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NU softball picks up road split at St. Bonaventure


OLEAN -- The Niagara softball team took on the St. Bonaventure Bonnies Wednesday afternoon in the second doubleheader of the season between the two Little 3 schools. St. Bonaventure opened the day with a 12-8 win, and Niagara got three hits from Bridget Hogan, three RBI from Jennifer Timm, and 10 strikeouts from Sierra Bertrand in a 5-2 win in the second game of Wednesday's doubleheader at Joyce Field.

Hogan was phenomenal at the plate for Niagara at St. Bonaventure, batting 6-for-7 and scoring four runs for the Purple Eagles (10-16, 2-4 MAAC). Timm and Maria Gabriele led Niagara with four and three RBI, respectively, in the two-game set.

Game #1: St. Bonaventure 12, Niagara 8

The Bonnies took a 4-0 lead in the first inning, opening the scoring with an RBI single. With the bases loaded and two outs, St. Bonaventure got a two-run single and added a third run on a Niagara fielding error to take the four run lead. Niagara loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the third, and Maria Gabriele slammed a single up the middle of the St. Bonaventure defense, bringing Chanelle Ward and Bridget Hogan home to make it 4-2. After four St. Bonaventure runs in the bottom of the third, Niagara matched the output with a four-run effort to start the fourth inning. Rachel Funk scored Taylor Moody on a double to left center, later scoring on a Bonnies fielding error. Jerri Ann Orfano and Gabriele picked up consecutive RBI singles later in the inning to bring Niagara within two. The Bonnies shut down Niagara's offense in the fifth and sixth innings while adding another four runs to push the lead to 12-6 entering the final inning. In the top of the seventh, Niagara got two runs as Kendall Watkins scored on a bases-loaded fielder's choice and Sarah March brought Moody home on an RBI single, but that was all the Purple Eagles would get, falling 12-8. Jennifer Szilagyi started in the circle, allowing eight runs (seven earned) on 10 hits in three innings. Emily Johnston pitched three innings in relief and allowed four earned runs on five hits.

Game #2: Niagara 5, St. Bonaventure 2

Both teams went scoreless through the first inning, but the Bonnies got on the board first for the second-straight game. With two outs in the bottom of the second, St. Bonaventure got a two-run homer against Sierra Bertrand to take a 2-0 lead. After Bertrand and the Niagara defense held St. Bonaventure off the board in the third inning, the Purple Eagles took the lead for good in the top of the fourth. In the fourth, Chanelle Ward and Bridget Hogan led off with singles before Kendall Watkins was walked to load the bases. Jennifer Timm picked up an RBI on a one-out fielder's choice as Ward came home from third. The next batter was Jennifer Szilagyi, and she dropped a two-run single to center field, putting Niagara ahead for good with a 3-2 lead. With Watkins and Hogan on base and two outs in the top of the fifth, Timm picked up her third and fourth RBI of the day with a deep double to left field, giving Niagara some insurance at 5-2. Bertrand picked up two more strikeouts in the final two innings, giving her 10 after she struck out a career-high 11 on Monday against Saint Peter's. The Niagara defense held the Bonnies off the board late and held on for the game two victory and the split on the road.

The Purple Eagles are slated to make up last weekend's MAAC twinbill against the Manhattan Jaspers at Niagara Softball Field at 10 a.m. on Friday.