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Jennifer Szilagyi’s no-hitter earns Niagara softball split with Rider


NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. -- Junior pitcher Jennifer Szilagyi's commanding win on the back end of Niagara's doubleheader with Rider helped lift the Purple Eagles to a split with the Broncs on Monday at Niagara Falls High School. After Rider won the first game, 3-1, Szilagyi only gave up one walk while throwing nine strikeouts for the first no-hitter since Sierra Bertrand silenced Quinnipiac in the first game of a doubleheader on April 29, 2017.

Game 1: Rider 3, Niagara 1

The Broncs wasted little time, using a leadoff double and a single to go up 1-0 just three batters into the game, cutting off Niagara's streak of 28 consecutive innings without allowing a run.
In the top of the fourth, Rider opened the frame with back-to-back singles and loaded the bases with an error. With no outs, the Broncs poked another single into left field to raise their lead to 2-0.
Rider pitcher Elyse Cuttic carried a perfect game into the bottom of the fourth inning until Jerri Ann Orfano broke it up with a single through the middle. Margaret Vesneske followed Orfano aboard with her own single into center, and both runners advanced on a fielder's choice with Rachel Funk at the plate. However, the Broncs snuffed out the scoring threat to keep the score 2-0.
In the fifth, Niagara got close to scoring again, after Sarah Trifoso's one-out single put one runner on. A single from Kelsey Harrigan and a throwing error on the play sent Trifoso all the way to third, but Trifoso couldn't score to cut the deficit.
Rider added another run in the top of the sixth, but in the bottom of the seventh the Purple Eagles finally put a runner across. Heather Haberman drew a leadoff walk and moved to second and third on two subsequent groundouts. Harrigan swatted a single to center to score Haberman and make it 3-1.
Offensively, Harrigan led the way with two hits and an RBI. In the circle, Sierra Bertrand (7-11) allowed three runs on eight hits and a walk in 7.0 innings.

Game 2: Niagara 2, Rider 0

Both pitchers had 1-2-3 innings to open the game. In the second, Jennifer Szilagyi dealt one walk but kept the damage minimal by recording the final out against the next batter. Another Rider runner got on in the top of the third by way of an error, but once again Szilagi ensured it didn't alter the score.
In the bottom of the third, Niagara's two lead batters were retired quickly, but Sarah Trifoso battled to get aboard with three balls and an illegal pitch. She stole second with Kelsey Harrigan at the plate, then grabbed the lead for Niagara from there when Kendall Watkins singled into left field.
In Niagara's half of the fourth, Orfano led off with a deep double down the right field line, then took third when Rachel Funk put a shot into right. A long fly ball by Erika Siegel into center caught Rider's center fielder by surprise as Orfano was able to tag and score to make it 2-0 Niagara.
From there, both defenses remained relatively stiff, with both teams getting just three runners aboard for the rest of the contest.
Szilagyi went the distance to pitch the no-hitter, racking up nine strikeouts to just one walk. From the plate, Niagara drew four walks, and got hits from Watkins and Funk to take the game.
Up Next

Local rival Buffalo will pay a visit in a midweek clash on Wednesday, May 2. The doubleheader is scheduled to get underway at 3 p.m. at the Niagara Softball Field.

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