NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. — The Niagara University softball team suffered a two-loss defeat in Wednesday’s non-conference matchup against the Akron Zips. The Purple Eagles made a ball game out of both games, losing by 3-1 in the first and 4-2 in the second, but Akron had an answer for every move made by Niagara.
The Purps came out strong in the first inning, as Jerri Ann Orfano singled to right field, scoring Chanelle Ward to put them up 1-0. Jennifer Szyilagyi took the mound to start the game for Niagara and held off Akron until the top of the sixth where the Zips brought themselves back. With runners on second and third base, Savannah Fruin of Akron crushed a double to right field, bringing in two RBIs.
The Purple Eagles countered by making some noise of their own in the bottom of the sixth as Taylor Moody led off the inning with a single to right field. Maria Gabrielle and Brianna Clark followed with singles of their own. With bases loaded for Niagara, they would fail to convert on the opportunity, as Akron ended their momentum with a double play which closed the inning out. The Zips scored once more in the top of the seventh and with one last chance, Niagara couldn’t answer, losing 3-1.
Emily Johnston took the mound for Niagara in the start of game two and ended the day with three strikeouts after being relieved by Sierra Bertrand in the sixth inning.
The Zips put up a 1-0 lead in the top of the second when Laura Lakins singled, bringing in an RBI from third base.
It was in the bottom of the third when Bridget Hogan cracked a double to left field, tying a single-season program record. The original record of 15 was set by Kelly Cruttenden in 1998 and then tied by Teresa Healy in 2011.
The Zips started to fire back in the top of the fourth, with a two-run homer by Anna Tarpley, putting Akron up 3-0.
In the bottom of the fourth freshman Kendall Watkins, having a sensational freshman year, answered by crushing a home run of her own. Watkins currently leads the Purple Eagles with six homers on the season.
Niagara continued to fight their way back in the fifth inning as Sarah March hit a single and would eventually score on an error, narrowing Akron’s lead to 3-2.
Lakins, continuing to dominate offensively for Akron, responded in the sixth with a double, bringing in an RBI and putting the Zips back up by two. Niagara couldn’t bring in runs in the sixth and went three-and-out in the seventh, falling to Akron 4-2.
The Purple Eagles fall to an overall record of 15-21 on the season, but still remain at .500 (6-6) in the MAAC. Their next matchup will be a conference doubleheader at home on April 28 at 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. against Marist College.
Photo courtesy of PurpleEagles.com