The Canisius College softball team closed out the 2012 regular season in style on Sunday by sweeping visiting Rider University by scores of 8-2 and 3-2 on Senior Day at the Demske Sports Complex. The Golden Griffins close out the regular season with a 19-28 overall record and an 11-5 mark in MAAC play, and the two wins on Sunday secured the Blue and Gold's berth into next weekend's MAAC Softball Championship, which will be held at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Canisius junior Katie Medina went a combined 3-for-4 with a home run, three RBIs and two runs scored in the twinbill sweep of Rider, which saw its season come to an end with a 20-33-1 overall record and a 7-9 record in conference action. Medina's homer, her first of the season, just cleared the fence in right in the home half of the first in game one to give the Griffs a 3-0 lead. Leading 3-1 as the first game went into the bottom of the third, Canisius pushed its lead back to three at 4-1 after Medina drove a single to center that allowed senior Lizzy Gatto to score from first. Rider cut into Canisius' cushion in the top half of the fifth with a single run, but again the Griffs' offense answered, as the Blue and Gold scored four times in the fifth to seal the victory. In that inning, senior Lauryn Chris cleared the bases with a one-out double to the gap in left center that allowed Medina, sophomore Valorie Nappo and freshman Robin Kennery to cross the plate.
Canisius starter Jen Consaul picked up her team-leading ninth win of the season in the first game after she allowed one run on four hits while striking out two in four innings of work. Senior Caroline Main earned her third save of the season, and second save this week, after she closed out the final three innings where she allowed one run on three hits while fanning five and walking one.
In the nightcap, Canisius scored two times in the bottom of the first inning thanks to an RBI-double by Gatto and an RBI-single off the bat of Kennery. The Broncs knotted the game at 2-2 in the top of the fourth, and the game would remain tied at 2-2 until the Griffs' broke through in the sixth inning with a sacrifice fly. Medina got the sixth started for the Blue and Gold with a base hit to center, and then was lifted from the game for junior pinch-runner Chloe Contreras. After Nappo dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move Contreras to second, she would later advance on a base hit to left by Chris. With one out, junior Stephanie Pfentner took a 2-2 offering to center, and Contreras was able to beat the throw home to give the Blue and Gold their fifth-straight win and their 10th victory in the team's last 13 contests.
Main earned her seventh win of the season in the circle after she gave up two hits in 3.1 innings of work to go with two strikeouts. Canisius freshman Corrine Schaus started the game for the Griffs and gave up two runs on six hits while striking out two in 3.2 innings of action.
The Griffs will enter next week's MAAC Softball Championship as the No. 3 seed, and the team will play No. 2 seed Fairfield in the first game of the tournament Thursday, May 10 at 12 p.m.
Game Notes: Canisius is now 23-13 all-time against Rider... Dating back to 2006, the Griffs are 7-0 at home against Rider, having outscored the Broncs 47-9 in those seven victories... Canisius' current five-game win streak is it's longest of the season... The Griffs have scored first in a game 25 times this season and hold a 13-12 record in those game... Canisius' win in game one was the program's 315th MAAC win in school history... Medina's home run in game is her first since March 30, 2010 at Youngstown State... Chris' three RBIs in the game one victory stand as her career-high for RBIs in a game... Senior Katie Lancellotti has now reached base safely in six-straight games... Main's save in game one gives her three this season, making her 12th pitcher in program history to earn three saves in the same year.