By Cynthia Reyes
The Rider softball team was swept in their MAAC doubleheader versus Niagara this past Sunday at Herb and Joan Young Field.
The Broncs’ (6-27, 1-7 MAAC) season woes would continue as they were outscored 24-4 in both games. Rider dropped the first game 12-0 before falling in the nightcap, 12-4.
The first game turned into no contest early as Niagara (17-13, 5-3 MAAC) shut out the Broncs in six innings with strong pitching and many hits.
“Niagara is a good team every year,” said junior Lucy Higgins. “They make it to the tournament because they are a good hitting team and have good defense.”
The Broncs fought hard, holding Niagara to only two runs up until the fifth inning, but that would be as far as their defense would take them. Niagara scored four runs and tacked on an additional six runs in the final frame.
“Niagara is a good hitting team,” head coach Tricia Carroll told Rider Sports Information. “I think they have a good chance to win the conference.”
The Broncs tried to get the bats going against Niagara, but three hits were not enough to rally past the Purple Eagles.
“Niagara capitalizes on mistakes, whether its by the pitcher or the defense, by making you work to get every out in a game,” Higgins said. “They are one of the better teams in the MAAC because they hit the ball hard.”
Seniors Amanda Centeno and Jen Steward and sophomore Alyssa Paul each recorded a hit in the game. Junior pitcher Rachael Matreale struck out eight Purple Eagles but walked seven batters.
This was the third time the Purple Eagles had shutout Rider in two years.
In the second game of the doubleheader, Rider’s bats came to life, but its four runs scoredwould not be enough to knock off the ferocious offense of the Purple Eagles.
The Broncs mustered four runs early in the game before the bats went silent. Freshman Krysti Maronski recorded three strikeouts for the Broncs, but Niagara still managed to match their score of the previous game and plate 12 runs in seven innings.
“We talk all the time about playing every pitch and winning every pitch and we didn’t do that,” Carroll told Rider Sports Information.
Higgins believes the pitching has been solid and the offense needs to pick up.
“Our pitching has been good this year and everyone is going to have that rough outing,” she said. “But as I said before, we need to support our pitchers better with run support.”