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NU softball drops low-scoring contest to UB


AMHERST -- In a tightly-contested matchup between Western New York teams, the Purple Eagles softball team closed out its non-conference schedule against the Buffalo Bulls. After Sarah Trifoso doubled in the top of the fifth for Niagara, she later scored on an error by the Bulls to tie the game at 1-1. An inside-the-park home run for Buffalo down the left field line proved to be the difference in a 2-1 loss Wednesday afternoon at Nan Harvey Field.

Niagara and Buffalo both went three up, three down in the first inning before the Bulls took a 1-0 lead after two. On a full count, Jennifer Szilagyi's pitch was sent over the center-field wall by Buffalo's Jenelle Martinez for a solo home run. In the top of the fourth, Bridget Hogan led off with a single to center field, later advancing to second on a Buffalo error while Jerri Ann Orfano reached on the fielder's choice. With the runners on first and second and one out on the board, two straight Purple Eagles were struck out as Buffalo held the 1-0 lead through four innings. The Purple Eagles were able to tie the game at one in the top of the fifth. With Sarah March on first and Sarah Trifoso on second, Chanelle Ward came up to bat and put a ball in play to second base. March reached second on a fielding error by the Bulls' shortstop, allowing Trifoso to score from third. March rounded the bases and tried for home on the play, but was thrown out as the Bulls ended the inning at 1-1. Sierra Bertrand relieved Jennifer Szilagyi in the circle, and her first batter faced hit a ball deep to left field that ended as an inside-the-park home run, returning the one-run lead to the Bulls. Orfano picked up a single in the top of the sixth and Trifoso hit her sixth double of the season in the top of the seventh, but that was all the offense Niagara would pick up against Buffalo pitcher Charlotte Miller, as the Bulls held on for the 2-1 win. Szilagyi picked up two strikeouts in four innings while yielding one run on three hits by the Bulls. Bertrand took the loss in relief to go to 10-9 on the season, striking out one batter and allowing one earned run on two hits.

The Purple Eagles look ahead to their final weekend of MAAC competition looking for a top-six seed in the conference and a berth in the 2017 MAAC Softball Championships. Niagara hosts Siena for Senior Day on Saturday, May 6 in the team's home finale at 12 p.m. The final regular-season doubleheader for the Purple Eagles comes at Canisius. The annual Battle of the Bridge matchup is slated for Sunday, May 7 with first pitch at 4 p.m.

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