Niagara splits two in first day of Virginia tournament
CHARLOTTESVILLE, V.A. – The Purple Eagles baseball club is in the midst of the University of Virginia Tournament, taking place March 3-5 from Charlottesville, VA.
Niagara played two games on Friday, defeating La Salle University 8-5 in Game one and falling 5-3 to the University of Virginia in game two. Niagara swept Norfolk State in three games in their last series on March 25-26, and the loss to Virginia snaps their win streak at four games.
In the 8-5 victory, the Purple Eagles outhit the Explores 11-5, with multi-hit performances from Peter Battaglia, Tanner Kirwer, Wyatt Olson, and Joseph Tevlin. On the mound, Daniel Procopio tossed his second straight six-inning, one-hit win, striking out 12 hitters while yielding a lone earned run.
A single off the bat of Niagara second baseman Geoff Seto plated the game’s first run in the top of the second. The Purple Eagles scored three times in the top of the sixth, with a run-scoring balk, wild pitch, and a single by Kirwer. Designated hitter Joel Brophy also collected two RBI, picking up a sac-fly in the top of the seventh and a bases-loaded hit by a pitch in the ninth.
The loss went to La Salle starter Luke Reilly, who allowed two runs on five hits over 5.0 innings. La Salle third baseman Kevin McGowan went 2-4, while right fielder Dylan Evans doubled and tripled for a two-RBI game. The game one loss dropped La Salle to 0-8 on the season.
Facing the University of Virginia in their second game on Friday, Niagara and Virginia battled for the first two innings, with each team scoring two runs in the first and a run in the second. Olson drove a RBI for the game’s first run in the first, and third baseman Owen Dziados plated Olson with a single of his own to make it 2-0 Niagara. Greg Cullen also connected for a RBI single in the second, the last run scored by Niagara in the contest. With the score tied at three in the fifth, designated hitter Charlie Cody knocked a two-run single to give Virginia the lead.
Cody Eckerson started for NU, and allowed three earned runs and six hits in 4.0 innings. He was relieved by Nate Mascellino, who was tagged with the loss after allowing two earned runs in 4.0 innings out of the bullpen. Virginia’s Pavin Smith ended the later game 2-3 with two runs scored, with catcher Cameron Simmons also picking up two hits. The win went to starter Daniel Lunch, who lasted 6.0 frames and allowed two earned runs. He improves to 3-0 on the year.
Niagara now stands with a 4-4 record and will again face Virginia on Saturday, March 4, with first pitch scheduled for 3:00 p.m. They will conclude the tournament on Sunday, March 5, battling La Salle at 11:00 a.m. Following the tournament, the Purple Eagles will face Virginia Tech on Tuesday, March 7 in Blacksburg, VA.