Games 32-33 Cancer Awareness Day Canisius (17-14, 2-2 MAAC) vs. Niagara (4-24, 1-5 MAAC) Date: Thursday, April 18, 2013 Time: Game One starts at 3 p.m. Place: Demske Sports Complex – Buffalo, N.Y. Live Stats: Through GoGriffs.com Twitter: @GoGriffs (athletic department) or @Griffssoftball (softball) Hashtags: #Griffs #MAACSoftball
SOFTBALL RENEWS RIVALRY WITH NIAGARA THURSDAY
The Canisius College softball team continues its 10-game homestand Thursday afternoon when the Golden Griffins play host to long-time rival Niagara at the Demske Sports Complex.
The Griffs are 17-14 overall and 2-2 in MAAC play after splitting a doubleheader with Marist at home April 13. Canisius enters the Niagara series having won four of its last five games, dating back to April 6 at Rider.
This series is worth two points in the annual “Battle of the Bridge” series, an all-sport competition developed to enhance the historic rivalry between the two Western New York schools. Canisius starts Thursday’s action with a 16-11 lead in the current standings. With one more point earned, Canisius secures the Canal Cup for the third-straight year.
Thursday’s series with Niagara also marks Canisius’ annual “Cancer Awareness” games. Between games, Canisius will be hosting a home run derby where fans can make a donation to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for three swings at the fences.
Dating back to 2006, Canisius is 41-15 in its last 56 home contests at the Demske, a win percentage of 73.2 percent.
The Griffs are hitting .307 as a team, which leads the MAAC and ranks 41st in the country.
Canisius has four players hitting .300 or better (among batters with two plate appearances per game), led by sophomore Robin Kennery with her .356 batting average.
Kennery is tied for the team lead in hits with freshman Meghan Cuda. Both players have 36 hits on the season. Kennery has five doubles, a triple and a team-high two home runs to her credit while Cuda has 13 extra-base hits, highlighted by her seven triples.
Cuda ranks first in the nation with her 0.23 triples per game, and he seven three-base hits this year through 31 games are the most for a Griff since Katie Miranto had eight triples during the 2008 campaign.
As a team, Canisius has hit 50 doubles and 14 triples this year. The Blue and Gold leads the nation with 0.45 triples per game as a team.
Kennery’s 27 RBIs through 31 games leads the way for Canisius. The Griffs start the Niagara series with eight players boasting 10 or more runs batted in this season.
As a team, the Blue and Gold leads the MAAC and ranks 69th in the nation in scoring average with 5.2 runs per outing.
Junior pitcher Jen Consaul starts the Niagara series with a 12-7 record to go with a 2.76 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 114.1 innings of work. She has started 16 games for the Blue and Gold in 2013 and she comes into this twinbill with 13 complete-games, which ties her for 18th on the school’s single-season complete-games list.
As a team, Canisius’ pitching staff has a 3.89 ERA this year. That ranks third-best in the conference.
The Purple Eagles are 4-24 overall and 1-5 in MAAC play after losing a single-game to Akron by the score of 4-1 on Tuesday at home.
Junior Brittany Richberg leads the Niagara offense with her .377 batting average. She has a team-high 29 hits through 28 games.
Senior catcher Becky Zill is hitting .289 with five doubles, one triple and four homers to go with a team-leading 17 RBIs.
As a team, Niagara is averaging 2.96 runs per game, which ranks eighth in the MAAC and 258th in the nation. The team is hitting a collective .242 on the year, which ranks last in the conference and 234th nationally.
Junior pitcher Jennifer Sansano has all four of the team’s wins in the circle this season. She also leads the Purple Eagles’ pitching staff with her 2.96 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 85 innings of action.
CANISIUS – NIAGARA SERIES
This doubleheader will mark the 108th and 109th all-time meetings between Canisius and Niagara on the softball field, with the Golden Griffins holding a 86-20-1 lead in the series.
Canisius has played more game (107) against Niagara than any other softball opponent.
Last season, Canisius swept the regular-season doubleheader at Niagara. The Griffs come into this series having taken five of the last eight games from the Purple Eagles.
Canisius assistant coach Al Dirschberger is in his first year on the Golden Griffins’ staff after spending 22 years as the head coach for Niagara’s softball program. The all-time winningest coach in Niagara softball history, Dirschberger led the Purple Eagles to the 1998 NCAA Tournament after the team won the MAAC Championship.
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