The Canisius softball team got back in the MAAC Championship tournament hunt with a pair of wins over Rider on Saturday afternoon, as the Golden Griffins defeated the Broncs 6-1 in game one before posting a 9-5 win in the nightcap. The Griffs are 16-26 overall and 6-8 in MAAC play while Rider slipped to 5-36 overall and 3-11 in conference action.
Canisius is now just one game behind both Manhattan and Monmouth for the sixth and final MAAC Championship slot. This is the first year the MAAC Championship will feature the league’s top-six teams. The Griffs have six league games left in the regular season, including a doubleheader with Monmouth at home Sunday. That MAAC doubleheader is scheduled to start at 12 p.m.
Canisius senior pitcher Jen Consaul earned the win in both games for the Blue and Gold as she improved to 15-16 on the season with the pair of complete games. In the first game, Consaul allowed just three hits and fanned seven en route to the win, and in the second game, the Chili, N.Y. native gave up 11 hits and struck out three. The back-to-back complete-games by Consaul gives her 28 on the season.
In the opening game, Canisius scored twice in the third and then added two more runs in the fourth to take a 4-1 lead after four innings of play. The Griffs got on the board first after an RBI-single by freshman Jessica Berzins and later in the third, fellow freshman Lindsey Silfer knocked in a run with a groundout to short. After Rider got a run back in the top-half of the fourth, Canisius took a 3-1 lead in the fourth after an RBI-double by sophomore Bethany DeMarco. Canisius redshirt sophomore Erica Afanador pinch ran for DeMarco and she scored moments later on a failed pick-off at third base to make the score 4-1 in favor of the home team.
Berzins had two hits and two RBI in the game one win, while junior Michelle DelPrince and sophomore Meghan Cuda each had multi-hit games as well in the win. DeMarco went 1-for-2 with a double, a run scored and an RBI for the Griffs.
In the second game, Canisius trailed 2-0 after 1.5 innings of play, but a two-run homer off the bat of sophomore Tori Nappo in the bottom of the second knotted the game at 2-2. Canisius took the lead for good in the third after a double down the leftfield line by DeMarco made the score 3-2. Canisius scored four times in the fourth and tacked on two more runs in the fifth on the power of a solo homer by junior Robin Kennery and an RBI-single off the bat of sophomore Alexis Roman.
Four Canisius players had multiple hits in the second game, with Kennery, Silfer and senior Valorie Nappo all posting three hits each in the victory. Kennery went 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored in the night cap, while Silfer scored twice and Valorie Nappo drove in a run and scored a run as well.
Canisius will continue its eight-game homestand on Sunday when the team plays host to Monmouth. Sunday will be the softball program’s Senior Day and at the conclusion of the doubleheader at the Demske Sports Complex, Canisius will take the time to honor seniors Jen Conaul and Valorie Nappo, who will be playing in their final home conference games.
Game Notes: Canisius is now 26-14 all-time against Rider and the Griffs are 9-0 at home against the Broncs since 2006… Consaul has started 15 of the team’s last 16 games since April 7… As a team, Canisius has 47 doubles on the season and Berzins has been credited for nine of those… DeMarco doubled her total number of two-base hits on the year with a double in each game... The two-run home run by Tori Nappo in game two was the first of her career.