to 7-3; Siena fell to 6-4.

Canisius And Marist Split

Katie Medina kept the Griffs' postseason hopes alive with 7th inning game winner

Marist 6
Canisius 2

Canisius 4
Marist 3

Game One Box

Game Two Box

The Marist Red Foxes and Canisius Golden Griffins both got a needed win in their doubleheader split Saturday in Poughkeepsie, NY.

Canisius visited Marist today having to get at least a win, and things were looking good in the top of the first inning of game one when senior Lizzy Gatto smashed her sixth homer of the season over the left field fence, which also scored Lauren Falzone and gave Canisius a quick 2-0 lead. But Marist starter Emily Osterhaus brushed it off and continued her hot streak, shutting down the Golden Griffins the rest of the way, allowing them only two more hits in the final six innings. The Red Foxes caught a break in the third inning, when Lauryn Chris' two out error allowed Ally Klemmer to score and halve the Canisius lead. Marist did some more two out work in the third inning, this time leading to much more damage. Consecutive home runs by Alyssa Zhaka and Ally Klemmer gave Marist a 4-2 lead, and chased Canisius starter Jen Consaul from the game. The Red Foxes added two more runs in the fourth inning when Dani Koltz, again with two outs, singled home Ashley Corriss and Christina Lausch. Emily Osterhaus retired the last seven Canisius batters to improve her record to 9-5.

Coach Ausanio decided to stick with the hot hand for game two, and started Emily Osterhaus again. But Canisius once more jumped to a first inning lead when a two out, bases loaded error scored Lizzy Gatto for a 1-0 lead. The Red Foxes tied the game in the bottom of the second inning, thanks to a Haley Birnbaum double and Ashley Corriss single. Catcher Megan Lamoureux's dropped third strike in the top of the fourth inning would prove costly for Marist, as after the speedy Michelle DelPrince beat the throw to first base, Stephanie Pfentner clubbed a pitch over the center field fence to give the Golden Griffins the lead back at 3-1. Marist, however, would tie the game back up in the bottom of the fifth inning, again hitting consecutive two out homers, by Nicole DiVirgilio and Alyssa Zhaka. Marist again chased a starting pitcher, this time Corinne Schaus. Senior Caroline Main made her second relief appearance of the day, and would shut down Marist the rest of the way. The game entered the seventh inning tied 3-3, with Canisius desperate for a win to stay alive in the MAAC race. A one out double by Lizzy Gatto put a runner in scoring position. Robin Kennery singled to move her to third base; and Katie Medina hit a sacrifice fly that scored Lizzy for the win. Caroline Main picked up the win in relief.

Marist is now 7-3; Canisius 7-5.

Manhattan And Niagara Split

Katie Bowen hit 5 for 8 in doubleheader

Manhattan 12
Niagara 4 (6)

Niagara 10
Manhattan 2

Game One Box
Game Two Box

The Niagara Purple Eagles and Manhattan Lady Jaspers split a MAAC doubleheader Saturday in Riverdale, NY.

The Lady Jaspers unleashed their bats for a dozen runs on 15 hits, eight of them for extra bases, in game one. Doubles by Jocelin Whitmore and Amanda Babcock, and a triple by Katie Bowen, gave Manhattan a 2-0 lead after an inning. Niagara bounced back to take a 3-2 lead in the top of the third inning thanks to RBIs by Becky Zill, Jen Hare and Alexis Wayne. The LJs erased that lead quickly though in the bottom of the same inning, scoring four times with RBIs off the bats of Katie Bowen, Sydney Weedon, Jen Keller and Amanda Paxson, giving them a lead they would never relinquish. Freshman Kelsi Redding picked up her third win of the season; Amanda Babcock and Katie Bowen both had three hit games, and Meghan McDevitt drove home three runs.

In game two, Niagara turned the tables with a 10-2 win. The game was close until the Purple Eagles blew it open with a seven run sixth inning, highlighted by Jessica Hitchcock's grand slam home run. Alexis Wayne and Amanda Arendt also homered for Niagara, who pounded out a dozen hits all told. Kim Bryson struck out eight in earning her fourth win of the season.

Niagara is now 3-7 in the conference; Manhattan 2-8.

Gaels Survive Scare; Sweep St. Peter's

Allyssa James was 3 for 3 for 3

Iona 2
St. Peter's 1

Iona 8
St. Peter's 0 (6)

The Iona Gaels moved into first place with a sweep of the St. Peter's Peahens Saturday in New Rochelle, NY.

You wouldn't think a 5-40 team who has won only two conference games in the past three seasons could walk into the defending champions' backyard and pose a threat, but the St. Peter's Peahens did just that on Saturday. St. Peter's lost game one of this doubleheader at Iona, and really, they gave the game away. Neither of Iona's runs were earned, and the Gaels won in the bottom of the seventh inning due to two Peahen errors, scoring the winning run without a hit. Shelby Beaver pitched a great game for the Peahens, throwing a four hitter with just one walk. Unfortunately for her, her team committed four errors. Chelsea Crews drove home the lone Peahens run in the third inning. Iona scored their first run on a passed ball and error. Iona survived, but Coach Rivera could not have been very happy with the performance, excepting Sarah Jackson of course who carried her team to victory again, striking out eight although she was not feeling great today.

Shelby Beaver started game two for the Peahens, but ran out of gas after two innings and trailing 2-0. Eileen McCann got it going for the Gaels, smashing her seventh homer of the year to deep center in the first inning. Eileen would go 3 for 4 in this one. Senior Allyssa James had a terrific game, hitting 3 for 3 and driving home three runs. Alyssa Maiese, who earned the win with eight strikeouts, also drove home a pair of runs.

St. Peter's fell to 1-11; Iona improved to 9-3 and prepare for a big matchup Sunday against Siena.

Pivotal MAAC Weekend

All roads lead to Poughkeepsie

This weekend in the MAAC could be one of "make or break" for a number of teams. It should be very exciting. The way it looks now, six teams are fighting for the top four slots that will qualify them for the tournament in Poughkeepsie next month. It's not possible at this writing to say who will and will not make it.

I think the team who faces the biggest test this weekend is Siena. Are the Saints at the point where they can make a championship run, qualifying for the first time since 2003? Siena leads the MAAC in hitting, but they will be on the road against Rider and Iona.

The Canisius at Marist matchup Saturday is a crucial one. It will feature two of the hottest pitchers in MAAC play. The Red Foxes' Emily Osterhaus, after seeing her innings reduced at the beginning of the season, has stepped up her play considerably with a 3-0 record and 0.36 ERA in conference games. The Griffs' Jen Consaul is 4-1 and 1.40 with only two walks, and has the lowest opponents' batting average in MAAC games (.178). Canisius must get at least a split; Marist has some more leeway, but being swept would give them a tiebreaker disadvantage.

Rider is trying to qualify for the first time since 2006; they will host Siena and travel to Fairfield. The game with the Stags will be crucial (to both teams likely). Fairfield is at 6-4, and can not afford to be swept. Rachael Matreale vs. Becca Trott promises to be a low scoring affair. And Siena's pitching has done quite well as of late; Jessika-Jo Sandrini is 3-0 in conference play with a 1.04 ERA.

Iona should get a pair of wins Saturday when they host St. Peter's, who still need improvement in the circle (although Shelby Beaver has pitched well down the stretch). But the Gaels will host Siena Sunday in a big matchup. Although Iona pounded out 17 hits against Jen Mineau's understudies at Fordham this past week, they have had trouble against good pitching. So you're going to see the number one pitching team in the MAAC vs. the number one hitting team. However, it should be noted that in conference games, Siena is number two in pitching. But of course, the Saints don't have the pressure game experience that the Gaels do.

The standings may look very different Sunday night. Or not. Read all about it here!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

MAAC Stars Of The Week* 4/24/12

*Not the official MAAC Players Of The Week, but as chosen by this blog

Player Of The Week

Jessika-Jo Sandrini, Siena Saints

J-J had another great week, helping lead the Saints to the top of the MAAC standings. She hit .471 with three home runs and seven RBIs. In the circle, she had a record of 3-0 record with a 1.47 ERA.

Pitcher Of The Week

Rachael Matreale, Rider Broncs

Rachael led the Broncs to their biggest conference win in years, a 1-0 thriller at defending champion Iona, winning a duel against Sarah Jackson and putting Rider in good position to qualify for the tournament.

Freshman Of The Week

Michelle DelPrince, Canisius Golden Griffins

Michelle had a .389 average last week, and hit her first career home run, a grand slammer that was the difference in the Griffs' conference win at St. Peter's. She hit another home run the next day at Manhattan.

Gaels Sweep Manhattan

Just another day at the office for Sarah Jackson

Iona 7
Manhattan 0

Iona 3
Manhattan 1

Game One Box
Game Two Box

The Iona Gaels swept the Manhattan Lady Jaspers in a rescheduled MAAC game Monday in Riverdale, NY.

After four seasons, it's almost difficult not to take Iona's Sarah Jackson for granted. Monday she did what she's done so often---shut down her opponent, this time taking a no hitter into the seventh inning at Manhattan. It was a typical Sarah Jackson game. Ten strikeouts, one walk and a lot of frustrated batters. The Gaels need to take advantage of having a pitcher like this one more time, and they had to have these two wins to stay in the race. Iona struck in the first inning when Deanne Algeo's double scored Chelsea Sheehan. It would be all they needed, but they added six more runs in the fourth inning, off of five hits. Chelsea Sheehan and Alyssa Maiese both doubled home a pair of runs; Cari Anderson and Allyssa James both drove in runs, and Iona won it easily, 7-0.

Alyssa Maiese started game two for the Gaels, and was cruising through until the seventh inning. But before that, her team took a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning thanks to a couple of dropped fly balls by Manhattan outfielders and Alyssa's seventh homer of the season. Inning seven became dicey though. The LJs loaded the bases with one out, and got on the board when Amanda Babcock received a free pass. Then up to the plate stepped one of the MAAC's top hitters, Katie Bowen. A well placed hit could have messed up Iona's season, but as in their win against Rider Saturday, the Gaels turned a double play when Katie hit a sharp ball to third baseman Angie Nieves, who stepped on the bag and made the quick throw to end the game.

Iona improved their record to 7-3; Manhattan fell to 1-7.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pitchers' Duel Highlights Rider-Iona Split

Rachael Matreale prevailed over Sarah Jackson Saturday. Will there be a rematch?

Rider 1
Iona 0

Iona 5
Rider 3

Game One Box
Game Two Box

The Iona Gaels and Rider Broncs split a big MAAC matchup Saturday in New Rochelle, NY.

Well, the matchup was all it was cracked up to be, that's for sure. Rider's Rachael Matreale and Iona's Sarah Jackson went toe-to-toe Saturday at the Rice Oval in a classic pitchers' duel that had the intensity of a tournament game. The Gaels had a good chance right in the first inning when Eileen McCann singled, stole second base, then stole third after an Alyssa Maiese walk. But she was left standing there after Rachael induced a simple ground out. The Gaels got Chelsea Sheehan to third base in the second inning after she had reached base on an error, but she too was stranded. Rider then had a good chance in the fourth inning when two base hits landed runners on second and third bases. But Sarah struck out Ally Coryell and Lucy Higgins to snuff the threat. Kehli Washington got to third base for the Broncs in the fifth inning after a two base error and sacrifice. But Chelsea Sheehan and Alyssa Maiese combined for a double play to end that chance. Again in the sixth, Rider got a runner to third, after Sam Pugh and Lisa Blanton singles, but Sarah struck out Amanda Irving. Finally, in the top of the seventh inning, Rider struck paydirt. A one out single by Alyssa Paul brought up freshman Ally Breeden. Ally smashed a double over center fielder Jodi Petersen's head, and Rider had the 1-0 lead. Allyssa James would single for the Gaels in the bottom of the seventh, but that was it; the Broncs won 1-0. It was a great game. Sarah Jackson struck out eight, and walked only two. Rachael Matreale struck out three, walked two and allowed only four hits. For Rider, it was a statement win.

To show the confidence the Broncs have built this season, Rider Coach Tricia Carroll thought her Broncs should have had the sweep. Rachael Matreale started the second game, but she has not been as effective with the extra start, although not bad. This time she was up against Alyssa Maiese. The Gaels jumped in front 2-0 in this game. In the second inning, Chelsea Sheehan singled home Deanne Algeo after an error and wild pitch. In the third inning, Eileen McCann lifted her sixth home run of the season over the left field fence. Rachael Matreale was pulled after that and relieved by Krysti Maronski. Krysti held the fort until the Broncs got one back in the top of the fifth inning with an Ally Coryell RBI single. The Broncs had five hits in this inning, but could score only once. The Gaels responded with three runs in the bottom of the frame, two of them coming thanks to an Allyssa James triple; another from a Chelsea Sheehan single. Rider closed the deficit to 5-3 in the top of the sixth with another three hits and an RBI by Kelsey Krisch. The Broncs opened the top of the seventh inning with singles by Alyssa Paul and Ally Breeden, but Alyssa Maiese executed a timely double play to save the day for Iona. Interesting that Rider got ten hits in those last three innings attempting to rally; this is clearly a team that has dramatically improved their offense during the course of this season; getting 19 hits on Iona's pitchers is a big deal. The Gaels' Allyssa James had her biggest game in a while, hitting 2 for 2 with three RBIs and a run. Kelsey Krisch was 2 for 2 for the Broncs.

Both teams now stand at 5-3.
A note: Iona's scheduled game at Manhattan Sunday has been postponed until Monday due to a forecast of heavy rain.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Red Foxes Take Share Of First With Sweep Of Niagara

Alyssa Zhaka drove home five runs in sweep

Marist 10
Niagara 2 (6)

Marist 6
Niagara 5

Game One Box
Game Two Box

The Marist Red Foxes took a pair of conference games from Niagara Saturday in Poughkeepsie, NY, and moved into a first place tie with Siena.

Game one of this MAAC doubleheader saw the Red Foxes jump in front 2-0 in the first inning with two out singles off the bats of Alyssa Zhaka and Ally Klemmer. It was the beginning of a productive day for Alyssa. Niagara got back into the game in the top of the third inning with RBI singles by Becky Zill and Jen Hare. Marist then exploded for eight runs on nine hits to end the game early. Megan Lamoureux doubled home a pair of runs in the fourth; Haley Birnbaum singled a run home in the fifth; and a five run sixth inning shut down the party, with Haley Birnabaum's two run blast to left field turning off the lights on the Purple Eagles. Emily Osterhaus earned her second consecutive conference win; Niagara's Julie DiMatteo suffered the loss.

Game two was very entertaining, won by Marist 6-5 and going down to the wire. The Red Foxes jumped in front 2-0 with RBIs by Taylor Kuzma in the second inning; and Alyssa Zhaka in the third. Jen Hare tied it up for Niagara with a two run blast to center in the top of the fourth inning. The Purple Eagles then jumped in front, 3-2, when Alexis Wayne singled home Becky Zill in the fifth inning. The bottom of the same inning saw another lead change, with Marist scoring a pair of runs on Alyssa Zhaka's bases loaded single. Niagara still had fight left in them, and tied the score right back up in the top of the sixth inning when an error by Marist second baseman Haley Birnbaum allowed Katie Gruarin to score. In the bottom of the sixth, Marist took a 5-4 lead when Christina Lausch scored on Ashley Corriss' sacrifice fly, although the play at the plate was very close. Marist scored the eventual winner with a squeeze bunt by Megan Lamouruex that scored Taylor Kuzma. Another Marist error helped Niagara score an additional run in the seventh, but the game ended with a double play, Alyssa Zhaka to Nicole DiVirgilio. Marist Coach Ausanio used three pitchers in this game, with Emily Osterhaus earning her second win of the day with late inning relief work.

Marist improved to 6-2; Niagara fell to 2-6.

LJs Get First MAAC Win In Split With Canisius

Meghan McDevitt launched one to center in game two for the win

Canisius 5
Manhattan 0

Manhattan 4
Canisius 0

Game One Box
Game Two Box

The Manhattan Lady Jaspers picked up their first conference win when they split a doubleheader with Canisius Saturday in Riverdale, NY.

It was a day of shutouts and home runs at Gaelic Park. Game one was dominated by Canisius pitcher Jen Consaul. The sophomore continued her hot streak with a two hitter; she did not allow a Lady Jasper past first base, striking out five, and walking no one. Canisius opened the scoring in the fourth inning thanks to a pair of Manhattan errors, one of them with two outs committed by Sydney Weeden which allowed Lauryn Chris to score. A two base error by Manhattan led off the Canisius fifth, with Lizzy Gatto eventually scoring on a suicide squeeze bunt executed by Val Nappo. Errors weren't to blame in the sixth inning---after Stephanie Pfentner opened the frame with a ground rule double, Michelle DelPrince blasted a pitch over the center field fence. It was the freshman's second homer in as many days. Two batters later, Katie Lancellotti hit one in the same spot, and the Golden Griffins took a 5-0 win.

Katie Bowen pitched game two for the LJs, escaping trouble in the early innings by getting timely outs, and helped along with some poor base running by Canisius. Manhattan jumped in front in the second inning. After a two out ground rule double by freshman Mickayla Romero, Meghan McDevitt launched a fly ball toward straightaway center field. Griffs' outfielder Lizzy Gatto got to the ball, but it bounced off her glove and over, giving the Lady Jaspers a 2-0 lead. The game stayed close, with Canisius freshman Robin Kennery just missing a home run to center that turned into just a long single in the sixth inning. In the bottom of the inning, Mickayla Romero crushed a Caroline Main pitch and sent it sailing deep over the left field fence to give the LJs their first conference win.

Manhattan improved their record to 1-5; Canisius fell to 6-4.

Fairfield Sweeps St. Peter's

Resurgent Lauren Liseth slugged a pair of homers

Fairfield 6
St. Peter's 0

Fairfield 14
St. Peter's 1 (5)

Game One Box
Game Two Box

The Fairfield Stags pounded home 20 runs in a doubleheader sweep of St. Peter's Saturday in Jersey City, NJ.

Game one of this series was close for a while, with the Stags holding on to a 3-0 lead after six innings...but after that, Fairfield went on a tear that saw them score 17 runs in six innings. Lauren Liseth began a big day by opening the fourth inning with a home run over the center field fence. Lauren has raised her level of play in the past few weeks. Brianna Levick hit a solo homer of her own in the fifth inning, followed by a Nikki Osofsky RBI in the sixth. Then the Stags began scoring runs hand over fist, beginning with Rae Ball's three run shot in the seventh inning of game one. Becca Trott picked up the win with a two hit shutout performance, striking out a dozen Peahens.

Game two was a total blowout, beginning with Lauren Liseth's three run home run in the second inning. Everyone in the Fairfield hitting lineup contributed in one way or another; the Stags got 12 hits in the five innings they played. Rae Ball got the easy win, striking out seven.

Fairfield moved to 6-4 with the wins. St. Peter's dropped to 1-7.

MAAC's Top Three Pitchers Get Together Today

It's a big day in the MAAC, the weather forecasts all look good, and I forecast some great games.
The big highlight today looks to be the Rider at Iona matchup, which will showcase some great pitching probably. The top three statistical hurlers will be in the house at New Rochelle. Rider's Rachaele Matreale will likely pitch both games against the Gaels' Sarah Jackson and Alyssa Maise.

Elsewhere, Canisius is at Manhattan; Niagara is at Marist; and Fairfield visits St. Peter's.

Saints Take First With Sweep Of Niagara

The MAAC's top two hitters try to figure out how many games in a row they've won, but have run out of fingers!

Siena 6
Niagara 1

Siena 2
Niagara 0

The Siena Saints won their 11th consecutive game Friday when they swept Niagara at Loudonville, NY in a conference doubleheader.

In watching the explosion of the Siena Saints' offense, overlooked is the fact that their pitchers' ERAs are shrinking rapidly. Jessika-Jo Sandrini threw a three hitter, and Amanda Filippazzo threw a one hitter in this MAAC sweep. Jessika-Jo got it going first at the plate when in the first inning she doubled home Mandy Ferro, who had led off with a two bagger. The Purple Eagles would tie the game though with Jen Hare's fourth inning RBI single. The tie didn't last long. Kayla Kaminsky singled home Nastasha Powlowsky in the bottom of the same inning to retake the lead. Then Jessika -Jo Sandrini drilled a two out shot to left in the fifth to put the game out of reach. Siena added a pair of runs in the sixth inning, while J-J in the circle was striking out eight Purple Eagles in shutting the door. Julie DiMatteo took the loss for Niagara.

Game two featured excellent pitching. Niagara's Kim Bryson tied a school record with 15 strikeouts, besting own personal record of 14 set a few days earlier against Fairfield. Siena was able to get to her in the fourth inning with doubles by Nastasha Powlowsky and Meg Volz which turned into two runs thanks in part to a Niagara error. Siena's senior Amanda Filippazzo was nearly unhittable, so those runs easily stood. Amanda pitched with perfect control, walking no one while striking out five.

With the wins, Siena improved to 6-2, and is in possession of first place at the moment. Niagara fell to 2-4, and will play at Marist Saturday.

Golden Griffins Sweep Peahens

Michelle DelPrince's grand slam was the difference in game one

Canisius 5
St. Peter's 3

Canisius 11
St. Peter's 2 (5)

Game One Box
Game Two Box

The Canisius Golden Griffins began their first MAAC road trip with a doubleheader sweep of the St. Peter's Peahens Friday in Jersey City, NJ.

Katie Medina returned to the lineup for Canisius after missing three weeks with injury and wasted no time in getting the Golden Griffins' first hit, in the second inning of game one. Katie's pinch runner Kalie Michalski scored on Stephanie Pfentner's two out single to give Canisius a 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the second inning, St. Peter's took their only lead of the day. Nicole Olmedo led off by singling; she scored thanks to Chelsea Crews' hit and an error by left fielder Michelle DelPrince. An RBI single by Michelle Tinajero gave the Peahens a 2-1 lead. Canisius, however, would come back with a big fourth inning. After the Griffs opened the frame with three consecutive singles, freshman Michelle DelPrince smashed a pitch over the center field fence for her first career home run---a grand slam that gave her team a 5-2 lead. Canisius starter Jen Consaul then shutdown the Peahens until the bottom of the seventh inning. Francesca D'Amto led off with a double, and was eventually sent home by Shelby Colgan, but it was not enough to overcome the Canisius lead. Jen Consaul improved her MAAC record to 3-1. Lauryn Chris was 3 for 3 in the game; Nicole Olmedo hit 2 for 3 for the Peahens.

Game two was all Canisius, who jumped to a 2-0 first inning lead, and never looked back. Canisius pounded out 12 hits this run rule game. Val Nappo hit her first career home run and drove home four runs. Lauren Falzone was 3 for 4 with a pair of RBIs. Redshirt freshman Marissa Miller recorded her first career hit and RBI. Canisius starter Caroline Main struck out nine Peahens; the two runs she allowed were unearned due to a dropped fly by.

Canisius is 5-3 and will play at Manhattan Saturday. St. Peter's dropped to 1-7, and will host Fairfield.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

MAAC Schedule Change

Because of pending weather problems this coming weekend, two MAAC series have had date changes. Niagara will now play at Siena on Friday; the Purple Eagles will then play at Marist on Saturday. Canisius will play St. Peter's in Jersey City on Friday. Their scheduled Saturday game at Manhattan remains the same.

Around the MAAC Wednesday, freshman Kelsi Redding threw her first career shutout in Manhattan's 5-0 win over Quinnipiac. Kelsi struck out eight in earning her second win of the season. Katie Bowen hit 5 for 6 in the doubleheader split.

St. Peter's was at home, and split a doubleheader with Lafayette. Shelby Beaver was in the circle for the Peahens' 2-1 win. Tori Feorenzo drove home the winning run. Chelsea Crews was 3 for 3 on the day; Nicole Olmedo also had three hits.

Niagara dropped a doubleheader to local rival Buffalo. Becky Zill did drive home three runs in game two.

Siena swept another doubleheader on Wednesday, beating Hartford 10-2, and 5-4. Shannon Jones drove home seven runs on the day; Jessika-Jo Sandrini doubled home the winner in game two in the bottom of the seventh inning. Head Coach Bill Lajeunesse talks about his team's nine game winning streak:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Saints Firing On All Cylinders

Samantha Ray was an astounding 7 for 9 in Siena's sweep of Holy Cross

The MAAC's leading hitting team seem to have gotten over their opening weekend collapse at Canisius. Siena is now 4-2 in the conference, and are just tearing the cover off the ball offensively. If you take a look at the conference stats (click the tab at the top of the page), you'll see Siena Saints all over the page. The Saints crushed Holy Cross in a doubleheader in Worcester, MA Tuesday by scores of 10-3, and 11-0. Everyone's getting in the act too, from the MAAC's top hitter Shannon Jones, to the pinch hitters. Nastasha Powlowsky in particular has been on a tear; she drove home six runs Tuesday and has vaulted to the top of the MAAC offensive categories. In this season's very tight race, the other MAAC teams ought to be getting very nervous about playing this team, which has now won seven straight games and seems to be peaking at just the right time.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, the NCAA statistics released Tuesday showed that Iona is #15 in the nation in earned run average. The problem is, the Gaels can't seem to hit and score for their star pitchers. They were shutout for the third time in five games Tuesday, 5-0 by Army. Consider that Alyssa Maiese, who struck out 15 in a MAAC game at Niagara Saturday, and has a very stingy ERA of 1.75, only has a .500 record (9-9). Hard to believe, but the defending champs will have to learn how to scratch out runs for their pitchers.

In other action Tuesday, Canisius split a doubleheader with local rival St. Bonaventure. Sophomore Jen Consaul pitched her second consecutive shutout, and has not allowed a run in her past 19 innings.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

MAAC Stars Of The Week* 4/17/12

*Not the official MAAC Players Of The Week, but as chosen by this blog

Player Of The Week

Jessika-Jo Sandrini, Siena Saints

J-J went on an offensive rampage last week, hitting .520, with four homers and 12 RBIs, placing her among the season's leaders in all offensive categories. In the circle, she tossed a pair of conference game wins, allowing only one run.

Pitcher Of The Week

Emily Osterhaus, Marist Red Foxes

Emily tossed a complete game, 11 inning shutout at Rider in a crucial conference game. She also earned a save in conference play, and beat Bucknell earlier in the week.

Freshman Of The Week

Ambur Farmer, Niagara Purple Eagles

Ambur wins this week's award for stunning the MAAC's #1 pitcher Sarah Jackson with a sixth inning home run that gave the Purple Eagles a 1-0 win over the defending champions.

Stags And Purple Eagles Split Monday MAAC Matchup

Kim Bryson struck out 14 Stags in game two

Fairfield 6
Niagara 5 (10)

Niagara 2
Fairfield 1

Game One Box

Game Two Box

Fairfield and Niagara split a pair of close conference games Monday in Lewiston, NY. The doubleheader had originally been scheduled for Sunday, but rain caused a postponement.

Conference play has been great thus far in 2012, and Monday's matchup was no exception. Game one turned into a ten inning marathon after Niagara recovered from a 5-0 deficit. The Stags jumped in front early when Lauren Liseth hit a first inning triple which scored Kimi Kurata, who had reached on a single. Fairfield then caught a big break in the third inning. With two runners on, and two out, Niagara shortstop Alexis Wayne committed an error on a ground ball by Sammi Ruffolo. Fairfield received that extra at bat, and with the bases loaded, Rae Ball took full advantage by driving a pitch over the center field fence. Rae's grand slam gave the Stags a 5-0 lead, but the Purple Eagles did not throw the towel in. In the bottom of the fourth inning, after Gabby Lustrinelli singled home Jen Hare to cut the Fairfield lead to 5-1, Jaclyn Russell cranked one over the center field fence good for three runs, and suddenly Niagara was down by only one, 5-4. The Purple Eagles tied the game with a pair of seventh inning, two out doubles by Jessica Hitchcock and Becky Zill. The game went into extras, with Niagara having the first chance in the bottom of the ninth inning when Jaclyn Russell and Katie Gruarin opened with singles. They could not score, and when Niagara came onto the field in the top of the tenth inning, starter Julie DiMatteo was not in the circle. Niagara first tried Bri Allen, who walked lead off hitter Rae Ball. Coach Dirschberger immediately removed her in favor of Kim Bryson. Pinch runner Brianna Levick was thrown out attempting to steal, but the next batter, Tiffany Lawson, drove a pitch to center that was good for a triple. Kim Bryson struck out Nikki Osofsky for the second out, but then threw a wild pitch that allowed Tiffany to sprint home. Niagara could not score, and that was the ball game. Becca Trott pitched all ten innings in earning the hard fought win.

It was a tough loss for Kim Bryson in game one, but she made up for it with a dazzling performance in game two. Kim was dominant with 14 strikeouts; she fanned game one slugger Rae Ball all three at bats. Kim threw a three hitter, with only two walks. And she had to, because Fairfield's Rae Ball pitched a fine game as well, tossing a four hitter. Niagara scored both of their runs in the first inning, thanks to a two RBI triple by Jen Hare. The Stags were getting nowhere until the sixth inning, when Kristen Filicia hit a one out double, and then quickly got to third base on a wild pitch. Kimi Kurata sacrificed Kristen home, and suddenly the game got very tense. The Stags did get a runner to second base in the final inning, but Kim Bryson fittingly ended the game with a strikeout. Jen Hare had two hits in the game for Niagara, as did the Stags' Tiffany Lawson.

Niagara opened MAAC play with a 2-2 record. Fairfield won 3 of 4 on their western trip, and now stands at 4-4.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Iona And Canisius Split; Controversial Play Highlights Game Two

Lizzy Gatto robbed Eileen McCann with a spectacular catch to save game two...or did she?

Iona 5
Canisius 3

Canisius 1
Iona 0

Game One Box

Game Two Box

The Iona Gaels ended their western trip with a split against the Canisius Golden Griffins Sunday under the lights in Buffalo, NY.

We'll begin with the second game of this series. Alyssa Maiese, fresh off her 15 strikeout performance in Niagara, was in the circle for the Gaels going for the sweep. The Golden Griffins, aware that runs could be at a premium, went on the attack early. Lauren Falzone led off the bottom of the first inning with a walk, and was immediately bunted to second base by Katie Lancellotti. Lizzy Gatto then stepped up and cranked a double to left field; however, Lauren was held at third. Canisius then decided to use their speed game, and executed a perfect suicide squeeze bunt off the bat of Val Nappo, scoring Lauren Falzone. This would be the game's only run. Canisius did try to run the same scenario in the second inning after Stephanie Pfentner led off with a single, but after the sac bunt, Alyssa Maiese struck out Michelle DelPrince and Lauren Falzone to shut down the threat. Alyssa would allow only two more hits in the game.

Meanwhile, in the Canisius circle, sophomore Jen Consaul was pitching a great game herself. After a first inning single by Deanne Algeo, Jen would go on to allow only one more base runner, that being Allyssa James in the fifth inning who did make her way to third base after singling, but was stranded there. The two pitchers were in heated duel, with the Golden Griffins nursing their one run lead, when the play happened. Leading off the top of the fourth inning for Iona was the MAAC's number two hitter, Eileen McCann. Eileen swung at a one strike pitch, and rocketed the ball to straightaway center field. It looked like a tie game, when suddenly All-MAAC centerfielder Lizzy Gatto came sprinting out of her position, reaching the ball just in time to catch it in spectacular fashion before crashing through the fence. The fans went wild as the umpire signaled "out"; Iona Head Coach Roni Rivera strongly disagreed with the call, claiming that the catch was made by Lizzy after crashing through the fence (you can see the actual fence in the photo above). But coach could not prevail upon the law to change the ruling, and Eileen could only head back to the dugout, kicking the dirt in disgust. As it happened, it was a huge play, perhaps season changing for Canisius. Jen Consaul would retire the final nine Gaels for a 1-0 win that keeps Canisius in the hunt. Oh, the drama!

Game one of the series of course featured senior Iona pitcher Sarah Jackson. The last time Sarah pitched at the Demske Sports Complex, she was accepting awards for winning Iona's first MAAC title. So with those good memories, she breezed through the first five innings of Sunday night's game. In the meantime, her teammates put up a three spot in the second inning against Golden Griffins starter Caroline Main, helped along by two Canisius errors. Chelsea Sheehan and Allyssa James scored after infield mishaps by Katie Lancellotti and Val Nappo. Jodi Petersen followed that with an RBI single. The Gaels added single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, courtesy of an Alyssa Maise RBI single, scoring Eileen McCann who singled and stole a base; Eileen then singled one home herself in the top of the sixth. Sarah Jackson did seem to run out of gas in the late innings, remember the start of this game was delayed by six hours, and allowed three Canisius runs. Robin Kennery doubled home two runs in the sixth; and Michelle DelPrince sacrificed a run home in the seventh. But that was as close as the Golden Griffins would get.

Iona holds on to first place with a 4-2 record, but are tied with three teams they have yet to play. Canisius is at 3-3.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Marist And Rider Split Two Very Different Games

Emily Osterhaus dueled Rachael Matreale in an 11 inning thriller

Marist 2
Rider 0 (11)

Rider 10
Marist 7

Game One Box
Game Two Box

The Marist Red Foxes and Rider Broncs split an important conference doubleheader that featured a pitchers' duel and a slugfest Sunday in Lawrenceville, NY.

These two teams collided in Lawrenceville today with identical 3-1 records, and fighting for position in the MAAC. The doubleheader turned into a classic. Game one had all the feel of a tournament game, going scoreless through the first ten innings. It wasn't surprising to see Broncs' senior Rachael Matreale involved in such a game; in fact, it was almost typical of her. She struck out a season high 13. But the Red Foxes must have been delighted with the complete game win by Emily Osterhaus, who had been having a bit of a down season, giving way in the circle to two freshmen. Emily was solid in the long shutout. She had a close call in the sixth inning, but Haley Birnbaum gunned down Samantha Mayer trying to score to end the Rider threat. Marist finally got the winner in the top of the 11th inning when Haley Birnbaum, who had saved the game earlier, won it with a two run home run. A great game between two teams that didn't want to give an inch.

With the length of game one, one would have figured that Rider might be in some trouble because Rachael Matreale would not be able to start game two. But a funny thing happened---Rider pounded out five runs in the bottom of the first to stun Marist. It was as if they felt guilty for not getting Rachael any runs in the first game. In that inning, Gina McCool drove home a run, and Heather Muscara and Lucy Higgins both drove home two. Marist came back with a trio of runs in the top of the third inning thanks to a Dani Koltz RBI and two Rider errors that scored Megan Lamoureux and Ashley Corriss. Rider took a 7-3 lead in the bottom of the same inning with a two RBI Alyssa Paul single.

This was a strange game though, one that see-sawed back and forth with lots of scoring. After the third inning, Rachael Matreale re-entered the battle, in relief of Krysti Maronski. But the 11 innings of work previously may have affected her as Marist tied the game in the fourth by putting up four runs on four hits. The Red Foxes scored all those runs after two outs were made. An infield single by Taylor Kuzma scored one run; a single by Megan Lamoureux scored another two; and MAAC RBI leader Dani Koltz tied the game with a single up the middle. Rachael warmed back up in a hurry though, going on to shutout Marist over the final three innings. The heroics came in the fifth inning when Alyssa Paul, who had a great game, singled home the winning run. Insurance came in the form of a Gina McCool triple, which scored two. Gina and Alyssa were both 3 for 4 with three RBIs.

A great doubleheader with both teams surviving with 4-2 records intact and solidly in the hunt.

Saints Wrap Up A Big Weekend With Sweep Of St. Peter's

Amanda Filippazzo tossed one of two shutouts for the Saints Sunday

Siena 12
St. Peter's 0 (5)

Siena 5
St. Peter's 0

Game One Box
Game Two Box

The Siena Saints concluded a high scoring MAAC weekend with a shutout sweep of St. Peter's Sunday in Loudonville, NY.

It was all Siena in this MAAC doubleheader, beginning with the run rule game one win. St. Peter's was on the defensive from the start in this one, as they elected to intentionally walk MAAC hitting leader Shannon Jones her first three at bats. The strategy did not work, as the rest of the Saints' lineup made the Peahens pay for the free passes. The Saints have hit strong around their star hitter all season, which they must do, so I'm not a big fan of the walk strategy. Siena scored a dozen runs on a dozen hits. Kayla Kaminsky and Alyssa Sceppaguercio each pitched in a pair of RBIs. Siena busted this game open with a seven run fourth inning to win easily. Jessika-Jo Sandrini pitched a three hit shutout, striking out seven Peahens in the five inning game.

Game two wasn't the blowout of the previous match, but the Saints cruised to an easy win nonetheless. The Peahens did pitch to Shannon Jones in this one; and of course she went 2 for 2, scoring a pair of runs. Kayla Kaminsky put the Saints on the board with her third RBI of the day in the second inning, singling home Meg Volz. In the third inning, the hot hitting Nastasha Powlowsky smashed a pitch over the center field fence good for two runs. And in the fifth, after Shannon Jones was intentionally walked again, Jessika-Jo Sandrini made the Peahens pay by driving home a run. Shannon scored on an error. Amanda Filippazzo went the distance in the 5-0 win, allowing five hits and striking out four.

Siena raised their MAAC record to 4-2; St. Peter's fell to 1-5.

Weather Forces Schedule Change

The Niagara-Fairfield doubleheader has been postponed until Monday 10 am.
Meanwhile, at Rider...the Marist bus driver got lost! So the start of that DH has been delayed an hour.

Rain in Western New York has moved the Canisius-Iona doubleheader to a 6 pm start. Niagara and Fairfield are attempting to play their games now, but that may change.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Great Pitching Results in Iona-Niagara Split

Niagara's Julie DiMatteo won game one pitcher's duel with 4 hit shutout

Niagara 1
Iona 0

Iona 3
Niagara 0

Game One Box
Game Two Box

The Iona Gaels and Niagara Purple Eagles split a low scoring MAAC doubleheader Saturday in Lewiston, NY.

Game one of this series between the defending champs and Niagara had to be the MAAC game of the day. If you like pitchers duels, you couldn't ask for much better. Two seniors, the Gaels' Sarah Jackson and the Purple Eagles' Julie DiMatteo, matched each other pitch for pitch in this tense conference game. Eileen McCann tried to get things going for Iona when she singled in the second inning for the game's first hit, but she would be called out for leaving first base early trying to get into scoring position. After that, through the fourth inning, each team could only manage an infield single, as the two pitchers were in total control. The Purple Eagles struck for a couple of singles in the fifth inning by Sarah Anthon and Jaclyn Russell, but Sarah Jackson snuffed out that threat with an inning ending strikeout. Iona's only real threat came in the sixth inning when Eileen McCann blasted a pitch to center field good for a triple; but there were already two outs, and she never got further than third base. The bottom of the sixth opened with the game still scoreless, when Niagara freshman Ambur Farmer stunned the Gaels by ripping a pitch over the left field fence for a home run and the game's only score. It was Ambur's third homer of the year, and of course the biggest of her career. Julie DiMatteo is 3-0 since recovering from pneumonia, allowing only one run and six hits in those appearances.

Game two featured some more fine pitching. Niagara's starter Kim Bryson did well, holding Iona to three runs, all scored in the game's first three innings. But the real story was Iona's fifth year senior Alyssa Maise, who pitched out of her mind to ensure the Gaels left the Falls with a split. Alyssa mowed down 15 Purple Eagles in the game; walked only one; and allowed only two singles. Niagara had only one real chance in this one, in the fourth inning, but Alyssa refused to allow a runner to get past second base the whole game. Eileen McCann, who was immune to all the great pitching going on, had another 2 for 3 game and drove home the game's first run with a first inning double. Iona made it 2-0 in the second inning when Angie Nieves doubled home a run of her own. The Gaels added a third run in the third inning when freshman Allison Hand blasted a pitch over the left field fence. After that, Alyssa Maise put the game in cruise control for a 3-0 win.

Iona will take their 3-1 record to Canisius Sunday. Niagara at 1-1 hosts Fairfield.

Red Foxes Sweep Saint Peter's

Ashley Corriss hit 5 for 7 in the sweep

Marist 5
St. Peter's 2

Marist 6
St. Peter's 3

Game One Box
Game Two Box

The Marist Red Foxes improved to 3-1 with a doubleheader sweep of St. Peter's Saturday in Poughkeepsie, NY.

Marist opened their MAAC home schedule Saturday against an improved St. Peter's squad. Game one saw the Red Foxes take a 1-0 first inning lead when Nicole DiVirgilio drove home Ashley Corriss, who opened the game with a double. Third inning RBI singles by Dani Koltz and Ally Klemmer extended the Marist lead to 3-0. That lead turned to 5-0 in the fifth inning when Alyssa Zhaka blasted a two run homer over the center field fence. St. Peter's tried to rally in the sixth inning, scoring twice on four hits, which included RBI singles by Chelsea Crews and Carolyn Griffin, but it wasn't enough as the Red Foxes held on for the 5-2 win. Freshman Janine Lalli improved her record to 8-1; Emily Osterhaus picked up a save. Ashley Corriss, Megan Lamoureux and Dani Koltz each had a pair of hits for Marist. Michelle Tinajero and Chelsea Crews were both 2 for 3 for the Peahens.

It was St. Peter's who jumped out to a first inning lead in game two when freshman sensation Nicole Olmedo rocketed a home run that put the Peahens up 2-0. Marist, however, would erase that lead over the next four innings, scoring six times. In the bottom of the first, Dani Koltz hit a solo shot to halve the St. Peter's lead. In the second, the Red Foxes took a 3-2 lead when Ally Klemmer homered with Alyssa Zhaka on base after a walk. In the third, Marist went up 4-2 thanks to a Nicole DiVirgilio RBI double. And in the fourth, Marist sealed the deal when Sarah Carmody homered, and Ashley Corriss doubled home Taylor Kuzma. The Peahens would get another run in the fifth when Nicole Olmedo doubled and was sent home by Shelby Beaver, but it was not enough and Marist won 6-3 for the sweep. Ashley Corriss was 3 for 4 for Marist; Nicole Olmedo 2 for 3 for St. Pete's. Freshman Melanie White picked up the win.

Marist travels to Rider Sunday in a matchup between two 3-1 teams. St. Peter's will be in Siena with a 1-3 record. On a side note, it's interesting to see the St. Peter's team progressing as this season goes on. They're not quite over the hump yet, but the improvement from the past two seasons is noticeable.

Siena Climbs Back Into Race With Sweep Of Manhattan

Jessika-Jo hit the trifecta against Manhattan Saturday

Siena 7
Manhattan 1

Siena 10
Manhattan 2 (5)

Game One Box

Game Two Box

Jessika-Jo Sandrini led the Siena Saints with three home runs in their doubleheader sweep of Manhattan Saturday in Loudonville, NY.

The Saints uncoiled their bats in their MAAC home opener today, pounding out a dozen hits in each of their games against the Lady Jaspers. They opened game one by clubbing a pair of first inning solo homers, off the bats of Samantha Ray and Jessika-Jo Sandrini. It was the beginning of a huge day for J-J. The Saints continued with a four hit third inning that produced two more runs, with RBIs coming from a Meg Volz double and an Alyssa Sceppaguercio single. After the LJs scored their only run of the game in the top of the fifth with a Meghan McDevitt ground ball RBI, Siena added another pair, this time as a result of a Manhattan error that allowed Nastasha Powlowsky to scamper home; and a theft of home by Meg Volz. Lauren Milligan added a run in the sixth after a wild pitch. Jessika-Jo Sandrini, Meg Volz, Stephanie Viggiano and Nastasha Powlowsky all had two hits in the game. Jessika-Jo picked up the win in the circle, going the distance and allowing five hits. Jen Keller was 2 for 3 for the LJs.

Manhattan took the early 1-0 lead in game two, when Katie Bowen scored on Kelly Murray's first inning single. But it was a short lived lead, as Siena would explode for seven runs over the first two innings of a run rule win. Shannon Jones started the scoring with an RBI single that sent Samantha Ray home. Shannon scored after Jessika-Jo Sandrini blasted her second homer of the day; an Alyssa Sceppaguercio single gave Siena a 4-1 lead. The second inning was a bit of a carbon copy for the Saints---another Shannon Jones RBI single and another two run homer off the bat of Jessika-Jo gave the Saints a 7-1 lead. A Mickayla Romero RBI in the fourth inning cut Siena's lead to 7-2; but the Saints got that right back and more when Shannon Jones and Nastasha Powlowsky hammered solo home runs in the bottom of the same inning. The game became a walk off, run rule win when Samantha Ray doubled home Lyndsey McKeever in the fifth inning for a 10-2 final score. Shannon Jones and Nastasha Powlowsky were both 3 for 3; Jessika-Jo had her homers and four RBIs; Samantha Ray had a pair of hits. Amanda Filippazzo earned the win with a two hitter.

Siena continues MAAC play Sunday when they host St. Peter's. Manhattan will play a non-conference doubleheader at Hartford.

Stags Climb To .500 With Sweep Of Canisius

Sammy Ruffolo cleared the bases in game two

Fairfield 2
Canisius 1

Fairfield 4
Canisius 2

Game One Box
Game Two Box

The Fairfield Stags evened their record to 3-3 with a doubleheader sweep of Canisius in Buffalo, NY Saturday.

Fairfield's 2012 season was on the line when they stepped onto the field at the Demske Sports Complex today. The Stags had gotten off to a rough start this MAAC season, and needed two wins on the road. All the runs in game one were scored in the first inning. Fairfield came out of the gate with four hits against Canisius starter Jen Consaul. One out singles by Kimi Kurata and Lauren Liseth brought Ali Wigand to the plate, who sent them both home with a double. Canisius quickly loaded the bases in the bottom of the first, but Michelle DelPrince's run after Becca Trott's wild pitch would be the last score in this game for either team. Both pitchers would allow only three hits the rest of the way. Canisius would have one last great chance however. In the fourth inning, the Golden Griffins loaded the bases before making an out. Becca Trott shut the door though; Canisius could not even produce a sacrifice to tie the game. Lauren Liseth was 2 for 3 for the Stags; Lauren Falzone had a pair of hits for Canisius.

The Golden Griffins got on the board first in game two, once again in a bases loaded situation. Stephanie Pfentner singled home Val Nappo, and with only one out, it looked like Canisius might have a big inning. But Fairfield's Rae Ball prevented further damage with a timely one out strikeout before inducing a harmless fly ball to end the threat. Fairfield once again put up all their runs in one inning, scoring four times in the fourth. The Stags loaded the bases on three singles when freshman Sammy Ruffolo stepped up and drove a pitch to left field for a triple, giving the Stags a lead they would not relinquish. Tiffany Lawson singled Sammy home for a 4-1 Fairfield lead. Canisius would cut the lead in half thanks to a fifth inning Lizzy Gatto double, but the Griffs would get no closer than that. Rae Ball earned the win for Fairfield; Kimi Kurata had a pair of hits.

Fairfield will be at Niagara on Sunday. Canisius dropped to 2-2, and will host Iona Sunday.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Big Weekend Of MAAC Softball

This is the weekend when the MAAC race really should start to heat up. Expect the standings to change over the next few days, but to what? Niagara will be the last team to open conference play when they host Iona for a doubleheader Saturday. Iona and Fairfield are on their "western" trip, never an easy one, to play the Purple Eagles and Canisius. Weather may keep them there an extra day too, as Sunday calls for thunderstorms. The Golden Griffins hope to parlay their home field advantage into a quick conference start. Siena gets to play a pair of doubleheaders at home; Saturday against Manhattan, and Sunday against St. Peter's. After their disappointing extra innings loss at Canisius last week, the Saints need a big performance. St. Peter's has won an early MAAC game, as they did last season. The Peahens have been much more competitive in 2012 than the past two seasons; they will be lookong to "steal" one or two in Loudonville. But first they must play at Marist, who came so very close to sweeping Fairfield last week and dropping the Stags to an 0-4 start. The Red Foxes will then travel to Lawrenceville, NJ Sunday to meet Rider, which will be a pivotal matchup for positioning in the standings.

Should be a great weekend of can read all about it here!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cancer Awareness Weekend

Two benefits will be held this weekend in the fight against cancer.

Saturday at Canisius, between games of the doubleheader between Fairfield and the Golden Griffins, the Canisius game worn jerseys will be auctioned off; and donations of course will be accepted. More information here:

And Sunday at Niagara University after the completion of the Purple Eagles-Fairfield doubleheader, the Niagara Softball team will be holding its second annual "Slamphoma".

Monday, April 9, 2012

MAAC Stars Of The Week* 4/9/12

*Not the official MAAC Players Of The Week, but as chosen by this blog

Player Of The Week

Megan Lamoureux, Marist Red Foxes

Megan hit for a .667 average this past week. She had four hits in Marist's MAAC doubleheader vs. Fairfield, and drove home the tying run in the Red Foxes' 7th inning comeback win in game one of that conference series.

Pitcher Of The Week

Jen Consaul, Canisius Golden Griffins

Jen was 2-0 last week with a 1.23 ERA and 14 strikeouts. She pitched a 10 inning shutout vs. Mount St. Mary's, and a complete MAAC game win vs. Siena.

Freshman Of The Week

Robin Kennery, Canisius Golden Griffins

Robin batted for a .375 average last week, and drove home five runs. She drove home the winning run in Canisius' 1-0, 10 inning win vs. Mount St. Mary's; and scored the winning run in the Griffs' 10 inning MAAC win vs. Siena.