NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y.—When you have your 10th all-time leading hitter at the plate in a tie game with the bases loaded, good things are bound to happen.
And sometimes the leadership presence and patience of that senior prevails above all.
With the score tied 4-4 in the top of the sixth inning, senior Dana Sensi(Allentown) worked a one-out, bases loaded walk, her second bases loaded walk of the game, to give the Rider University softball team a 5-4, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference win at Niagara University on Saturday afternoon and a conference doubleheader split.
The Purple Eagles used the mercy rule and defeated the Broncs 10-2 in game one.
In the nightcap, Sensi was walked for the third time in the game, scoring juniorMorgan Benedetti (Ewing) who led off the inning with a double and advanced to third after the second Purple Eagle error of the inning.
Benedetti had two of Rider’s nine hits on the day.
Rider jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning, taking advantage of three Niagara errors and hits from senior Kim Valdes (Jupiter, Fla./King's Academy) and senior Emily Cottrell (Beachwood/Toms River HS South).
Valdes and Cottrell also had two hits a piece in the doubleheader and each extended their hitting streaks to four games.
Niagara got one back in the bottom of the second inning after a Rider error and RBI single and the Purple Eagles took a 4-3 lead on an outfield error and RBI single in the bottom of the third inning.
Rider tied the game 4-4 on a bases loaded walk by Sensi. Sensi only had one hit in four official at-bats but her .571 on base percentage led the squad on Saturday.
Sophomore Kaitlyn Kallert (Woodland Park/Passaic Valley) worked all seven innings, allowing no earned runs while recording one strikeout to pick up the win, her team-leading fourth of the season, three of which have come in conference play.
In the opener, Rider (7-36, 4-11 MAAC) was held to six singles and Bronc pitching gave up three home runs in the loss.
Trailing 3-0 in the second inning, the Broncs used an RBI groundout to get on the board but the Purple Eagles scored seven times in the bottom of the third inning on three doubles and two home runs to put the Rider deficit at 10-1.
Back to back singles by Valdes and senior Montana Berg (Danville, Calif./Monte Vista) gave Benedetti an RBI opportunity and she delivered a run-scoring single to left field with two outs in the fourth inning for the final score. Benedetti has hits in four straight games for the Broncs.
Junior Megan Ailand (Burlingame, Calif./Burlingame) went the first two innings, allowing eight hits and seven earned runs.
Rider stays in Western New York to face Canisius College on Sunday in a MAAC doubleheader, beginning at noon.