The Canisius softball team split a MAAC doubleheader at long-time rival Niagara on Monday afternoon, taking the first game 4-0 before falling in the nightcap by the score of 11-5. The split moves the Golden Griffins to 13-25 overall and 4-8 in MAAC play, while the Purple Eagles see their record go to 13-24 overall and 3-9 in conference action.
Canisius senior Jen Consaul picked up her team-leading 12th win in the circle for the Blue and Gold in game one after she went the distance and fanned six while giving up just three hits en route to her fifth shutout of the season. Canisius scored two unearned runs in the top of the first to take a 2-0 lead, and then added two more insurance runs in the fifth when freshman Lindsey Silfer scored on a Niagara error and then fellow freshman Sam Sharkey knocked in a run with a base hit. That was all the help Consaul would need in game one as she ended the game by allowing just one Niagara base runner to reach third in the final three frames of the contest.
Canisius collected five hits off Niagara starter Jennifer Sansano, who took the loss after she allowed four runs, one earned, on five hits while striking out 10 and walking six. Silfer had a double, her seventh of the season, in the fourth inning and senior Valorie Nappo was credited with an RBI in the win, her 13th of the year. Consaul’s win improved her to 12-15 on the year for the Griffs, and the complete-game effort was her 24th of the season.
The Griffs jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first in game two thanks to an RBI-single by Silfer, and after the Purple Eagles knotted the game at 1-1 in the second, Canisius scored twice in the third and two more times in the top-half of the fourth to take a 5-1 lead. Junior Robin Kennery and Silfer each had runs batted in for the Griffs in the third as the team took a 3-1 lead, and in the fourth, Canisius took a 4-1 advantage when sophomore Meghan Cuda hit her team-leading ninth homer of the season. Later that inning, Valorie Nappo came around to score from second after a wild pitch and a throwing error by Niagara’s catcher. That would be the last time the Blue and Gold would score on the day however, as Niagara tallied two runs in the bottom of the fourth to make it a 5-3 game, and then the Purple Eagles erupted for eight runs in the sixth, highlighted by a grand slam off the bat of designated player Ali VanGiesen.
Canisius pounded out 12 hits in the loss, led by Silfer’s three hits in the nightcap. She was one of five Canisius players to have multiple hits in the losing effort, as freshman Jessica Berzins had two hits along with junior Michelle DelPrince. Sophomore Alexis Roman had two hits for the Blue and Gold in game two, while Cuda and Valorie Nappo had two hits as well. Consaul took the loss for the Griffs in the second game after she allowed 11 runs, three earned, on 12 hits to go with three strikeouts and a walk. Niagara’s Sydney Smyers moved her record to 2-1 after she went 2.2 innings and gave up just two hits to pick up the victory.
Canisius will open an eight-game homestand on Thursday, April 24, when the team plays host to Syracuse in non-league action. First pitch at the Demske Sports Complex is set for 3:30 p.m.
Game Notes: Canisius leads the all-time series with Niagara by an 88-22-1 count… Canisius has more wins over Niagara than any other opponent... Consaul has pitched 82-straight innings for Canisius, dating back to April 7… Cuda’s homer in game two, her ninth of the season, is the most for a sophomore in school history and ranks her tied for third on the school’s single-season home run chart… Silfer now has reached base safely in 15 of the team’s last 16 games… The win in game one by Canisius officially locked up the 2013-14 Canal Cup for the Griffs… The Canal Cup is presented annually to the winner of the Battle of the Bridge, an all-sport competition between Canisius and Niagara… The Griffs have now won the Canal Cup four years in a row.