Thursday, May 3, 2012

Canisius Takes Over 4th Place With Sweep Of Niagara

Val Nappo delivered two big hits in game one

Canisius 4
Niagara 3 (10)

Canisius 3
Niagara 2

Game One Box

Game Two Box

The Canisius Golden Griffins put themselves in the driver's seat with a sweep of rival Niagara Wednesday in Lewiston, NY.

This mid-week MAAC doubleheader was filled with postseason implications for the two teams on the field, and other teams in the conference. Game one was a ten inning classic; with both teams fighting for a tournament berth. Canisius got on the board in the top of the first inning when Robin Kennery drove home Katie Lancellotti, who had previously singled and stolen a base. The Purple Eagles tied the game right up in the bottom of the same inning when Jen Hare singled home Jessica Hitchcock. Jen kept her bat hot in the third inning when she smashed a homer over the center field fence which also scored Ambur Farmer, and gave Niagara a 3-1 lead. The Golden Griffins began to chip away at Niagara's lead in the top of the fourth inning when Lauryn Chris hit a two out double that scored Robin Kennery. Lauryn was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a triple, so Niagara maintained a 3-2 lead. Canisius tied the game in the top of the sixth inning after Lizzy Gatto led off with a single, stole second base, got to third on a wild pitch, and was sent home by Val Nappo's two out single.

Both teams had excellent chances to win it in the seventh inning. Canisius got runners to second and third bases, but Niagara starter Kim Bryson got a key strikeout against Robin Kennery and a grounder from Katie Medina to end the threat. Ambur Farmer opened the bottom of the inning with a bunt single, and was moved to second base by Becky Zill. Jen Hare, who had driven all of Niagara's runs, then stepped to the plate and drove a pitch to right field for a hit. Ambur was sent home with what would have been the winning run, but was gunned down by the Griffs' Lauren Falzone, sending the game to extra innings. Niagara would load the bases in the bottom of the ninth inning, but Canisius reliever Caroline Main struck out Alexis Wayne to extend the game. Canisius won it in the top of the tenth inning. Lizzy Gatto led off with a walk, which was Kim Bryson's first of the game, and was bunted to second base by Robin Kennery. With two outs, Val Nappo singled to score Lizzy for a 4-3 lead. Although Niagara got a base runner to second in the bottom of the inning, Caroline Main ended the game with a pair of strikeouts, earning a win. Lauryn Chris was 3 for 5; Lizzy Gatto scored twice. For Niagara, Brittany Richberg was 3 for 3; Jen Hare 3 for 4. It was a hard fought and drama filled game.

Game two was a must win for Niagara, but Canisius scored three runs in their first at bat. Niagara starter Bri Allen suffered some control problems with walks, and illegal pitches. The Griffs had only one hit in the first inning, Katie Medina's RBI single, but jumped to a lead they would never relinquish. Kim Bryson re-entered the fray after pitching ten innings in game one, and did a great job under the circumstances, shutting down the Griffs the rest of the way. In the meantime, freshman Corinne Schaus started for Canisius. She allowed an unearned run in the third inning after an error and infield single by Jen Hare, who drove home her fourth run of the day. Niagara scored another run in the fifth inning without ever getting the ball out of the infield, benefiting from a pair of passed balls and a fielder's choice RBI by Becky Zill. Caroline Main pitched the final two innings for Canisius, earning a save after retiring all six Purple Eagles she faced.

Niagara is now 5-9, and out of contention for this season. It was a difficult year for the Purple Eagles, who have suffered many injuries, and have often play with a patched up lineup.
Canisius is now 9-5, and possession of the fourth and final spot for the tournament. They will host Rider Sunday for what should be a huge doubleheader.

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