BUFFALO, NY (Canisius College Media Release) - BUFFALO, N.Y. – Canisius College freshman pitcher Amanda Baun tossed a one-hit, complete-game shutout and teammates Katie Lancellotti and Emily Helbig each drove in two runs as the Golden Griffins defeated Niagara 4-0 Friday afternoon in a MAAC Softball Championship Tournament elimination game at the Demske Sports Complex. Canisius (34-18) will take on Iona at 12 p.m., on Saturday at the Demske Sports Complex and will need to beat the second-seeded Gaels two times to earn the MAAC’s automatic bid into the NCAA Division I Softball Tournament. The Purple Eagles see their season end at 22-22.
Baun earned her team-leading 18th win of the season in the circle after she struck out nine and gave up just one hit, which came with two outs in the top of the seventh. The Riverside, Calif., native fanned eight of the first 11 batters she faced through three innings and was in line to throw her first collegiate no-hitter before Niagara’s Jenna Baker lined a single to right on the first pitch she saw with two down in the frame. With runners at first in third in the seventh, Baun buckled down and got Kristin Sito to ground out to third to end the contest.
The Griffs gave Baun all the help she would need in the bottom of the third with a four-run frame thanks to back-to-back doubles by Lancellotti and Helbig. Junior Lauren Hope singled to left to get the third inning started, and she moved to second on a bunt-single by freshman Katie Medina. After senior Michelle Fridey loaded the bases with a single through the left side, Niagara’s starter Julie DiMatteo got an out, but she gave up the back-to-back doubles to Lancellotti and Helbig, with both of the two-base hits driving in two runs.
Canisius pounded out nine hits off DiMatteo, who took the loss after she gave up four runs to go with four strikeouts and two walks on 103 total pitches. Baun was awarded with her 18th complete-game and seventh shutout of the year as she allowed just one Niagara base runner to reach third base.
Hope went 3-for-4 with a run scored and a stolen base in the winning effort for the Blue and Gold, while Fridey and Helbig added to hits apiece. Lancellotti finished the day by going 1-for-3 with a double, a run scored and two RBIs.
The win moves Canisius into the championship round for the 17th time in the last 20 years. The Griffs started Friday by falling to Iona 6-2, meaning the Blue and Gold will need to defeat Iona two times on Saturday afternoon to earn the program’s 13th MAAC Tournament championship and the school’s 12th berth into the NCAA Division I Softball Tournament.
Game Notes: Canisius now leads the all-time series against Niagara by an 83-19-2 count… The Griffs also improved to 6-3 all-time against Purple Eagles in MAAC Tournament action… Fridey’s two hits against Niagara moved her MAAC Tournament hitting streak to six-straight games, dating back to last year… Lancellotti and Helbig each have four career RBIs in MAAC Tournament games… Baun is the third Canisius pitcher in the last two seasons to win her first career MAAC Tournament start, joining teammate Caroline Main and former Griff Mallory Aldred, who won her first MAAC Tourney start in the circle last season… Canisius is the only MAAC school to come out of the losers’ bracket to win the MAAC title… The last time Canisius beat a team two times in the championship round was at the 2005 event, when the Blue and Gold beat Iona twice to secure the school’s ninth MAAC softball title.