The Canisius softball team split a conference doubleheader with long-time rival Niagara Thursday afternoon at the Demske Sports Complex. The Purple Eagles (5-25, 2-6 MAAC) took game one by the score of 1-0 before the Golden Griffins (18-15, 3-3 MAAC) bounced back to win the nightcap 2-1. With the victory in game two, Canisius has officially secured the 2012-13 Canal Cup as the winner of the Battle of the Bridge, an annual all-sports completion between the two Western New York rivals.
Game One - Niagara 1, Canisius 0
Niagara junior pitcher Jennifer Sansano threw a complete-game shutout and allowed just two hits while striking out eight to help lead the visiting Purple Eagles to a 1-0 win. Niagara scored the game’s only run in the top half of the first on an RBI-double by Alexis Wayne that allowed teammate Becky Zill to score from second. Canisius had the bases load with one out in the second, but Sansano got out of trouble with a strikeout and with a fly ball out to end the frame. Canisius sophomore Robin Kennery and senior Katie Medina each had singles in the game one loss for the Blue and Gold, and the Griffs ended the game by leaving five runners on base.
Canisius senior Amanda Baun was the tough-luck loser in the circle in game one, as she allowed one run, an unearned run, on three hits while striking out seven and walking three. Wayne, Zill and junior Brittany Richberg collected Niagara’s three hits as the Purple Eagles posted just their second win in their last 10 outings.
Game Two - Canisius 2, Niagara 1
Canisius junior Jen Consaul posted a complete-game win in the circle and Kennery and freshman Bethany DeMarco each had a pair of hits as the Griffs beat Niagara 2-1 to secure the 2012-13 Battle of the Bridge championship. Canisius got on the board first with a single run in the bottom of the third. In that inning, freshman Meghan Cuda led off with a walk and moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by junior Valorie Nappo. After Kennery lined a base hit up the middle, Cuda moved to third and she scored moments later on a ground ball to short off the bat of senior Stephanie Pfentner. The Griffs added an insurance run in the home half of the sixth on a double-steal play that saw senior Chloe Contreras race home from third base to make the score 2-0.
Niagara attempted to mount a comeback in the seventh and cut the lead in half on an RBI-single by senior Gabby Lustrinelli. Trailing 2-1 with runners at first and second and two outs, Consaul locked in and got a ground ball out to end the game. Consaul allowed just one run, an unearned run, on five hits while fanning six. Niagara starter Kim Bryson took the loss in the circle after she allowed one run on four hits with three strikeouts and two walks in 3.1 innings of work. Sansano came on in relief and gave up a run on three hits while fanning two.
Kennery went 2-for-3 on the day and stole a career-high three bases in the win for Canisius, which ended game two by swiping a total of six bases. DeMarco went 2-for-2 and freshman Tori Nappo went 1-for-3 with a stolen base. Zill had a team-high two hits in the second game for Niagara.
Canisius will continue its homestand on Saturday, April 20, when the team plays host to Manhattan at the Demske Sports Complex. Game one of the MAAC doubleheader is set for 2 p.m.Game Notes: This marked the 108th and 109th all-time meeting between these two schools in softball, where Canisius leads the series 87-21-1… The Griffs are now 16-0 this year when leading after six innings… The 2-1 win marked the first time this year Canisius scored two or fewer runs in a game and won… Consaul’s win gives her 14 on the year, which leads the Canisius pitching staff… Kennery now leads the team with her .364 batting average and she has a team-high 39 hits this season… The stolen base for Contreras in the second game was her first of the season... Between games, Canisius hosted a home run derby where fans could participate by making a $5 donation to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. The event raised more than $250.