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Canisius softball splits with Niagara to end regular-season


The Canisius softball team saw its 2017 season come to an end on Sunday evening, as the Golden Griffins split a MAAC doubleheader with long-time rival Niagara at the Demske Sports Complex. The Griffs scored a 5-3 win in 10 innings in the first game before falling to the Purple Eagles 4-1 in the nightcap. The Griffs see their season end with a record of 21-32 overall to go with a 9-11 mark in MAAC play. Niagara is now 18-25 overall and 9-9 in conference action.

In the first game, Canisius sophomore Lauren Castro ended the game with a two-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th to lift Canisius to the 5-3 victory. The homer was the 11th of the season for Castro, which ties her for the school's single-season home run record with former Griff Paige Freiberger, who also had 11 home runs during the 2010 season. Canisius senior Samantha Sharkey got the 10th inning started with an infield single, which set the scene fro Castro, who ripped the third pitch of her at-bat over the fence in left center to give the Blue and Gold the victory.

Canisius trailed 2-1 entering the seventh before freshman Sydney Kreimann singled through the right side of the infield to drive in fellow freshman Gianna Degaltini and knot the game at 2-2. In the top of the eighth, Niagara scored a run to take a 3-2 lead, but the Blue and Gold answered in the home-half of that inning when freshman Morgan Altman, who came on to pinch run, scored on a throwing error by Naigara's right fielder. The game would remain knotted until the 10th, when Castro's homer gave the Griffs their third-straight extra-inning victory.

Canisius junior Madi Weathers earned the win in the circle for the Griffs after she threw a career-high 10 innings and allowed two runs on seven hits while matching a career-high with eight strikeouts. Canisius had nine hits in the win, with Castro ending the game by going 2-for-5 with a double, the two-run home run and three RBI. Degaltini and Sharkey each had two hits as well in the win, with Sharkey scoring two times. Senior Lindsey Silfer added a double to the winning effort, her ninth double of the year.

In the second game, Canisius took an early 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI-single by Silfer, which pushed fellow senior Taylor Decker across the plate. The score would remain 1-0 in favor of Canisius until the sixth when Niagara scored four times to take a 4-1 lead. In that frame, Niagara's Sarah Trifoso cleared the bases with a triple to the gap in right center, and she scored moments later on a wild pitch. That run support was more  than enough for Niagara starter Jennifer Szilagyi, who scattered eight hits over seven innings and fanned three en route to her seventh win of the season.
Silfer had two hits in her final game as a Griff, while sophomore Denver Keller also had two base knocks in the loss. Decker went 1-for-2 with a single and a run scored in her final game at Canisius as well.

Game Notes
• Canisius is 92-24-1 all-time against Niagara. The 92 wins are the most for the program against any opponent.
• The Griffs ended the season having played in 12 games this season that went to extra-innings. The Blue and Gold posted a 6-6 record in those 12 contests.
• Castro ended the 2017 season with a team-high 50 RBI. She joins former Griff Michelle Fridey as the only two players in school history to dive in 50-or more runs during a single-season.
• Castro's 20 doubles in 2017 makes her just the second player in school history to have 20-or more two-base hits during a season. The school record for doubles in a year is 22, held by former Griff Diana Calandra.
• Silfer closes her career with 223 hits, which ranks second in school history, and her 43 career doubles is also second-best in program history.
• Silfer also drove in 112 career RBI, which ties her with former Griff Cameron Norton for fourth all-time in the school's record book for runs batted in.
• Altman had 11 stolen bases on 11 attempts in her rookie campaign.
• The eight strikeouts for Weathers in game one gives her 216 for her career, which ranks 15th in program history.