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  • The Griffin

Softball Splits two weekend sweeps to start MAAC play 2–2

By: Vinnie Christiano III

The Golden Griffins Softball team opened MAAC play this weekend, sweeping Quinnipiac before being swept by Marist to open conference play with a 2–2 record.

On Tuesday, the Griffs added two more contests, this time against a non-conference opponent in St. Bonaventure. Canisius defeated the Bonnies in the first game, but lost by a run in game two to earn a split in Olean as well.

The weekend home slate was highlighted by two standout performances from Megan Giese. The sophomore pitcher struck out 10, including five straight early in the game, in a 10–0 victory over the Bobcats in the first game on Saturday. That game, which happened to be Canisius’s home opener, also featured a walk-off grand-slam from fellow sophomore Gianna Fazzolari in the sixth inning to force the mercy rule.

In the second game, Emily Nicosia and Alexis Churchill split time pitching, with Nicosia starting the game and Churchill coming in to close the game out in the sixth. The pair held the Bobcats to just one run, and the Golden Griffins emerged victorious by a score of 5–1.

Leadoff hitter Erin Hufford was 4-for-7 on the day, adding four RBI and four stolen bases. Hufford is now third all-time in program history for stolen bases.

Asked if she felt any nerves going into the first MAAC game, Giese said she did but quickly settled into her preferred mindset. “I think I was really hyped up to be there, and walked the first girl, but then I settled in and kept it going.”

At the time, the double-digit strikeout marker from Giese marked a career high, until she surpassed it against Marist Sunday with an 11-strikeout performance.

The weather presented its own set of challenges with temperatures in the 30s, gusty winds, and a rain-snow mix that persisted most of the day. Despite that, Giese turned in a career-best performance, and is the first Canisius pitcher in some time to log back-to-back double-digit strikeout performances.

However, the Red Foxes were only held at bay for so long and persisted by winning the day’s first contest 3–1.

Marist continued their momentum into the second game, and controlled the game at the plate, potting seven runs to defeat Canisius 7–0. Standout shortstop Caroline Baratta helped the Red Foxes’ efforts with a two run home run in the fifth to stretch the lead, and the Griffs would fail to score any baserunners throughout the game.

Against the Bonnies, Canisius emerged victorious in game one by a score of 6–2, helped along by a win in the circle from freshman Toria Kover, who made her collegiate debut in the game.

Despite tying the game late in the fifth inning, an error gave the Bonnies the go-ahead run and the victory in game two, by a score of 6–5.

The Griffs continue league play this weekend, visiting Rider on Saturday and Monmouth on Sunday, for back-to-back doubleheaders. They will then play at Syracuse in a midweek out of conference contest next Wednesday and a week after that will have a chance at revenge against the Bonnies at the Demske Sports Complex on April 20.

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