Home sweet home for Niagara baseball

Purple Eagles outscore Peacocks 15-1 in first home games of season

In their first home games of the season, the Niagara University Purple Eagles baseball team won both games of a doubleheader against the Saint Peter’s Peacocks on Sunday, April 2. Following a 3-2 victory against Saint Peter’s in a game played at Sweet Home High School on Friday, the Purple Eagles bested the Peacocks 7-0 and 8-1 in both games, respectfully, during the first contests of spring at Bobo Field.

In the first game, clutch hitting and lights-out pitching combined to shutout the Peacocks 7-0 in seven innings. A four-run bottom of the first gave Niagara a lead that they did not relinquish. Julian Gallup singled to begin the frame, and came across to score on a RBI double by Tanner Kirwer. A two-run home run by Peter Battaglia was followed up two batters later by a solo-shot off the bat of Joel Brophy.

Niagara scored three more runs in the bottom of the fifth. A Greg Cullen single that plated Kirwer made it 5-0. Philippe Langlois hit a sac-fly into centerfield that scored Cullen, and Joseph Tevlin doubled in Brophy with a drive down the leftfield line.

On the bump for the Purple Eagles was Daniel Procopio, who tossed 6.0 shutout innings en route to the win. His record now improves to 3-2 in 2017, and lowers his ERA to 3.30. The righty struck out eight while allowing only five hits, walking none. Jordan Parranto pitched a one-two-three inning in the seventh to seal the victory.

Centerfielder Kirwer finished the first game 2-4 with two runs scored, while designated hitter Joel Brophy went 2-2 with two runs scored. For Saint Peter’s, third baseman Jose Martinez went 2-3 in the first game, the only Peacock with more than one hit. Starting pitcher Anthony Assante allowed eight hits in 5.0 innings of work, walking four and striking out just two hitters.

In game two, Saint Peter’s took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first against Niagara starter Matthew Brash. Catcher Mike Ionta singled in shortstop Cole Robbins with a base knock into centerfield. Niagara tied the score at one in the bottom of the first, thanks to an error by Robbins at short. On a grounder off the bat of Owen Dziados, Greg Cullen scored on a misplay by Robbins, making it a 1-1 game.

Julian Gallup scored on a single by Tanner Kirwer in the bottom of the fourth as Niagara took a 2-1 lead. Two more runs scored in the inning, thanks to a Peter Battaglia single. A sac-bunt by Gallup plated Dziados in the bottom of the fifth. Up 5-1 in the bottom of the eighth, RBI by Kirwer, Cullen and Trevor McCauley catapulted the Purple Eagles to a commanding 8-1 lead, which held the rest of the game.

Brash finished the game with just one earned run in 7.0 innings, striking out six to earn the win. Multi-hit games for Kirwer (3-5), Cullen (4-5) and Battaglia (2-4) paced the Purple Eagles’ offense, with Cullen doubling three times. Kirwer ended 5-9 in both games combined. Saint Peter’s starter Michael Ammerman allowed eight hits and five runs, three of which were earned, in the loss.

Niagara’s record sits now at 13-9, and the club is 4-2 against MAAC opponents. Saint Peter’s is now 0-9 this season.

The Purple Eagles will now play at St. Bonaventure University in Olean, N.Y. on Wednesday, April 5. First pitch is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. Their next home games will take place on Saturday, April 8, with two games against MAAC opponent Quinnipiac.

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