Thursday, April 30, 2015

Canisius Sweeps Niagara

Freshman Madi Weathers tossed a one hit shutout
Canisius 9
Niagara 0 (5)

Canisius 12
Niagara 0 (5)

The Canisius Golden Griffins moved into first place in the MAAC with their doubleheader sweep of the Niagara Purple Eagles Wednesday in Buffalo, New York.

Canisius actually began game one playing "small ball", methodically moving Lindsey Silfer around the bases in the second inning for a 1-0 lead. After that, they simply started pounding the ball, and the floodgates opened for two easy wins. Two doubles and a triple gave the Griffs a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning, with RBIs coming from Jessica Berzins, Michelle DelPrince and Lindsey Silfer. They then concluded the game with a five hit, five run onslaught in the bottom of the fourth inning. Alexis Roman, Lindsey Silfer and Sammy Sharkey all earned RBIs. Erika Mackie got her fifth shutout of the season in the 9-0 run rule game.

Game two was more of the same, with the Griffs pounding out 14 hits. Madi Weathers threw a one hitter, never giving Niagara a chance. Jessica Berzins and Meghan Cuda hit triples in this game, keeping the Griffs number one in the nation in that category. Meghan drove home three runs; Jessica drove home two. Bethany DeMarco had two RBIs; and freshman Moriah Harris hit 3 for 3 in the 12-0 romp.

Canisius is now 13-3, and in first place holding (for now) the tiebreaker. They must hit the road for their final four MAAC games. Niagara fell to 4-12, but are not yet eliminated.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Manhattan And Canisius Split; First Place Undecided

Manhattan 9
Canisius 1 (5)

Canisius 6
Manhattan 4 (8)

The Manhattan Lady Jaspers and Canisius Golden Griffins split a critical MAAC doubleheader Sunday at the Demske Sports Complex in Buffalo, New York.

Manhattan blew open game one of this series when Jenn Vazquez blasted a grand slam home run in the top of the fourth inning (shown in video above). This one big hit stunned the Griffs, as the game had been close prior to it. Canisius took the early 1-0 lead thanks to Lindsey Silfer's second inning home run. RBI singles by Amanda Paxson and Jenn Vazquez gave the LJs a 2-1 lead in the top of the third inning, setting the stage for Jenn's home run. She finished the game with five RBIs. It was Elena Bowman, hitting her 15th home run of the season, who caused the game to end early in the fifth inning. She is now just one homer away from tying the all-time MAAC career home run record. She also hit two doubles in the game. Manhattan's freshman Victoria Ross hit her first career home run. Amy Bright got the circle win; Erika Mackie suffered the loss.

Canisius would have to shake off their stunning defeat and prepare for game two. To their credit they did so, and handed Manhattan a stunning defeat. This was a classic game, with the lead changing hands. Michelle DelPrince continued her hot streak with a solo homer in the bottom of the first inning to give Canisius a 1-0 lead. Canisius starter Madi Weathers kept Manhattan off the board until the top of the fifth inning when Amanda Paxson singled home two runs to give her team a 2-1 lead. But the Griffs responded in the bottom of the same inning when a perfect suicide squeeze bunt by Alexis Roman scored Meghan Cuda to tie the game, and a sacrifice fly by Moriah Harris scored Jessica Berzins to put Canisius in front again. Sydney Weedon's lead off home run in the top of the sixth inning knotted the game at 3-3, and Manhattan went in front 4-3 in the top of the seventh inning thanks to Stephanie Reinhardt's RBI single. It was looking good for Manhattan to all but clinch the top spot, but Michelle Delprince smashed a double down the right field line in the bottom of the seventh, eventually scoring on a sacrifice fly by Lindsey Silfer to send this important game to extras. It was in the bottom of the eighth inning, with the game still tied and with two outs and two strikes, when Meghan Cuda sent a towering blast well past the center field fence (shown in video above) to end the game. Canisius players went into a frenzy; Manhattan players walked off dejected as the race for first place and the right to host the tournament remained undecided. Freshman Madi Weathers earmed the circle win, striking out eight. Amy Bright, in relief, took the loss.

Manhattan is now 13-3. Canisius is 11-3, and will host Niagara on Wednesday in a MAAC makeup. This will likely come down to the last weekend; tiebreakers may decide who will host.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Saints Clinch Berth With Sweep

Alyssa Lancaster had 4 hits in the MAAC doubleheader
Siena 7
Monmouth 3

Siena 9
Monmouth 1 (5)

The Siena Saints swept a MAAC doubleheader Sunday in Loudonville, New York over the Monmouth Hawks, securing themselves a spot in the upcoming MAAC Championship.

The Siena Saints completed a dominant home conference weekend with these wins. Game one did, however, find them trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Hawks had just gotten RBIs from Justene Reyes and Rachel Shotzbarger, overcoming Siena's 1-0 lead which had come as a result of a Paige Lloyd RBI back in the third inning. But the Saints exploded for six runs in the bottom of the sixth - all of them after two outs had been made against them - to coast to a 7-3 victory. The RBI parade was thus: Stephanie Viggiano, Sammy Smaldone, Abby Carpenter, Paige Hess (2) and Alyssa Lancaster. They were smacking the ball hard too! Amanda Gatt struck out six in earning her second win of the season.

Game two was more of the same, although it didn't last as long, just five innings and a 9-1 Siena win. Sammy Smaldone and Paige Lloyd gave the Saints a third inning 2-0 lead with RBI hits. Vanessa Cardoza drove home a run for the Hawks in the fourth, but then the Saints went through three Monmouth pitchers in the bottom of the fifth, pounding out seven runs. Only the mercy rule ended the onslaught. Stephanie Viggiano both drove home a pair of runs in the inning. Abby Carpenter added another, and Alyssa Lancaster finished the game early with an RBI single. Lauren Butts earned another win, allowing just two hits. She surrendered a measly five for the weekend.

Siena is 11-5, and will participate in their third consecutive MAAC tournament, nice for a program that used to be on the outside looking in. Monmouth is 8-8, and still in the final slot. They have work to do, as Marist is hot on their heels at 7-9. The Hawks will be hosting a Canisius team looking to clinch first place so they can host the tournament, so Monmouth will not be facing a team playing out the string when they next play a conference game.

Saints' Pitchers Mow Down Rider

Freshman Lauren Butts tossed a three hitter in game two of sweep
Siena 3
Rider 0

Siena 7
Rider 0

The Siena Saints swept a MAAC doubleheader over the Rider Broncs Saturday in Loudonville, New York.

The Siena Saints' young pitching duo has shown steady improvement over the course of the season, and Saturday they posted a double shutout. Amanda Gatt was in the circle for game one, and delivered a dominating two hit performance, striking out a dozen Broncs. But the game was scoreless through the first four innings, with Rider's Delany DeMello keeping her team in the contest. The Saints, however, would put up three runs in the bottom of the fifth to take the win. Abby Carpenter's two run double and an RBI single off the bat of Paige Hess gave Amanda Gatt more than enough support.

Another dominating pitching performance gave the Saints an easy 7-0 win in game two. Lauren Butts scattered three hits while striking out nine, making sure the Broncs never had a chance. Abby Carpenter and Paige Hess blasted homers for Siena; Paige Lloyd, Stephanie Viggiano and Chelsea Stout added RBIs.

Siena improved to 9-5, and would clinch a spot in the tournament with a Sunday sweep. Rider fell to 4-10 and are mathematically alive, but face elimination Sunday.

Monmouth And Marist Split Key Series

RaeLynn Galindo's game two home run gives Monmouth the edge
Marist 13
Monmouth 4 (6)

Monmouth 3
Marist 1

The Monmouth Hawks and Marist Red Foxes split a MAAC doubleheader that had tournament implications Saturday in Poughkeepsie, New York.

With the top six in the MAAC nearly settled, this doubleheader featured two teams fighting for inclusion. Monmouth, with the better record entering the twinbill, needed to avoid the sweep that Marist was looking for. Predictably, the games were intense. Game one saw the teams trading leads until the Red Foxes ended it with a big inning. Justene Reyes' suicide squeeze bunt in the top of the first inning scored Emma hill, giving Monmouth a 1-0 lead. Colleen McWilliams' two run home run blast in the bottom of the second inning put the Red Foxes in front 2-1, but the Hawks would regain their lead in the top of the next inning, thanks to a home run off the bat of Justene Reyes and an unearned run due to error scored by Emma Hill. Marist tied the game quickly in the bottom of the third when Becca Freeman delivered an RBI double. Monmouth again forged in front, 4-3 in the top of the fifth inning, thanks to an RBI single by Ashalynn Umiamaka. But Marist kept fighting for their season, tying the game with Janna Korak's RBI single in the bottom of the fifth, and exploding for nine runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, ending early what had been a tight contest. In that sixth inning, Gabrielle Kelliher's two run homer gave the Red Foxes a 6-4 lead; RBI hits by Maureen Duddy and Kyrsten Van Natta, plus a bases loaded walk to Janna Korak increased the lead to 9-4. Freshman Sam Reilly then hit a dramatic walk off grand slam home run to seal the win. Melanie White improved her circle record to 12-10.

The stakes for game two were high. The winner would take possession of the sixth and final tournament slot, and hold the tiebreaker over the loser. Again, it was an intense contest. And again, Monmouth took the early lead, this time in the top of the third inning with Emma Hill scoring once more after Ashalynn Umiamaka sent her home. The bottom of the same inning saw Marist quickly tie the game when Becca Freeman sent a blast over the center field fence. The game remained tied until the top of the fifth inning when, after Jill Freese opened the frame with a single, RaeLynn Galindo hit a home run over the left field fence to give the Hawks a lead they would not relinquish. Marist did load the bases with no outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, but Vanessa Cardoza and catcher Jill Freese turned a double play that snuffed that threat. Freshman Amanda Riley, pitching a fine game on the road, earned the win.

Monmouth is now 8-6 in the MAAC, and control their own fate. Marist is 6-8, and will need to win perhaps their final games while hoping for some help.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Manhattan And Canisius Take Care Of Business

Michelle DelPrince hit a homer and triple good for 5 RBIs in Griffs' game two romp
It's no secret that Manhattan and Canisius are playing for a position in the MAAC driver's seat Sunday, but first both teams had to get through doubleheaders in which they were heavily favored. It can be tempting to "look past" these kinds of games, but both teams were prepared and won easily over the MAAC's bottom two teams.

At Niagara, Manhattan swept the Purple Eagles 12-0 (5) and 11-3. The big news there was Elena Bowman's 14th home run of the season, and freshman Briana Matazinsky continued her torrid streak with her third grand slam homer of the season.

Meanwhile, a few miles away at Canisius, the Griffs made short work of their doubleheader vs. St. Peter's, winning two five inning run rule games, 10-2 and 9-0. Jessica Berzins continued her .400 hitting with another fine day, including a walk off home run in game one. Michelle DelPrince showed why the Griffs are second in the nation in triples, with her MAAC leading fifth of the season; she added a homer and drove home five runs in game two.

Manhattan at Canisius on Sunday will begin at 11 AM EDT. Both teams are already virtually assured of a spot in the tournament, but the new format this season calls for the number one seed to host. So a lot to play for.

Gaels' MAAC Win Streak At Eight

Christine Costello tossed a two-hitter in game one
Iona 3
Quinnipiac 0

Iona 3
Quinnipiac 2

The Iona Gaels swept the Quinnipiac Bobcats in a MAAC doubleheader Saturday in New Rochelle, New York.

When the Iona Gaels were swept at Rider in early April, things weren't looking so good for the defending champions. After all, they stood at 2-4 with their All-MAAC pitcher on the sidelines for the season. But champions have a habit of hating to lose, and since that time they've won nine of ten conference games, and their last eight consecutive conference games, making them the hottest team in the MAAC. The Gaels got good pitching again Saturday - first in game one when Christine Costello shutout the Bobcats 3-0. She allowed just two hits, struck out seven and walked only one. An RBI single by Kristen Turner and a two RBI single by Katie Newton gave her plenty of cushion for an easy win.

Jordan Courage continued her solid MAAC pitching in game two, winning 3-2. Kristen Turner started things off in the first inning with an RBI good for a 1-0 Iona lead. QU did respond with Nikki Barba's RBI single in the top of the third inning to tie the game, but Tori Danner gave the Gaels the lead right back in the bottom of the same inning when she singled home a run. After Quinninpiac's Casey Herzog once again tied the game, 2-2, with a sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth inning, Iona responded immediately again with Kelsey Long homering in the bottom of the frame. That was all Jordan Courage would need as she scattered five hits while walking no one.

Iona improved to 11-5; Quinnipiac fell to 5-11.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Pivotal Weekend In The MAAC

Games played at the Demske Sports Complex may decide site of MAAC Championship
After this weekend's series of MAAC doubleheaders, we may have a clearer picture of who will be in this season's tournament (six teams qualify), and where that tournament will be played.

Manhattan, currently in first place, makes a western trip this weekend. Their doubleheader at Canisius is setting up to be the games of the season thus far. It's likely this will be a battle for first place, and this season that means the opportunity to host the tournament. These games will be played on Sunday.

Marist broke a conference slump when they beat Quinnipiac in extra innings last weekend, but the Red Foxes have more work to do in order to qualify for the tournament. They are at the moment on the outside looking in, but one of the teams they are chasing, Monmouth, will be in Poughkeepsie Saturday for a crucial MAAC doubleheader. A sweep by either team means tiebreaker superiority.

Siena has an opportunity, with four conference games at home, to solidify their standing in the top six. They will host Rider and Monmouth. Speaking of Rider, they will (realistically) need a sweep of games this weekend to keep their hopes alive. After playing the Saints on Saturday, they will travel to Quinnipiac. QU also needs a sweep to stay alive, and they have been playing better as of late. The Bobcats will face a tough test at Iona on Saturday. The Gaels have been among the hottest teams in the MAAC, and a sweep for them would virtually clinch a spot in the tournament. Fairfield still has an opportunity to host the tournament (as they did last season, under the old format). They will play at Marist on Sunday. Niagara is still mathematically alive, but can't afford losses. St. Peter's has been eliminated.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Sunday In The MAAC

Katie Gruarin made two big plays in Niagara's win over Siena
The Iona Gaels continued their hot streak by sweeping first place Manhattan in New Rochelle. They jumped to a 6-1 lead in game one, thanks in large part to Christine Costello's second grand slam homer in two days. But the Jaspers were not to be outdone in that category - Briana Matazinsky hit her second grand slam in two days with two outs in the seventh to tie the game. The Gaels scored the winner in the ninth inning after an error, which marred an otherwise great game. Manhattan stormed to a 5-0 early lead in game two, with Jenn Vazquez notching a pair of RBIs. But the Gaels mounted a comeback, scoring the game's final nine runs. Sarah Schutz blasted a three run homer that tied the game; Kristen Turner and Christine Costello both drove home two runs. Jordan Courage pitched six innings of relief for the circle win.

Marist and Quinnipiac played a doubleheader in Hamden that resulted in two dramatic finishes. Game one was tied 2-2 in the seventh inning as a result of Marist getting a home run from Sam Reilly and QU getting RBIs from Sydney Robey (who hit 3 for 3 in the game) and Abby Johnson. It was Jordan Paolucci, on fire since her return, who delivered the big hit, a two run walk off homer for a 4-2 win. Game two got even more intense, with both teams trying to stay in the thick of the MAAC race. Jordan Paolucci gave the Bobcats the lead in the first inning with an RBI single; the lead held until the top of the sixth when Colleen McWilliams singled home a run to tie it up for the Red Foxes. Kyrsten Van Natta's seventh inning homer gave Marist the lead, but only temporarily. Abby Johnson's single in the bottom of the seventh, aided by an error, tied the game once more. Then the marathon began, with the teams trading good scoring chances that went for naught. It wasn't until the top of the 12th inning that Marist broke the ice, with Maureen Duddy singling, stealing a base and eventually scoring on Becca Freeman's sacrifice fly for a 3-2 win.

Niagara hosted Siena Sunday for their MAAC doubleheader, and the Purple Eagle snapped a losing streak by winning game one 2-1 behind a fine pitching performance by Sydney Smyers. Katie Gruarin gave Niagara the lead in the third inning with an RBI triple. Alyssa Lancaster's RBI single in the top of the sixth inning drew the Saints even, but Niagara got that right back in the bottom of the same inning when Amanda Werth singled Ally Gay home with the eventual winning run. Siena threatened in the seventh inning, but center fielder Katie Gruarin chased Paige Hess's long fly ball and caught it at the fence for the game's final out. The Saints rebounded for the split, winning game two 4-1. A three RBI double by Brooke Taylor gave them all the runs they would need in the third inning; Abby Carpenter added an RBI for the Saints.

St. Peter's earned their first MAAC win of the season when they beat Rider 12-8 in game one of a doubleheader in Jersey City. The Peacocks hit five home runs in this one, with Crystal Carlucci hitting two of them. Rider won the second game 9-2. Montana Berg, Gina McCool and Megan McDonough each drove home two runs. Megan got the win in the circle, striking out eight.

Fairfield traveled to Monmouth for that MAAC series. MU took game one 8-0 in five innings. Justene Reyes drove home three runs for the Hawks; Ashalynn Umiamaka drove home a pair. Vanessa Cardoza homered, and freshman Amanda Riley scattered three hits for the circle win. It was all Fairfield in game two, as they grabbed a big lead early en route to a 10-2 win. Lauren Filicia had a big game at the plate, hitting 3 for 4 with a pair of RBIs. Kate Robinson continued her fine season with a home run. Nicole Capra also hit one out of the park for the Stags, and Bri Levick was 3 for 4.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Saturday In The MAAC

Jordan Courage's one hitter completed Iona's sweep at Marist
Interesting Saturday for MAAC softball. Manhattan took sole possession of first place with their sweep of the Bobcats at Quinnipiac. Game one saw freshman Briana Matazinsky drive home all Manhattan's runs in a 6-4 win. She did this with two home run blasts - a two run shot in the second inning, then a grand slam in the sixth. The second homer overcame Quinnipiac's 4-2 lead. Amy Bright earned her 11th win. In game two, Manhattan scored three times in the first inning, with Elena Bowman driving home a pair of runs and Anna Crowley the other. Quinnipiac freshman Casey Herzog entered the circle with no outs in the top of that first, and one-hit Manhattan the rest of the game. The Bobcats tried to rally, but came up short, 3-2. QU got RBIs from Hannah Lindsley and Keilani Finley.

Iona went to Marist and shutout the Red Foxes twice in earning a sweep. Christine Costello got the win in game one, 3-0, scattering four hits. She also drove home a run, but it was Courtney Miller's second inning two run homer that provided all the runs the Gaels would need. Melanie White struck out 11 in defeat. Jordan Courage pitched game two, giving up a single in the second inning, and nothing more. She struck out four. Christine Costello hit a grand slam home run for Iona, who improved to 7-5 in the MAAC.

Siena, playing on their home field, gained a crucial sweep over Canisius that gives them a record of 6-4. They dominated game one, winning 6-2. Stephanie Viggiano drove home a pair of runs, with single RBIs coming off the bats of Abby Carpenter, Paige Hess, Lauren Milligan and Brooke Taylor. Amanda Gatt got the win, allowing just five hits. Game two saw Siena behind 5-3 headed to the bottom of the seventh inning. Lindsey Silfer drove home two runs, helping the Griffs to the lead. But a Paige Lloyd single (she was 4 for 4 in the game) followed by Abby Carpenter's home run tied the game quickly. This was followed by Paige Hess hitting a double. Paige moved to third base on a wild pitch, then scored the winner after Alyssa Lancaster's pop single. Lauren Butts earned the win for the Saints. Canisius lost their first two conference games of the season.

Fairfield extended their conference winning streak to eight games with their sweep of the Broncs at Rider. The Stags came from behind in both games. Anglelina McGuire drove home the winner in the top of the seventh inning of the 4-3 game one. Kate Robinson drove home two for Fairfield in the game; Rider's Monica Clark did the same. The Stags came from behind in game two, winning 6-3. Ally Breeden's two run homer and Gina McCool's RBI gave the Broncs a 3-1 lead, but it would not last. A four run sixth inning gave the Stags the lead, with Kristen Ball driving home two runs; Lauren Filicia and Tori Reed also drove home runs. Destinee Pallotto earned the circle win.

Monmouth visited St. Peter's, and game one turned into a wild affair with the Hawks winning 15-11 in nine innings. Rachel Shotzbarger drove home five runs for Monmouth, with her teammate Vanessa Cardoza adding four RBIs. Taylor Corretjer hit 4 for 4 for the Peacocks. Monmouth completed the sweep with an 11-4 win in game two. Rachel Shotzbarger drove home another three runs in this game, and hit a home run. Vanessa Cardoza also added to her day's total, with a homer and three RBIs herself. Brooke Redmond also drove home three runs for the Hawks.

After Saturday's games, the standings took a bit of a jostling. Same thing could happen Sunday after five more doubleheaders!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

MAAC Softball Race Tightens

This past weekend's conference games marked the point where the race for the 2015 MAAC championship gets heated and interesting. Two teams have risen to the top, while a logjam has been created of teams fighting for position. The top six will qualify for postseason play. Of course, the standings are still subject to dramatic change with many games remaining. Also part of the race is the new tournament format - #1 seed will host. Here's a brief look at what's happening.

Manhattan and Canisius have both gotten off to 8-0 starts. Both teams are also on top statistically in hitting and pitching. Manhattan appears to have the more difficult remaining schedule, and must travel to Canisius for a doubleheader, in two weeks. That should be an epic matchup, and it may decide who will host the tournament. Fairfield, after a slow start, has risen all the way to third place as of this writing. This seems to be a repeat of their 2014 season. Their young players are developing quickly, and their pitching is steadily improving. Defending champion Iona suffered a bit of a slump, but rebounded nicely last weekend taking three of four games. The Gaels can still smack the ball around, as evidenced by Kristen Turner's weekend performance. However, their All-MAAC pitcher Carly Argyle will not return to the lineup, and will redshirt. The Gaels also suffered the loss of All-MAAC shortstop Bri Schauer, whose career has sadly ended with injury. Siena had a setback this past weekend, getting swept in their home opener. But they are still in good shape, and hold the tiebreaker over Marist. The Saints are a good hitting team, whose pitching has steadily improved over the course of the season. The Red Foxes lost a pair of close games at Canisius, and will look to rebound this weekend with four games they will be favored to win. They're getting solid pitching from their two starters, and have a balanced lineup. The injury bug has struck them though, and it appears All-MAAC outfielder Taylor Kuzma is out for the season. No word on her redshirt status as of this writing. Monmouth lost a pair of games at Manhattan this past weekend, getting shutout twice. But they played the most challenging preseason schedule of all the MAAC teams, and they hope this will pay off in the home stretch. Rider is much improved this season, getting their best pitching since Rachael Matreale roamed the circle. This coming weekend's games, particularly against Fairfield at home, are a huge test for them. They have a good opportunity to establish themselves as contenders. Quinnipiac got a "shot in the arm" with the return of their star player Jordan Paolucci, and went home with a 4-4 record. They have a big matchup with Fairfield today - a split would be big for them. Niagara and St. Peter's will have to wait till next year, as they say. Both have suffered pitching woes. Niagara clearly misses their All-MAAC player Bridget Hogan, who was to be their number one pitcher this season. And St. Peter's has regressed, allowing double figure runs to their MAAC opponents far too often.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Griffs Sweep Marist In Dramatic Fashion

Michelle DelPrince's walk off grand slam won game two

Canisus 1
Marist 0

Canisius 9
Marist 5 (8)

The Canisius Golden Griffins swept the Marist Red Foxes in a MAAC doubleheader Sunday in Buffalo, New York.

This was a matchup between two teams that had poured on the offense in their previous doubleheaders. But, as usual, what we got in game one was a pitchers' duel! Erika Mackie pitched her second consecutive MAAC shutout for the Griffs in a 1-0 win, scattering four hits. Her team gave her just enough to win in the fourth inning. That was when catcher Lindsey Silfer launched a rocket over the center field fence for the game's only run. Melanie White also pitched very well for Marist, striking out seven Griffs in taking the hard luck loss.

Canisius was cruising with a 5-1 lead through game two's first six innings when things got interesting in the seventh. They took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning thanks to Sam Sharkey's RBI double. Marist would tie the game in the top of the fourth when Janine Lalli scored on a passed ball, but Canisius would put up a four run fifth inning with a two RBI double by Lindsey Silfer and an RBI by Alexis Roman that put them up comfortably...or so they thought. Marist, however, mounted a furious comeback in the top of the seventh to tie the game. Gabrielle Kelliher's RBI single cut the Canisius lead to 5-2, then the Red Foxes would score three more runs, all while down to their last out. After Kourtney Paul scored on a wild pitch, Kyrsten Van Natta delivered a huge single that scored two runners and made the score 5-5. Erika Mackie entered the game in relief at this point, and wound up with her second win of the day. She did so because with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, senior Michelle DelPrince, with the bases loaded, hit a bomb over the left field fence, which you may view in the video above. Lindsey Silfer had three hits for Canisius, as did Maureen Duddy for the Red Foxes.

Canisius is now 8-0 in the MAAC; Marist fell to 4-4.

Manhattan Off To Their Best Start Ever

Another shutout for Amy Bright
Manhattan 5
Monmouth 0

Manhattan 5
Monmouth 0

The Manhattan Lady Jaspers swept the Monmouth Hawks Sunday in a MAAC doubleheader in Riverdale, New York as they established the best conference start in their history.

Amy Bright was the starter for Manhattan in game one, and she continued her shutout streak with a masterful four hit performance. Briana Matazinsky gave her all the runs she would need by smashing a two run homer in the second inning. The game remained close, but the Hawks could not solve Amy Bright. Jenn Vazquez then continued her hot streak with a three run home run in the fifth inning that sealed a 5-0 win.

The Lady Jaspers got another shutout performance in game two, this time from Briana Matazinsky, who scattered five hits in the 5-0 win. Elena Bowman hit her MAAC leading 11th homer in the first inning, leaving her just six home runs short of tying the all-time conference record. Again the game was close, and again Monmouth could not solve the Manhattan pitching. Finally the LJs broke it open with a four run sixth inning. Jenn Vazquez's two RBI double and Briana Matazinsky's two RBI single finished off the Hawks.

Manhattan is now 8-0 in the MAAC; Monmouth fell to 4-4.

Jordan Paolucci Returns; QU Sweeps

It was a long road back for senior Jordan Paolucci
Quinnipiac 8
Niagara 3

Quinnipiac 2
Niagara 1

The Quinnipiac Bobcats swept the Niagara Purple Eagles in a MAAC doubleheader Sunday in Lewiston, New York.

Quinnipiac softball record holder Jordan Paolucci led the MAAC in conference game hitting in 2014 (although inexplicably left off the All-MAAC team), but did so while struggling through injury. Four surgeries and months of rehabilitation later, she finally made it back on the field this past weekend, giving a lift to her team who swept a doubleheader that put them back in contention. She was her old self it seemed, getting three hits and driving home as many runs. Niagara took a 1-0 lead in the first inning of game one, with Chanelle Ward's single driving home the run. But the Bobcats would take a 2-1 lead in the top of the second inning, thanks to Keilani Finley's solo homer and Molly Jarrett's RBI double. Desarae Maldonado's two run line drive home run in the third inning gave the Purple Eagles the lead once more, but the Bobcats took control of the game after that. It was Jordan Paolucci who drove home the winner for QU in the top of the fourth when she smashed a two run double. Hannah Lindsley's homer, plus RBIs from Abby Johnson and Miranda Magana concluded the Bobcats' 8-3 win. Hannah Lindsley earned the win in relief, pitching three no hit innings.

Game two was much closer, with both teams scoring a run in the third inning. Jordan Paolucci doubled home a run for the Bobcats, while Chanelle Ward singled one home for the Purple Eagles. The score remained tied until the top of the sixth inning, when Maria Ascher's RBI single gave QU the 2-1 win. Hannah Lindsley earned her second win of the day, with Sydney Robey picking up a save in relief.

Quinnipiac is now 4-4 in the MAAC; Niagara fell to 1-7.

Kristen Turner Hits Four Homers In Iona Sweep

Kristen "Grand Slam" Turner back among MAAC leaders in homers
Iona 18
St. Peter's 0 (5)

Iona 13
St. Peter's 6

The Iona Gaels swept the St. Peter's Peacocks in a MAAC doubleheader Sunday in Jersey City, New Jersey.

The Iona Gaels went on a 31 run onslaught Sunday to get themselves back into contention in the MAAC. And they were led by their prolific home run hitter Kristen Turner, whose arms must be tired today from swatting so many softballs over the fences! Kristen clubbed a total of four home runs Sunday, to lift her back among the MAAC's leaders in that category. She smashed three of them in game one, hitting 4 for 5 with five RBIs in the Gaels' 18-0 romp. And that game ended after five innings. Christine Costello also hit one out, and finished the game with four RBIs. Courtney Miller hit a homer as well, driving home four runs herself. Allie Hand had four hits, and Jessica Harkness earned the circle win, allowing just three hits.

More of the same in game two for Iona in a 13-6 win. Kristen Turner blasted a two run homer over the center field fence in the first inning, her fourth of the doubleheader and fifth in three games. Lauren Filardi hit 3 for 3 for the Gaels; Ashlynn Morris drove home three runs, with Allie Hand driving home another pair. Stacey Klempel hit a three run homer for the Peacocks. Sarah McMahon earned the circle win.

Iona improved to 5-5 in the MAAC; St. Peter's fell to 0-10.

Surging Stags Sweep Siena

Another big day for .400 hitter Tori Reed
Fairfield 10
Siena 2

Fairfield 5
Siena 4 (9)

The Fairfield Stags swept the Siena Saints in a MAAC doubleheader played Sunday in Loudonville, New York.

The Fairfield Stags completed a weekend MAAC sweep with two wins at Siena, the first coming in impressive fashion. Tori Reed got things started for the Stags with an RBI single in the top of the first inning. The .400 hitter would be heard from again later. Another Stag who has been playing great softball as of late, Kate Robinson, smashed a double in the top of the third inning good for three runs and a 4-0 Fairfield lead. Abby Carpenter's solo home run in the bottom of the fourth inning got Siena on the board, but the Stags would blow the game open with a five run sixth inning. Tori Reed doubled home a run for her second RBI of the game; Sam Frungillo and Gianna Kinhofer also drove home runs. Siena errors scored Fairfield a couple more. Tori Reed drove home another for the Stags in the seventh inning, giving her three for the game. She is among the MAAC's top hitters. Lauren Falkanger got the win in the 10-2 final.

The Stags picked up where they left off to begin game two. Sam Frungillo singled home a run in the first inning for a quick 1-0 Fairfield lead. It was Tori Reed time again, this time with a two run homer in the top of the third inning increasing her team's lead to 3-0. Stephanie Viggiano's RBI single in the bottom of the fifth inning cut the Fairfield lead to 3-1, but the Stags got that run back in the top of the sixth inning thanks to Nicole Capra's RBI single. The game entered the bottom of the seventh inning, and it was desperation time for the Saints who had been behind all day. Walks to Melanie Kalesse and Lauren Milligan, however, set the stage for Siena's .400 hitter Paige Lloyd. It was clear Paige had no choice but to swing for the fences, and she did so. With two strikes against her, she sent a towering blast over the center field fence to tie the game, which sent her teammates into a frenzy. Siena then did get a runner into scoring position, but could not get the winner home. The game got to the ninth inning, and it was again Kate Robinson delivering a big hit for the Stags, this time a homer over the left field fence for the win. Lauren Falkanger earned her second win of the day in relief.

Fairfield is now 5-3 in the MAAC, and suddenly among the leaders. Siena fell to 4-4.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Manhattan Remains Perfect With Comeback Win

The red hot Jenn Vazquez delivered the winner in both games
Manhattan 2
Rider 0

Manhattan 3 
Rider 2

The Manhattan Lady Jaspers swept a a MAAC doubleheader over the Rider Broncs Saturday in Riverdale, New York,

Two very close, well pitched games between the MAAC rivals. Game one featured a complete game shutout by Manhattan's Amy Bright, who struck out seven in a three hit performance. Jenn Vazquez opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning with an RBI single, and added another RBI single in the fifth inning. Jenn had been in a little slump for part of the season, but that's ancient history, as game two would confirm. Delany DeMello pitched well for Rider, but took the loss.

The Broncs bounced back in the second game, taking a 2-0 lead thanks to a Megan McDonough RBI single in the first inning, and a Gina McCool sacrifice fly RBI in the third inning. Mickayla Romero's RBI in the fourth inning cut the Rider lead to 2-1, and then the Manhattan power hitters would decide the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. First it was Elena Bowman clubbing a pitch over the left field fence. Then Jenn Vazquez delivered her second game winning hit of the day with a blast over the center field fence. Rider's power hitter, Dana Sensi, barely missed giving her team the lead back in the seventh inning; instead it was just a long fly out as they say. Briana Marazinsky earned the win, with Amy Bright picking up the save.

Manhattan is now 6-0 in the MAAC, the second time in three seasons the LJs started with that record. Rider fell to 3-5.

Canisius Off To Best Start Since '08 With Sweep

.400 hitter Jessica Berzins was a perfect 3 for 3 in game one
Canisius 8
Quinnipiac 0 (6)

Canisius 17
Quinnipiac 2 (5)

The Canisius Golden Griffins swept a pair of run rule MAAC games over the Quinnipiac Bobcats Saturday in Buffalo, New York.

The MAAC hitting leaders had an easy time of it Saturday evening. The Griffs have seven players hitting over .300, and had plenty of contributors in this sweep. Canisius starter Erika Mackie made it easy for her team. After allowing a lead off single to Nikki Barba, the freshman no hit Quinnipiac the rest of the way, earning her third one hit shutout for the season. Alexis Roman got her team in the lead with a first inning RBI triple. Canisius continues to lead the nation  in triples per game. Jessica Berzins, continuing her torrid pace, gave the Griffs a 2-0 lead in the second with an RBI single. Lindsey Silfer smashed a ground rule double in the third inning good for another run. Errant play by QU scored a few more for the Griffs, and Jessica Berzins then added her second RBI of the game to increase the lead to 7-0. Alexis Roman got her second RBI of the game in the sixth, and it was of the walk off variety.

Game two saw the Golden Griffins crush the Bobcats 17-2. This was QU's first ever visit to the Demske Sports Complex, and it did not leave a pleasant memory. Michelle DelPrince hit a homer and drove home four RBIs for the Griffs. Freshman Moriah Harris hit her first career home run, a towering blast that sailed over the right field fence. Lindsey Silfer drove home two more runs, and the Griffs stole 10 bases in the game; 17 in the doubleheader. Madi Weathers earned the circle win, striking out five.

Canisius improved to 6-0 in the MAAC, their best start since 2008. Quinnipiac fell to 2-4.

Red Foxes Go On Hitting Rampage

Kyrsten Van Natta hit for the cycle in game one
Marist 12
Niagara 0

Marist 14
Niagara 3 (6)

The Marist Red Foxes swept a MAAC doubleheader over the Niagara Purple Eagles Saturday in Lewiston, New York.

Game one was all Marist all the time as they pounded out 20 hits. Junior Kyrsten Van Natta actually had a slow start in this game with a simple fly out for her first at bat. After that she would hit safely seven consecutive times in the doubleheader, and in this game would hit for the cycle. First a triple, then a home run, then a single, then a double. In all, she drove home five runs. She wasn't the only one who had a great game. Colleen McWilliams had her best outing as a college player, hitting a perfect 4 for 4 with three RBIs. She had six consecutive hits in the doubleheader. Becca Freeman also had herself a four hit game. Melanie White never gave Niagara a chance, striking out eight batters for the win.

Game two was more of the same; even more so. Sam Reilly led the way with a home run and four RBIs; she had three hits in the game. Kyrsten Van Natta and Becca Freeman each had three hits, with Colleen McWilliams adding a pair of to her total. Marist collected a total of 14 hits, with Jayne Oberdorf cruising to an easy win.

Marist improved to 4-2 in the MAAC; Niagara fell to 1-5.

Iona And Monmouth Split

Justene Reyes drove home all the Hawks' runs in game two
Iona 8
Monmouth 4

Monmouth 3
Iona 2

The Iona Gaels and Monmouth Hawks split a MAAC doubleheader Saturday in West Longbranch, New Jersey.

The Monmouth Hawks opened the scoring in game one when Ashalynn Umiamaka continued her hot streak with an RBI single in the bottom of the first inning, good for a 1-0 lead. But after that, Iona would jump into the lead, and stay there for the rest of the game. The Gaels went in front 3-1 in the top of the second inning, with RBIs courtesy of Lauren Filardi, Kelsey Long and Allie Hand. An unearned run in the bottom of the same inning pulled Monmouth to within 3-2, but Kristen Turner's RBI double in the top of the third restored the Gaels' two run lead. The Hawks got another unearned run in the bottom of that the third inning, but Iona responded again in the fourth - this time with three runs. Katie Newton drove home a pair of runs with a single, and Brianna King drove home another, giving Iona a 7-3 lead. Chloe Howerth drove home a run in the bottom of the fourth inning, but Lauren Filardi's second RBI of the game gave the Gaels the 8-4 win. Christine Costello earned the circle win, allowing only two earned runs.

Iona took a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning of game two when Kristen Turner blasted a two run home run over the left field fence. However, the Gaels would have to wait until the seventh inning to get their next hit as Monmouth freshman pitcher Amanda Riley would shut them down for the rest of the game. In the meantime, her teammate Justene Reyes would provide her with the runs she needed for a 3-2 win. Justene singled home a run in the bottom of the first inning; then singled home the tying and eventual winning runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Kristen Turner got both Iona hits.

Iona is now 3-5 in the MAAC; Momouth is 4-2.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Stags Back In Contention With Sweep Of St. Peter's

Kate Robinson celebrates her home run, part of a big day for the Fairfield freshman
Fairfield 11
St. Peter's 0 (5)

Fairfield 4
St. Peter's 3

The Fairfield Stags swept the St. Peter Peacocks in a MAAC doubleheader Saturday in Fairfield, Connecticut.

No team in the MAAC may have been more effected by this weather beaten softball season than Fairfield. The Stags had seemed to have trouble getting their season going. But recently, their play has improved with the emergence of some key young players. The Stags' sweep of St. Peter's got them right back into the MAAC race. Game one was over quickly. The Stags scored five runs in the first inning to set the pace for an easy win. Freshman Kate Robinson, on a hot streak as she begins to see significant playing time, smashed a three run homer in the frame. SPU errors led to two more runs. Sam Frungillo hit a two run home in the second inning for a 7-0 lead; and in the third inning, Fairfield scored four runs. Another RBI off the bat of Kate Robinson, and RBIs by Sammy Ruffolo and .400 hitter Tori Reed gave the Stags the run rule 11-0 win. Lauren Falkanger earned the circle win, allowing just a bunt single while striking out five.

Game two was much closer though, as St. Peter's jumped to a 1-0 lead thanks to Lee Harrison's home run in the top of the second inning. An RBI by Makenna DiGiulio and an unearned run due to error gave Fairfield a 2-1 lead. But Lee Harrison struck again, this time with a two run homer in the top of the fourth inning, and SPU was once again, 3-2. Kate Robinson, with her fifth RBI of the doubleheader, singled home the tying run in the bottom of the same frame. Then in the bottom of the sixth inning, Nicole Capra drove Gianna Kinhofer, who had led off the inning with a double, home with the winning run in a 4-3 Fairfield victory. Nicole Gardon earned the win in four innings of relief.

Fairfield is now 3-3 in the MAAC, and among the top six. St. Peter's fell to 0-8.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Streaking Saints Sweep Marist

Amanda Gatt's game two shutout completed Siena sweep
Siena 7
Marist 5

Siena 3
Marist 0

The Siena Saints swept a MAAC doubleheader over the Marist Red Foxes at wind swept Gartland Field in Poughkeepsie, New York Saturday.

The day was looking good for Marist in the first inning of game one. The Red Foxes jumped in front 2-0, with unearned runs scored by Maureen Duddy and Kyrsten Van Natta. A bases loaded walk in the top of the second inning made it a 2-1 game; then Marist increased their lead to two runs once more with a Becca Freeman RBI single in the bottom of the second inning. After this point, the rest of the day would mostly go the way of the Saints. Two unearned runs and an RBI by Sammy Smaldone gave Siena a 4-3 lead in the top of the third inning; they would not be behind the rest of the day. Bridget Connors' RBI single in the top of the fifth inning increased Siena's lead to 5-3. Wind was a factor in all MAAC games Saturday; left handed hitter Paige Lloyd then smacked a pitch that sailed over the left field fence for a two run home run and a 7-3 Siena lead. Marist added two more runs, but fell, 7-5. Lauren Butts earned the win with a seven strikeout performance.

Game two featured a great pitching performance by Amanda Gatt. The Saints' sophomore transfer was brilliant with a two hit performance. She struck out 11 Red Foxes; and was in complete control of the game. The Saints got on the board in the second inning with a pair of doubles. Alyssa Lancaster smashed a pitch down the left field line, then was driven home by Chelsea Stout. In the third inning, Siena scored two runs with another double, this time off the bat of Sammy Smaldone. This was all the Saints would need as Marist could manage only two singles in the game.

The Saints have won 9 of 11 games, and are 4-2 in the MAAC. The Red Foxes fell to 2-2.

Broncs Sweep Defending Champs

Dana Sensi tied for MAAC lead in homers and RBIs
Rider 3
Iona 2

Rider 8
Iona 5

The Rider Broncs swept a MAAC doubleheader over the Iona Gaels Saturday in windy Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

The Broncs staged two comebacks during their significant MAAC sweep, which showed them to be a contender for a tournament spot. Iona took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning of game one due to a bases loaded walk to Allie Hand. The Gaels would hold that lead, with solid pitching from Christine Costello, until the bottom of the sixth inning. The Broncs scored three, two out runs in the inning, beginning with Gina McCool's two run double. Pinch runner Toni Nino, in flight on a steal attempt, would score what proved to be the winning run when Megan McDonough singled during the play. Kristen Turner singled home a run in the top of the seventh inning to pull the Gaels to within a run, but shortstop Gina McCool threw out Sarah Schutz attempting to score, and Rider won 3-2. Delany DeMello earned the circle win.

Iona took a 1-0 lead in the second inning of game two when Kristen Turner doubled and was driven home by Katie Newton's single. Rider jumped in front 2-1 in the fourth inning when Dana Sensi singled home a run and Josettee Spencer scored after an error. The Gaels regained the lead however with two runs each in the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth, Katie Newton drove home her 2nd run of the day with a single; then Christine Costello put her team in front with an RBI double. In the sixth, Kristen Turner and Sarah Schutz singled home runs to give the Gaels a 5-2 lead. But Rider was not to be denied, and scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take the game 8-5. The highlight of the inning was Dana Sensi's grand slam home run. Dana was 6-6 in the doubleheader, is now hitting .403, and is tied with Manhattan's Elena Bowman for the MAAC lead in home runs and RBIs. Also driving home runs in the inning were Kim Valdes and Megan McDonough. Megan earned the circle win with a seven strikeout performance. Delany DeMello pitched the seventh inning and picked up a save.

Rider is now 3-3 in the MAAC; Iona fell to 2-4.

Monmouth Sweeps Quinnipiac

Ashalynn Umiamaka leads Monmouth in RBIs
Monmouth 9
Quinnipiac 1 (6)

Monmouth 6
Quinnipiac 5

The Monmouth Hawks swept a MAAC doubleheader from the Quinnipiac Bobcats on a windy Saturday in West Longbranch, New Jersey.

Quinnipiac took a 1-0 lead in game one with a first inning sacrifice fly RBI by Casey Herzog, but after that it was all Monmouth as they cruised to a 9-1 win. The Hawks tied the game in the bottom of the same inning thanks to Ashalynn Umiamaka's RBI. The junior transfer has been driving home lots of runs as of late, and is among the MAAC's leaders in that category. In the third inning, Justene Reyes' single produced two runs, and gave MU a 3-1 lead. In the fourth inning, Ashalynn Umiamaka's two RBI single made it 5-1. A four run sixth inning ended this game early, highlighted by Kayleena Flores' walk off two run double. Sydney Underhill earned the win, striking out six batters.

Game two was much closer, and apparently affected by advisory type winds in the area. The game was tied 1-1 after an inning, with QU's Dani Edmands delivering an RBI single while the Hawks' Chloe Howerth scored on a wild pitch. Ashalynn Umiamaka's double and Justene Reyes single gave Monmouth a 3-1 lead after three innings. But Quinnipiac would come back to take the lead, somewhat aided by the gusty winds in the fourth inning. Molly Jarrett's RBI single cut the lead to 3-2, then the Bobcats would score three unearned runs to take the lead at 5-3. Two of the runs came on a two out, dropped fly ball which allowed the batter, Nikki Barba, to make it all the way home. RBIs by Rachel Shotzbarger and Justene Reyes tied the game for Monmouth in the bottom of the fifth inning, and a two out error in the bottom of the sixth inning scored Chloe Howerth and gave the Hawks the 6-5 win. Breanna Sniffen got the win with 3.1 innings of shutout relief.

Monmouth is now 3-1 in the MAAC; Quinnipiac fell to 2-2.

Manhattan Sweeps St. Peter's

Mickayla Romero delivered the winner in game two
Manhattan 18
St. Peter's 1 (5)

Manhattan 2
St. Peter's 1

The Manhattan Lady Jaspers swept the St. Peter's Peacocks in a MAAC doubleheader Saturday at windy Gaelic Park in Riverdale, New York.

In the third inning of game one, with the bases loaded, MAAC hitting leader Elena Bowman of Manhattan was intentionally walked. Yes, you read that right...a free run was given for fear of a grand slam home run being hit by the player who has seemingly gotten into the heads of MAAC coaches. Jenn Vazquez was the beneficiary, as she blasted a home run following this. Stephanie Reinhardt had preceded this incident with a grand slam home run herself, and the shell shocked Peacocks did not want an immediate repeat, so they walked Elena. This was all part of an 11 run inning barrage by Manhattan, as they easily cruised to victory. The Lady Jaspers hit seven home runs in the run rule shortened game. Jenn Vazquez added another blast; Anna Crowley, Amanda Paxson, Sydney Weedon and Mickayla Romero also homered in the 10-1 win.

Speaking of Mickayla Romero, the third baseman is having a tremendous senior season which may have gone a bit unnoticed due to Elena Bowman's epic year. But it shouldn't go unnoticed - she has delivered many big hits for Manhattan, including the winning home run in game two of this doubleheader, which was a much different game than the one preceding it. St. Peter's, to their credit, came out strong and took the lead with a first inning solo home run by Taylor Corretjer. They got very good pitching from Alyssa Ruiz, who held the Lady Jaspers to just two runs, one of them coming as a result of a bases loaded walk to Jenn Vazquez in the bottom of the first inning. Manhattan couldn't get the go ahead run until the fifth inning, when Mickayla Romero led off with her homer. Briana Matazinsky earned the win for Manhattan, striking out five. On a side note: in the doubleheader, senior Amanda Paxson was hit by pitch for the 50th time in her career...ouch!

Manhattan is 4-0 in the MAAC; St. Peter's fell to 0-6.