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.

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