NIAGARA UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS
BUFFALO – The Purple Eagles baseball team began their annual Battle of the Bridge series with Canisius on Thursday, splitting a doubleheader with the Golden Griffins.
Game 1: Niagara 4, Canisius 3
- In the top of the first, leadoff batter Darian Blanks reached base on an error by the Golden Griffins pitcher. Tanner Kirwer doubled to left field, advancing Blanks to third base. Greg Cullen line out to left field, sending Blanks home. Peter Battaglia then hit his team-best fourth homerun of the season to score two runs and give Niagara (24-23, 12-11 MAAC) a 3-0 lead.
- In the top of the fourth, Owen Dziados hit his second career homerun, putting the Purple Eagles up, 4-0.
- Despite holding the Griffs (33-20, 15-8 MAAC) off for four innings, Canisius began to creep toward Niagara's lead in the bottom of the fifth. The Griffs scored twice to cut the Purple Eagles' lead in half, 4-2.
- In the bottom of the eighth, Canisius scored once, but the Purple Eagles remained in the lead, 4-3.
- The Griffs held the Purple Eagles off for the remainder of the game and, in the bottom of the ninth, with the potential game-tying run on third, Canisius' batter grounded out to third securing the victory for Niagara.
- Battaglia led the Purple Eagles with two RBI and Dziados had a team-high two hits.
- On the mound, Cody Eckerson (6-2) earned the win. He fanned two in 5.0 innings pitched.
- Matthew Brash pitched the final inning and earned the save, the second of his career.
Game 2: Canisius 5, Niagara 2
- Canisius scored first in game two, taking a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning. The Griffs extended their lead, 5-0, in the bottom of the fourth.
- Niagara got on the board in the top of the fifth. Cullen grounded out to second, scoring Joseph Tevlin to put the score at 5-1, with the Griffs still ahead.
- Despite a score from Trevor McCauley in the top of the sixth, the Purple Eagles were not able to overcome the Griffs' lead.
- Cullen led Niagara with one RBI, one hit and one double.
- Daniel Procopio (6-4) struck out eight batters and allowed four earned runs in in 3.0 innings pitched.
- Niagara and Canisius close out their series with a single game on Friday, May 19 at 12:00 p.m.
- The Purple Eagles, who are currently in fifth place, will find out their playoff fate following their series with Canisius. The top six teams qualify for the MAAC Baseball Championships, which will be held May 24-27 at Sal Maglie Stadium in Niagara Falls, N.Y.
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