Niagara Snaps Manhattan’s Winning Streak
NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, NY – In a doubleheader that was delayed a week, the Manhattan College softball team split a pair of games with Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) rival Niagara on Friday. The Jaspers (21-11, 8-2 MAAC) earned a 2-1 win in the opener before the Purple Eagles (11-17, 3-5 MAAC) rallied to take game two at Niagara Softball Field by a 7-5 count.
Manhattan got all the offense it needed in the second inning of game one, scoring a pair of runs. Kat Prevo (San Diego, CA) ripped a two-out single, then came across on an error when Stephanie Reinhardt’s (Albany, NY) base hit was misplayed in left. Victoria Ross (Bloomfield, NJ) was up next, and she crushed a double to left that gave the Jaspers a 2-0 advantage.
Niagara started the bottom of the second with three straight singles that cut the Jaspers’ lead to 2-1. After a bunt put runners on second and third with one out, Briana Matazinsky (Valley Falls, NY) got out of the jam with a line drive to first and a grounder to second. The Purple Eagles threatened again in the third, but Matazinsky induced another groundout to end the inning without a run scoring.
Matazinsky (12-3) would end up allowing just the one run in a complete game effort. She scattered seven hits and struck out three without issuing a walk. Matazinsky also had a double in the game. The RBI double by Ross was the Jaspers’ only other extra-base hit, while Prevo and Reinhardt scored the Manhattan runs.
Kendall Watkins and Jerri Ann Orfano both went 2-for-3 for Niagara, and Orfano drove in Watkins for the Purple Eagles’ only run. Starting pitcher Jennifer Szilagyi (3-8) took the loss after allowing two runs on five hits with four strikeouts and a walk in five innings. Emily Johnston tossed two scoreless innings, giving up two hits while striking out one and walking one.
Two days after tossing a no-hitter against Saint Peter’s, Nicole Williams (Ansonia, CT) gave up three runs in the first inning of game two. Watkins ripped an RBI single before Orfano followed with a two-run double. Niagara then added another tally on a Maria Gabriele sacrifice fly in the third.
The Purple Eagles increased their advantage to 6-0 with a pair of runs in the fourth, but Manhattan responded with two in the top of the fifth. Reinhardt led off the inning with a single, then Ross reached on catcher’s interference before Jenn Vazquez (Fairfield, CT) drew a walk to load the bases. Lauren Pitney (Ansonia, CT) followed with a single up the middle that knocked in two, cutting the Jaspers’ deficit to 6-2.
Prevo then made it 6-3 with her first career home run, a solo shot to left, in the sixth. However, Niagara got that run back in the bottom of the sixth, and the Purple Eagles took a 7-3 advantage into the seventh.
Pinch hitter Dominique Palagruto (Sewell, NJ) drew a walk to lead off the top of the seventh, and Rachael Mumma (Mechanicsburg, PA) followed with a pinch hit double to right. A run scored when Vazquez reached on an error, then the Jaspers moved within 7-5 on a fielder’s choice. That brought the tying run to the plate with one out, but Matazinsky grounded out and Christine Gebhardt (Middletown, NJ) flew to center, as Niagara snapped Manhattan’s five-game winning streak.
For the Jaspers, it was just the second loss in their last 16 games. This also marked the first time that Manhattan allowed more than three runs since a 10-9 victory over Mount St. Mary’s on March 24, a span of 14 contests.
Gebhardt finished 2-for-4 in game two, while Pitney went 1-for-4 with three RBIs. Prevo was 1-for-3 with a home run. Vazquez, meanwhile, recorded the other Manhattan RBI in the contest. Williams (5-4) lasted three innings in the circle. She yielded four runs on five hits, struck out four and walked two. Kayla McDermott (Garnerville, NY) allowed two runs on four hits and recorded a strikeout in two innings of relief, and Stephanie Kristo (San Jose, CA) was charged with a run, two hits and a walk in the sixth.
Chanelle Ward and Sarah Trifoso each recorded three hits and scored two runs. Ward also had an RBI, while Orfano drove in two. Sierra Bertrand (7-5) surrendered five runs (three earned) on six hits, struck out 12 and walked five in the complete game victory.After playing 10 straight MAAC contests, the Jaspers play the first of back-to-back non-conference twinbills at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday against Central Connecticut (8-19) at Gaelic Park. It will mark the start of a 10-game homestand for Manhattan.