Tuesday, April 17, 2012

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.

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