Saturday, May 5, 2012

Niagara Sweeps Rider In Twinbill Marathon

Alexis Wayne scored the winner in game one, and drove home the winner in game two

Niagara 1
Rider 0 (12)

Niagara 5
Rider 4 (12)

Game One Box
Game Two Box

The Niagara Purples Eagles swept the Rider Broncs in a pair of extra innings games that took well over six hours to play Saturday in Lewiston, NY.

Wow. It was one of the greatest days of MAAC softball action, but this doubleheader probably topped them all. Niagara and Rider played a grueling two games Saturday. It was a very difficult pair of losses for the Broncs. They could have won both games. A lot of credit must go Niagara's way; having been eliminated Wednesday from tournament consideration, this team came to play. Game one was Rider's Rachael Matreale vs. Niagara's Kim Bryson. Not much more can be written about Rachael, she's had a fabulous senior season, and she was on her game again today. Unfortunately for Rider, it was Rachael of 2011 all over again. She lowered her ERA substantially, but ended with an "L" next to her name in the box score. Rider simply could not produce for her in game one, when a single run would have sufficed. Much of that had to do with the great pitching of Kim Bryson, who has been among the best in the MAAC the past couple weeks. Rider did get some runners to third base in this game, but Kim nailed shut the door every time. In the meantime, Niagara did not get a hit off Rachael until the fifth, and that a harmless two out single by Jessica Hitchcock that would be Niagara's only hit through seven regulation innings. But the Broncs could not get that one run. The game went on forever, until the bottom of the 12th. Alexis Wayne led off the frame by stroking a double down the left field line. Another single to left by Jaclyn Russell, and the game was over. It was a great pitchers' duel, and wouldn't have stung so bad for Rider excepting the circumstances of the standings.

Game two, however, would be a much more painful loss for Rider. The Broncs jumped on Niagara starter Julie DiMatteo for four runs in the third inning, with RBIs coming from Alyssa Paul, Sam Pugh, Heather Muscara and Lisa Blanton. Rider seemed assured of victory, and what was even better was that Kelsey Krisch was in the circle, and pitching a great game while Rachael Matreale rested. But it all fell apart with four unearned runs. A fifth inning error by first baseman Lucy Higgins gave Niagara an extra out which Becky Zill used to double home a run. That would have been OK if not for what happened in the sixth inning. An error by second baseman Amanda Irving, who had a great game at the plate hitting 4 for 5, gave Niagara an extra out which they used to tie the game. Pinch hitter Ali Grab singled home Jaclyn Russell to cut the Rider lead to 4-2. Then, with two outs and the bases loaded, Kelsey Krisch saw an opportunity to pick off Brittany Richberg, who was wandering off the bag, at second base. Unfortunately, she threw the pickoff attempt into center field, allowing two runs to score. So off to extras the game went. The game turned into a marathon exactly as game one, going 12 innings. Only this time, Rider had many chances to score, only to be blocked by reliever Bri Allen, who pitched nine shutout innings. The game again ended in the bottom of the 12th inning when Alexis Wayne drove home Becky Zill for the win. Becky was 3 for 6 in this game.

Niagara finished their MAAC season, which was hampered by a rash of injuries, strongly with a 7-9 record. They close their season Sunday when they host Binghamton for a non conference doubleheader.

As for Rider, the Broncs are currently 7-7. They are not out of the race, and in fact, a scenario, not far fetched, exists where they can make it with a split at Canisius and some help. But likely they will have to sweep the Golden Griffins, who are also fighting for a berth.

1 comment:

WNY Softball said...

For those wondering how Rider makes it without sweeping: they split, Marist and Siena both get swept, Rider wins the three way tiebreaker.