On a warm sunny day in Buffalo, New York, the Marist Red Foxes softball team took on the Canisius Golden Griffiths in the first game of the double-elimination MAAC Tournament Final Four.
Going into this game the Red Foxes were listed as the number eight seed while Canisius was listed as the number two seed with a 20-12 record along with an 8-3 record at home, which is where the game was played today. The Red Foxes were not the favorites in this one, but that did not faze them. Last week they went up against the reigning back-to-back champs in the Monmouth Hawks, who they took down on their home turf. History would repeat itself once again as the Red Foxes took down Canisius today by a score of 5-0.
Today the big star of the show for the Red Foxes was junior pitcher Calista Phippen, who was dominant on the mound. Phippen threw a complete game shutout giving up only four hits, one walk, and struck out 11. The game started off with not much offense, as both teams were held in check for the first two innings. But in the third inning, the Red Foxes struck first with a solo home run by senior shortstop Carolina Baratta, which gave the Red Foxes a 1-0 lead.
Then in the top of the fourth inning, after Phippen had another one-two-three inning, the Red Foxes were able to get her some more run support. The Red Foxes got their first runner on base after freshman third baseman Miah McDonald reached base with a one-out bunt single.
After her, was freshman designated player Alyssa Grupp reaching base with an infield single, which put runners on first and second with one out. Next up was senior center fielder Hunter Hand who drove in McDonald with an RBI single, giving the Red Foxes a 2-0 lead and moving Grupp to third. This resulted in Canisius junior starting pitcher Alexis Churchill being taken out of the game, and freshman pitcher Megan Giese coming in relief. Shortly after, Baratta came up to the plate and worked a walk, but ball four was a wild pitch which allowed Grupp to score from third making it 3-0 Red Foxes.
In the top of the sixth inning, after the Red Foxes were able to get runners on first and second with one out. This led to a double steal with junior left fielder Hailee Jantorno stealing second base with Grupp stealing third, due to a bad throw from home, Grupp was able to score, giving the Red Foxes a 4-0 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Phippen worked through some trouble as Canisius had runners on first and second with two outs, but Phippen battled back and forced a pop-up to end the inning.
The top of the seventh inning was the last chance the Red Foxes would have to put a bigger dent in the score and give Phippen even more breathing room. They did just that as junior catcher Kaley Coltrain crushed her tenth home run of the season to give the Red Foxes a 5-0 lead. Canisius would have one final chance to try and salvage this game, but Phippen had other ideas, as she shut them down one last time, and ended the game with her 11th strikeout propelling the Red Foxes to a 5-0 victory.
They will take on the winner of the Manhattan vs. Fairfield game tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. As they inch closer to their goal of winning the MAAC Tournament.
Edited by Nick Stanziale
Photo from Marist College Athletics