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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Bertrand throws no-hitter as NU takes two from Quinnipiac

All WNY News     Saturday, April 29, 2017    

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NIAGARA UNIV. -- One day after being swept in a doubleheader by the Marist Red Foxes, the Purple Eagles softball team rallied against the Quinnipiac Bobcats and took two wins to close out the six-game home stand at Niagara Softball Field, taking wins of 2-0 and 8-6.

Sierra Bertrand threw the first no-hitter by a Niagara pitcher since Jennifer Sansano in 2013, fanning five batters along the way with just three walks against in her tenth win of the year. With a leadoff double to start the bottom of the fourth, Bridget Hogan set a new single-season school record with 16 in a season. Hogan would score the eventual game-winning run later in the inning as Niagara went on to a 2-0 win.

In the second game of the day, it was the Niagara offense that carried the team to victory, as the Purple Eagles (17-23, 8-8 MAAC) jumped out to an 8-0 lead after four innings before holding off a Quinnipiac rally to win 8-6. Hogan went 3-for-4 with another two doubles, while Taylor Moody went 2-for-4 with two doubles and Jerri Ann Orfano hit two home runs to rack up three RBI.

Game #1: Niagara 2, Quinnipiac 0 

After retiring the side against Quinnipiac in both of the first two innings, Sierra Bertrand had an early perfect game bid broken up as she walked the Bobcats' leadoff batter. Bertrand walked another runner to first with two outs on the board, but Niagara escaped the inning and held the score at 0-0. The Purple Eagles were held to just two hits through the first two innings, with Bridget Hogan and Sarah March each earning singles, but the team found its offense in the bottom of the fourth. Bridget Hogan led off the fourth for Niagara with her team-leading 16th double of the season. The hit broke the single-season program record of 15 previously held by Kelly Cruttenden (1998) and Teresa Healy (2011). With one out on the board, Hogan scored on a single from Kendall Watkins, and Watkins would advance to third on a single from Taylor Moody. Watkins was thrown out at home on a hit from Maria Gabriele, but Moody would score on a single from Rachel Funk to make it a 2-0 game. Niagara went three up, three down in both the fifth and sixth innings, but Bertrand and the Purple Eagles' defense allowed just one base runner through the final three innings of play, helping Bertrand to the no-hitter and giving the Purple Eagles the victory.

Game #2: Niagara 8, Quinnipiac 6

Niagara got on the board in the first inning, taking a 1-0 lead after consecutive doubles from Chanelle Ward and Bridget Hogan. The next batter up was Jerri Ann Orfano, and her two-run homer extended Niagara's early lead to three. After a scoreless second inning, Quinnipiac went three up, three down in the top of the third before Orfano led off the bottom of the third with her second home run of the day, a solo shot over the left center field wall. In the bottom of the fourth, Jennifer Szilagyi singled through the left side before Quinnipiac picked up two straight outs. Ward singled down the right field line to bring Szilagyi home, and she scored in the next at-bat as Hogan singled to center field and the runners advanced on an error. With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Taylor Moody ripped a double to center field, pushing Niagara's lead to 8-0. The Bobcats halved the Niagara lead in the top of the fifth with a grand slam from Casey Herzog to make it 8-4. After scoring once in the top of the sixth, Quinnipiac led off the top of the seventh with another home run, as Niagara brought Bertrand back in to close the game. One Bobcat popped up to first base and Bertrand struck out the final two batters to close out the 8-6 win and the sweep for the Purple Eagles.

The Purple Eagles look ahead to the final six games of the regular season next week, starting on Wednesday, May 3 with a road doubleheader against the University at Buffalo Bulls. Niagara's final four MAAC games include the Senior Day twinbill against Siena on May 6 and the Battle of the Bridge at Canisius on May 7.

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