Canisius College 8, Rider University 2
Canisius College 3, Rider University 2
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
BUFFALO, N.Y.--Needing to split the final four games this weekend to have a shot at the playoffs, the Rider University softball team saw the 2012 season come to an end after being swept at Canisius on Sunday.
Rider (20-33-1, 7-9 MAAC) lost twice at Niagara on Saturday, going 0-4 on the Western New York swing, losing three games by one run, including two that went 12 innings.
"We are so disappointed in the weekend," said head coach Tricia Carroll. "Losing three games by one run is tough to take. Today and all season, we have done a great job getting runners into scoring position only to fall one hit short."
Canisius used a Rider error and two hits to plate three unearned runs in the first inning.
Rider got one back in the top of the third inning when senior Lucy Higgins (Westminster, Mass./Notre Dame Academy) scored on a fielder's choice as the Broncs cut the Golden Griff lead to 3-1.
Canisius used a two out single in the bottom of the third inning to put its lead back to three runs at 4-1.
Junior Sam Pugh (Elkton, Md./Elkton) homered to centerfield with two outs in the fifth inning, her third of the season as Rider again got to within two (4-2).
Canisius scored four insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth inning for the final score.
Bronc freshman Amanda Irving (Westminster, Md./Westminster) had two of Rider's seven hits.
Rider senior Rachael Matreale (Williamstown) went the distance, recording four strikeouts and allowed eight runs, five earned.
In the nightcap, Canisius jumped out to a 2-0 first inning lead on two hits and a Rider error.
Rider tied the game at 2-2 in the fourth inning on an RBI single by Irving and a Golden Griffin wild pitch.
Canisius scored the winning run in the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly.
Matreale went five innings, allowing two runs, one earned and finished with five Ks on the day and 596 in her Rider career, second best all-time.
"Rachael pitched great all day and gave us all she had," Carroll said.
Senior Kelsey Krisch (Parker, Colo./Council Rock HS North) pitched the final inning for the Broncs, allowing two hits and one earned run in picking up the loss.
"Kelsey came in and did a super job," said Carroll. "Canisius was able to get a fly ball just deep enough to score the winning run."
Sophomore Kehli Washington (Lulea Sweden/New Rochelle) had three of Rider's eight hits with sophomore Lisa Blanton (Hilliard, Fla./Hilliard) and freshman Gina McCool (Marlton/Cherokee) each picking up two hits.
Canisius and Rider split two games in 2011 with the Broncs winning the opener 4-3 and the Golden Griffins taking the second game 13-3. Canisius has won 25 of the 38 games in the series that started in 1991. The Golden Griffins swept Rider in Buffalo in 2010 and the teams split a MAAC doubleheader in Lawrenceville in 2009.
"This group was fun to coach," Carroll said. "We saw amazing growth and we have a very good group returning next season. I told them to remember the hurt and let that drive them to improve and achieve a greater amount of success."
Rider more than doubled its win total from the 2011 season (20 vs. 9) but the Broncs ended the season losing six in a row, all in MAAC play.
"The conference was so tight this year," Carroll said. "A couple more hits here and there and we are playing next week."
Rider last qualified for the four-team MAAC playoffs in 2006.
The Broncs return 14 letterwinners for the 2013 season and today was the final games in the careers of Matreale, Higgins, Krisch and Samantha Mayer (Neptune).
Matreale, a veteran of 121 games, finished her Bronc career with 40 wins, Higgins, a veteran of 141 games, finished with 75 hits, Krisch, played in 58 games and compiled 10 victories and Mayer, who transferred to Rider as a sophomore, appeared in 101 games with 53 career hits.
"It will be tough to see the seniors go," Carroll said. "They have been and will continue to be positive members of the Rider softball team and community as they move on to the next chapter in their lives."