Marist Softball Opens MAAC Play with Split Doubleheader against Niagara

“Move out the way, please don’t be a hero.”

The lyrics from the song “Skateboard P” by MadeinTYO blasted over the speakers as Marist junior Brandi Coon stepped up to the plate. The bases were loaded with two outs as Marist trailed by just one run in the bottom of the 5th inning. Unfortunately for the Red Foxes, neither Coon nor anyone else would manage the heroic hit they so desperately needed to give them their second win on the day.

The hero of the first matchup between the Marist Red Foxes and Niagara University Purple Eagles was unquestionably junior pitcher Megan Beiermeister. She was dealing throughout the matchup as she racked up five strikeouts while only allowing two hits in a complete game shutout. “Everything was working pretty well. The defense was playing really well, so as long as I threw strikes, it was all good,” said Beiermeister.

The junior has become an ace for the Red Foxes. Coming into the game, she had pitched more innings than anyone else on the team with 64.2 innings pitched, and she boasts the best ERA on the team as well as 2.92 runs per game. That number will undoubtedly go down after her performance today. “It’s pretty cool,” said Beiermeister. “It’s definitely a new spot (for me) because I’m one of the older pitchers now along with Kallen (Leeseberg) and Brooke (Peterson).”

For the majority of the first game, a two run triple by Coon was the only difference, but the Red Foxes added on five runs of insurance in the bottom of the sixth to ensure Beiermeister could finish off her shutout. Marist won 7-0.

The Purple Eagles made certain that they would not be kept off the scoreboard in the second matchup with back-to-back homeruns to kick off the game. Both Kelsey Harrigan and Kendall Watkins took out the team’s frustrations with two massive blasts that had the Red Foxes turning to the bullpen in the first. Two more runs in the top of the second pushed the lead up to 4-0 in favor of Niagara early, but Marist continued to battle back. Coon added two more RBIs on the day with a homerun that she managed to tuck just over the centerfield fence in the bottom of the second. An inning later, Marist’s leading hitter Ali Milam got ahold of a high fastball and sent it over the wall for a three-run homerun that made the score 5-4 in favor of Marist.

Niagara leadoff hitter Kelsey Harrigan proved to be Marist’s kryptonite. In the top of the fourth, she roped a single up the middle that would plate two runs and give the Purple Eagles a 6-5 lead. The freshman centerfielder knocked in five of Niagara’s six runs.

The game had turned into an intense back-and-forth, but the tone quickly changed. Marist’s Nicole Teague kept the Purple Eagles from getting any offensive momentum in the final three innings of the game, but it was too little, too late.

The bottom of the fifth was the best chance for Marist to get even when they loaded the bases with two outs. Niagara pitcher Jennifer Szilagyi became the first Purple Eagle to slow down Coon on the day by forcing a harmless groundout and suppressing the threat. Sophomore Emily Johnston then used her powerful fastball to strike out two Marist batters in the bottom of the seventh and shut the door on any possible comeback attempt.

The Red Foxes hope to regroup in another double-header against Canisius College on Sunday, and they will likely turn to Beiermeister once again to get them back in the win column.

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