Kristen Filicia beat Canisius and the wind
Fairfield and Canisius played down to the wire, with the Stags prevailing on the opening day of the MAAC Championship in Poughkeepsie, NY.
Jen Consaul started in the circle for Canisius, and got into trouble very early. With one out in the bottom of the first inning, Sammy Ruffolo got things started for the Stags with a single to center field. A crucial error by shortstop Katie Lancellotti then allowed Lauren Liseth to reach base. Then with two outs, Rae Ball smashed a pitch down the left field line which got by outfielder Michelle DelPrince and allowed two runs to score. In the second inning, Jen Consaul issued a two out bases loaded walk that gave Fairfield a 3-0 lead, and ended her day. She was replaced by Caroline Main, who would go on to strike out eight Stags, and allow only one hit. But it was a huge hit.
In the meantime, the Golden Griffins mounted a comeback. In the top of the fifth inning, Val Nappo led off by smashing a Becca Trott pitch over the center field fence, cutting the Fairfield lead to two runs. In the top of the sixth inning, Lizzy Gatto hit a high fly ball to left field, which the wind blew back into the infield. Left fielder Tiffany Lawson got to the ball, but it bounced of her glove for an error, leaving Lizzy on second base. Katie Medina followed by smashing a double to center, cutting the Stags' lead to 3-2. Katie seemingly reinjured her knee on the play and did not return. Fairfield was clinging to it's lead in the top of the seventh inning, when Stephanie Pfentner hit a "no doubter" over the center field fence to complete the comeback.
On to the bottom of the seventh inning. Up until that point, Caroline Main was masterful, not allowing a hit in four innings of relief. But Fairfield would find power from an unlikely source. With one out, Kristen Filicia, known more for her great base running, stunned the crowd by driving a pitch through the wind and over the left field fence for the win. The Fairfield bench erupted; the Canisius bench sat in shock. Becca Trott earned the win for the Stags.
Fairfield advances to the winner's bracket against Iona at 11 am Friday. Immediately following, Canisius and Marist will try to stave off elimination.