Rider University 5, Canisius College 0
Canisius College 9, Rider University 7
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Doubleheader
LAWRENCEVILLE—Behind the first career shutout for red-shirt freshman Krista Morrone (Pipersville, Pa./Palisades), the Rider University softball team split a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference doubleheader with Canisius College at Herb and Joan Young Field Saturday afternoon.
“Our team is scary when they play with confidence,” said head coach Tricia Carroll. “We played relaxed, hit the ball and made some things happen.”
In the opener, Morrone threw a three-hit complete game, recording two strikeouts for her sixth win of the season as Rider shutout the Golden Griffs.
“My drop curve was working pretty well,” Morrone remembered about the first game. “Canisius kept nipping at the rise ball and popping it up.”
“A split against Canisius is pretty awesome,” said Carroll. “I’m almost a little mad that we didn’t sweep because we had that opportunity against a very, very good ball club. Krista did a really nice job, especially knowing that she was our only option, having to throw all 14 innings.”
Rider broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning when freshman Kim Valdes (Jupiter, Fla./King’s Academy) led off with a double and eventually scored on a Canisius error with two outs.
The Broncs bunched together five hits in the bottom of the fifth inning, including an RBI single by Valdes and an RBI double from sophomore Amanda Irving (Westminster, Md./Westminster) as Rider plated four insurance runs for the final score.
“Getting a lead was important,” Morrone said. “Everyone pitches a little more relaxed when you have a lead to work with.”
Irving had two hits in the opener and four hits on the day.
“Amanda is a hitter,” Carroll said. “She is listening and working on the things that we ask her to work on. She is coachable and her big thing is just to relax and believe in herself. Coach Novatin has done an excellent job working with the hitters.”
Also for the Broncs in game one, junior Kehli Washington (Lulea, Sweden/New Rochelle) had three hits and she had four in the doubleheader.
“Kehli’s game has evolved since she has been a freshman,” Carroll said. “She used to just use her speed to get on base but now is a more compete hitter and lately, she has been on fire. She makes things happen.”
“I’m proud of how the team played today,” said Washington. “Krista did an awesome job. It is her time to shine and she did great. We all had her back.”
In the nightcap, due to injuries to Rider’s two other pitchers, Morrone was pressed back into service in a 9-7 loss.
Canisius out-hit Rider (6-27, 2-2 MAAC) 21-7 in game two but left nine runners on base and had four more throw out on the bases or at home.
Trailing 2-0, Rider scored four times on five hits in the fourth inning, including a three-run home run by freshman Emily Cottrell (Beachwood/Toms River HS South) and a run scoring double by sophomore Lauren Davies (Pittsburgh, Pa./Seneca Valley) as the Broncs went ahead 4-2. For Cottrell it was her third home run of the season.
“We put the ball in play and made things happen,” Washington added.
After the Golden Griffins took a 5-4 lead in the fifth, Rider rebounded with three runs on two hits and a Golden Griff error in the bottom of the fifth to retake a 7-5 lead on a sacrifice fly, wild pitch and RBI walk.
“We had chances to put the game away and didn’t,” Carroll said. “Hopefully next week, we have more available pitching.”
Canisius (14-13, 1-1 MAAC) scored three runs on four hits in the top of the sixth inning, the fourth and final lead change of the game, to go ahead 8-7 and the Golden Griffins used an RBI single in the top of the seventh for the final score.
Irving scored twice for Rider in game two with sophomore Gina McCool (Marlton/Cherokee) also scoring twice.
Morrone went the distance for Rider in game two, recording one strikeout.
“I was getting tired a little in the second game,” Morrone added. “The offense was getting more runs for me to work with but the game went their (Canisius) way. I didn’t care if we won 10-9, as long as we won and the team gave it their best shot.”
Last season, Canisius swept Rider 8-2 and 3-2 in Buffalo, New York. 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 26 of the 40 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.
Rider hosts Saint Joseph’s on Thursday in a single non-conference game at 3:30pm.