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Purple Eagles softball ends season on high note with split against Iona


NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. -- The Niagara softball team blanked Iona, 5-0, on the back end of their Senior Day doubleheader to finish the season with a strong win. The Gaels' (19-25, 11-9 MAAC) win in the first game, however, ended Niagara's chances of qualifying for the MAAC Tournament. Niagara (16-33, 7-13 MAAC) got contributions from all its seniors – Brianna Clark, Taylor Moody, Erika Siegel and Sarah Trifoso – after the four were honored for their careers in a ceremony prior to the day's first game. 

Game 1: Iona 2, Niagara 1

  • Through the first five innings of the game, both defenses were solid, allowing no runs to either side. Iona stranded four runners in that span, while Niagara left one of its own on. Pitcher Sierra Bertrand got five strikeouts to keep the Gaels quiet.
  • In the top of the sixth, the Iona offense broke through with a two-run homer. In the bottom of the frame, the Purple Eagles responded and trimmed the deficit after senior Sarah Trifoso was hit by a pitch, pushed to second on a Kelsey Harrigan single, stole third and then made it home after a throwing error on the steal.
  • In the Niagara half of the seventh, Jerri Ann Orfano led off and reached on an error and was subbed out for pinch runner Alexis Gibson at first. Margaret Vesneske got on by way of a second error, advancing Gibson to second. Jennifer Timm entered the game as a pinch hitter and drew a walk to load the bases with one out. Unfortunately for Niagara, a fielder's choice and groundout ended the threat.
  • In the circle, Sierra Bertrand (7-14) allowed two runs on five hits in 5.0 innings (plus three batters faced in the sixth). In relief, Emily Johnston allowed no runs, two hits and a walk while picking up four strikeouts in 2.0 innings.
Game 2: Niagara 5, Iona 0

  • In the first inning, Kelsey Harrigan drew a leadoff walk to get a runner aboard for Niagara. A sacrifice bunt from senior Taylor Moody pushed her to second and a single from Kendall Watkins sent her to third. After Jerri Ann Orfano walked to load the bags, Jennifer Timm sailed a sac fly out to left, allowing Harrigan to slide home and give the Purple Eagles a quick 1-0 lead.
  • In the third, Niagara upped their advantage after a walk to Watkins paid dividends following another walk to Orfano and a single from Timm.
  • The Purple Eagles tacked another run on in the fourth, when senior Erika Siegel led off with a single down the left field line. Sarah Trifoso followed that up with a double, putting runners at second and third with no outs. After an Iona pitching change, Harrigan hit a ground ball back to the circle that advanced Trifoso and scored Siegel to make it 3-0.
  • Senior Brianna Clark led off the sixth inning with a double into right field for her first hit of the day. Margaret Vesneske came in to run in her place, then made her way to third when Siegel sent a ball back to the pitcher. With one out against, Trifoso was hit by a pitch for the second time, earning her a free bag. A short single from Harrigan allowed Vesneske to score and bring Trifoso all the way around to third. On the next play, Moody plated Trifoso with a shot to shortstop, extending the score to 5-0.
  • Jennifer Szilagyi (5-7) earned the decision with 6.0 strong innings, allowing just two hits and one walk with six strikeouts. Emily Johnston took over in the seventh, tallying one hit and one strikeout in 1.0 innings.
  • Six Niagara batters had hits, including Harrigan and Timm, who had two RBI each.
Inside The Numbers

  • Brianna Clark went 1-for-2 with a double, her first extra-base hit of the season.
  • Taylor Moody tied a career high with 23 hits this season and set new marks in and runs scored (17).
  • Erika Siegel's hit gave her four for the season, a career best.
  • Sarah Trifoso finished the season with a .988 fielding percentage, recording just one error all year long and just .001 behind Kelsey Harrigan for the best mark on the team.

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