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Niagara softball prepares for doubleheaders against Youngstown State, Canisius


NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. -- The Niagara softball team travels to battle Youngstown State on Friday, April 13 for a doubleheader starting at 3:00 p.m. The Purple Eagles then open play at Niagara Softball Field on Sunday, April 15 as they take on crosstown rival Canisius in a doubleheader starting at 12:00 p.m.

Last Time Out
·    The Purple Eagles traveled to Marist on April 7 and Quinnipiac on April 8 for a pair of doubleheaders. Niagara fell to the Red Foxes in the first game, 7-0, before earning a 6-5 victory to split their opening series. Niagara closed out the weekend slate with a pair of losses to Quinnipiac, 5-1 and 9-0.  
On the Field: Niagara Purple Eagles (9-22, 2-4 MAAC)
·    Kelsey Harrigan leads the Purple Eagles with 26 hits, while Kendall Watkins has 24 hits and Jennifer Timm has 23 hits for Niagara.
·    Watkins and Jerri Ann Orfano each lead the team with five home runs, tied for third-most in the MAAC. Orfano is also third in the conference in RBI with 22.
·    In the circle, Sierra Bertrand (4-8) leads the Purple Eagle pitching staff with 44 strikeouts in 68.2 innings pitched. She has an ERA of 4.08 in 15 appearances for Niagara.
·    Karsen Cotton (3-7) has fanned 27 batters in 61.0 innings pitched and holds an ERA of 4.59.
On the Field: Youngstown State Penguins (15-19, 6-6 Horizon League)
·    Youngstown State is coming off a three-game series against the Northern Kentucky Norse. The Penguins earned a 2-1 victory in the opener of their doubleheader on Tuesday, April 10, but lost the second game of the day in a 2-1 decision. The following day, the Penguins took the series win from Northern Kentucky with a 9-5 decision.
·    The Penguins also come into the doubleheader as an offensive juggernaut, leading the Horizon League in batting average (.289), runs (160), hits (258), home runs (20), RBI (135) and slugging percentage (.421).
·    Individually, outfielder Lexi Zappitelli leads the conference in batting average (.457), slugging percentage (.735) and on-base percentage (.558), while Stevie Taylor has a team-leading five home runs.
·    When it comes to pitching, RHP Paige Geanangel (8-9) leads the team in many categories for the Penguins, including wins, appearances (21), starts (17), complete games (nine) and innings pitched (96.2). Elle Buffenbarger (4-4) has delivered a team-best 66 strikeouts for Youngstown State, including 18 looking.

On the Field: Canisius Golden Griffins (4-25, 1-3 MAAC) 
·    The Golden Griffins were in the midst of a 15-game losing streak before earning a victory against Marist on April 8, 5-0, in the second half of a doubleheader. They will host a doubleheader with Siena on Saturday, April 14 in a before closing out their weekend at Niagara the next day.
·    Infielder Kara Paradowski leads the team in batting average (.259), hits (22), stolen bases (15) and runs scored (11). Paradowski's 15 stolen bases have come in 16 attempts.
·    In the circle, Erika Mackie (1-13) leads the Golden Griffins in appearances (18) games started (13), innings pitched (82.2) and strikeouts (44). Emily Nicosia (3-8) has a team-best 3.48 ERA.
Up Next
·       The Purple Eagles head back on the road on Wednesday, April 18 to battle the Syracuse Orange in a doubleheader. Niagara split a doubleheader last season on the same date, earning a 7-6 victory in the opening game for Niagara's first victory over Syracuse in program history. First pitch for game one is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.

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