|Niagara's Des Maldonado had a big day Friday|
The Niagara Purple Eagles and Fairfield Stags split the opening doubleheader of MAAC conference play Friday in Shirley, NY.
Yes, this MAAC doubleheader was played on neutral ground due to Fairfield's field not being quite ready for use. But the Stags rolled to victory in game one anyway. It was Niagara who got the scoring started though when Desarae Maldonado drove home Taylor Moody, who had doubled. But a big four run third inning gave Fairfield momentum they would not lose. Two run singles by both Sammy Ruffolo and Sam Frungillo spearheaded the Stags' four hit inning. An RBI single by Lauren Filicia in the fourth inning, with an unearned run, and a two RBI double by Shelby Buttwell in the sixth inning added up to an 8-2 Fairfield win. Sammy Ruffolo had three hits in the game for Fairfield. The Stags used all three of their starting pitchers, with freshman Destinee Pallotto getting the win. Sydney Smyers took the loss for Niagara.
Niagara entered game two having lost their first 19 games of the season, but it would not extend to 20 games as they won impressively 7-1. Desarae Maldonado set the tone with a two run homer in the fourth inning, giving the Purple Eagles a lead they would not relinquish. Fairfield had a good chance to score in the bottom of the fourth inning, but Niagara ended that threat with a double play which included Tori Reed getting thrown out at home. Tori was 3 for 3 in the game. The score remained 2-0 through six innings, with Niagara junior transfer Taylor Greiger shutting down the Stag offense. Niagara was hoping for an insurance run in the top of the seventh inning, but got five of them instead. An RBI single by Taylor Moody, and two doubles, one by Chanelle Ward, the other by Desarae Maldonado scored the runs. Desarae was 4 for 4 in the game; and finished the day with six hits and four RBIs. Taylor Greiger earned her first division one win, while Lauren Falkanger suffered the loss for Fairfield.
Fairfield is 1-1 in the MAAC. They will play Canisius on Sunday at the same neutral site. Niagara is also 1-1 in the MAAC; they will be at Iona Sunday.