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Niagara softball classes of 1998, 2018 to be honored this weekend


NIAGARA UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. -- As Niagara's regular season comes to a conclusion, softball teams two decades apart will be commemorated for their accomplishments prior to games this weekend.
 
On Saturday, the 1998 team will be remembered for the 20th anniversary of their MAAC Championship and NCAA Tournament run. An alumni brunch will be held at 10:30 a.m. in the Russell J. Salvatore Dining Commons before the members of the team are brought onto the field prior to Niagara's doubleheader against Fairfield, which will begin at noon.

The following day will be Senior Day, where the team's four graduates – Brianna Clark, Taylor Moody, Erika Siegel and Sarah Trifoso – will be the focus of a pregame ceremony. Afterward, the Purple Eagles and Iona will open a doubleheader at 11 a.m.

Last Time Out
  • Niagara dropped a pair of games to Monmouth on Wednesday, May 2 in Syracuse, N.Y.
  • In the first game, Niagara got out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning after Margaret Vesneske got aboard via error and made her way home thanks to a Kendall Watkins single and a pair of walks, including one to Rachel Funk with the bases loaded. The Hawks rallied later in the game to win, 3-1.
  • In the nightcap, Niagara tied the game in the fifth inning, 1-1, and forced the league-leading Hawks into extra innings after nearly walking off in the seventh. In the eighth, Monmouth went up 2-1, then squeaked out of a bases-loaded situation to avoid the upset.

On the Field: Niagara Purple Eagles (15-30, 7-9 MAAC)
  • Niagara pitchers have only thrown 10 wild pitches this season, the fewest of any staff in the MAAC. Additionally, Niagara catchers have only allowed three passed balls, also the best of all conference teams.
  • In 17 games this season, Brianna Clark is batting .125 and has one RBI. Overall for her career, Clark has played in 110 games and owns a career batting average of .204 with 21 RBI and two home runs.
  • Taylor Moody has started every game this season for Niagara, and has played in 168 games for the Purple Eagles since 2015. If she continues this trend and plays in Niagara's final four regular season games, she will finish tied for third all-time in appearances with 172.
  • Over the past three seasons, Erika Siegel has played in 26 games, including a career-high four starts so far this season. This year, she has also recorded her first two college RBI and has three hits and three runs scored.
  • Sarah Trifoso has played in 44 games for Niagara this season, starting in each of those games. She is currently in the midst of an eight-game on-base streak (21 AB, six hits, four walks, one HBP, .524 OBP) dating back to April 21 in their second game against Manhattan.

On the Field: Fairfield Stags (21-24, 11-5 MAAC)
  • Fairfield enters the weekend tied for second place in the conference standings. Since April 14, they have won nine of their last 11 games and are currently riding a five-game win streak. In their most recent outing, they swept Quinnipiac, 5-2 and 10-6, on April 28.
  • As a team, the Stags have a .966 fielding percentage, second-best in the MAAC.
  • Their pitching staff has issued 145 walks, behind only Marist for most in the conference this season. They have also given more home runs than any other school (38).
  • Individually, Destinee Pallotto's 13 wins are the third-most of all MAAC pitchers. She has thrown 129 strikeouts in 132.0 innings of ball this season.
  • On the other side of the plate, Courtney Hankins' .393 batting average leads the team and is the third-highest average in the MAAC. Her on-base percentage (.520) leads the conference.
  • Makenna DiGuilio has 11 stolen bases in 12 attempts this season (.917). That success rate is third-best of all conference players with at least 10 attempts.

On the Field: Iona Gaels (17-23, 9-7 MAAC)
  • The Gaels come into the final weekend with a 9-7 record to hold fourth position in the MAAC standings. They have lost seven of their last nine contests, and were swept at Manhattan on April 29 in their most recent outing.
  • Iona's team batting average of .211 ranks last in the MAAC.
  • On the season, the offense has stolen just 11 bases in 13 tries, both conference lows.
  • The pitchers have combined for a 3.14 ERA, second-best in the conference this season. They have also rung up a circuit-best 231 strikeouts.
  • Jasmine Temple leads the team in batting average (.276), hits (34) and RBI (16).
  • Marnie Skinner (7-7) has 13 starts and 19 appearances this season, with a 2.35 ERA that ranks second on the team.
  • Alana Evans (7-5) has pitched 88 innings for the Gaels and leads the team in strikeouts (116), opponent batting average (.215) and ERA (2.23).

Up Next
  • Niagara currently sits in a tie for seventh place in the MAAC, with the top six teams advancing to the MAAC Championship Tournament beginning May 9.