Preview: Canisius heads to Southern Tier to face St. Bonaventure

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Denver Keller and Canisius softball will be facing Western New York rival St. Bonaventure on Wednesday at Joyce Field. (Marshall Haim/The Griffin file photo)

By Marshall Haim

Sports Editor

After their home opener originally scheduled for last Sunday with Robert Morris was postponed due to scheduling conflicts, Canisius softball is heading back on the road.

This time, however, it is only an hour and a half trip to Olean to face St. Bonaventure.

Canisius (3-18), losers of their last eight, will look to end their losing streak against their Western New York rival, St. Bonaventure. Per stats.ncaa.org, through Monday’s games, the Griffs have had the toughest schedule so far this season amongst MAAC schools, ranking 73rd out of the 296 Division I schools.

The Bonnies (6-14) lost two out of their three games at George Washington last weekend, kickstarting Atlantic-10 play. St. Bonaventure has lost five of their last seven contests.

The first game between Canisius and St. Bonaventure is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.

Nice to see you again: This will be the 67th and 68th meetings between the two rivals. St. Bonaventure won two out of the three meetings last year. It is the third consecutive year and 15th time in the last 17 years that the two teams will face one another.

Get the offense going: Canisius is currently one of four teams in the country to have a batting average below .200. Gianna Degaltini currently leads Canisius in batting with a .269 average. Morgan Altman has four extra-base hits so far this season (one double, two triples and one home run). Altman is currently in a five-way tie for the MAAC-lead with her pair of triples. The sophomore from West Seneca had just two extra-base hits (both doubles) in 41 games last season.

The Griffs have not been able to surpass the four-run threshold this season. They have scored four runs on four occasions, most recently at UNC Greensboro on March 16.

Wednesday would be a perfect time for the Griffs to bring up their batting and scoring averages as the Bonnies have the 10th worst earned run average (ERA) in the country (7.08). Canisius currently has the second-worst batting average (.187) and the second-lowest runs scored per game average (1.52), through Monday’s games per stats.ncaa.org.

Hit the ground running: Canisius, despite having trouble getting hits or runs, has 27 stolen bases so far in 21 games this season. The 27 steals is the second-most amongst MAAC schools — Marist has the most with 34. Freshman Kara Paradowski leads the conference with 11 stolen bases in 12 attempts. Fellow freshman Erin Hufford is tied for third in the MAAC with seven steals in 10 tries.

Relying on the lone senior: Erika Mackie, the lone senior on this year’s team, threw in all five games of the Spartan Classic in Greensboro, N.C. two weekends ago. The Scranton, Pa. native ranks tied for second in the MAAC in complete games (6), third in innings pitched (60⅔) and fifth in ERA (2.88) and opposing batting average (.250). All marks are currently Canisius-highs so far this season.

Return of the transfer: Junior transfer Molly Hennessy will return to Joyce Field for the first time since transferring to Canisius following her sophomore campaign with the Bonnies.

Scouting the Bonnies: St. Bonaventure third baseman Olivia Golay ranks sixth in the Atlantic-10 with a .389 batting average and is fourth in the A-10 in on-base percentage (.476) and slugging percentage (.750). All figures for the junior are currently team-highs.

Golay has 14 hits on the season and nine of which have gone for extra-base hits (seven doubles, two home runs). Freshman Grace Perechinsky ranks second on the Bonnies in batting average (.306) and third in on-base percentage (.379).

Rylee Hehir has made 10 appearances for the Bonnies this season, nine of which have been starts. The sophomore leads St. Bonaventure in wins (5), complete games (6), innings pitched (50⅓), strikeouts (38) and ERA (4.64).

Reunion upon reunion: A trio of alumnae from Holy Cross in Scranton, Pa. will be playing Wednesday at Joyce Field. Mackie, Golay and Perechinsky will all take to the all-turf surface at St. Bonaventure facing off against each other before reconnecting after the game. Despite each player being different ages, they all know each other very well and support each other through social media.

Canisius junior transfer Molly McGuire will reunite with former high school teammate Nicole Antonacci on Wednesday. Both players attended Solvay High School in the Syracuse area.

What’s next: Canisius will be off until next Wednesday when the Griffs will travel to the Salt City to face the Syracuse Orange in a weekday doubleheader. The first game is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.

St. Bonaventure, following the doubleheader with Canisius, will begin a three-game series with Dayton on Thursday. The Bonnies, following the conclusion of the series with the Flyers, will have played five games in a four-day span.

Update central: For updates from this game, follow Marshall Haim on Twitter (@mhaim1934) or follow the Griffs’ official Twitter account (@GriffsSoftball).

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