Career-highs set in rout of UB

 

Altman-5

Morgan Altman has enjoyed great success in her sophomore season so far. (Marshall Haim/The Griffin)

 

By Marshall Haim

Sports Editor

Offense had come at a premium for the first couple months of the season, but the bats have since been awoken.

In their first game in almost two weeks, the Canisius softball team, finally, held their home opener Wednesday in a frigid doubleheader at the Demske Sports Complex.

Following a mercy-rule shortened first game with the University at Buffalo, Canisius mustered nine hits that plated nine runs in the first two innings en route to a 15-5 five-inning thwarting of their crosstown rival.

The 15 runs were the most scored against UB in program history and the 10-run victory is the largest by either team.

“We had a discussion [after the first game] about coming to the field with a fire and passion,” Canisius head coach Kim Griffin said, “and not relying on the coaches to give you that passion. I thought we did that in game two because we got all over them.”

Morgan Altman drove home a career-high five runs in the nightcap, clubbing an RBI double and grand slam in the first and second innings, respectively.

Her grand slam in the second frame kickstarted a six-run inning. It was Altman’s team-leading third home run of the season.

Altman’s .259 batting average, 21 hits, eight extra-base hits (three doubles, two triples and three home runs) and 17 RBIs are all signs of improvement from last season. She batted .219 with 16 hits and just two doubles in her first collegiate season a year ago.

“I went in for more reps in the fall,” she stated, regarding what has contributed to her success this season. “I think more reps has helped. I’ve worked on outside pitches more.”

She added that the loss of Lauren Castro has been some added motivation for her, as she has been inserted as the No. 3 hitter in the lineup.

Altman wasn’t the only person to join the offensive party, so too was Destiny Holani and Kara Paradowski.

Holani, appearing in her first game since Feb. 25, hit an RBI single in the second inning before plating two more runs in the fourth inning. The three RBIs for Holani is also a new career-high.

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Kara Paradowski, the Griffs’ leadoff hitter, has excelled in her first year at the collegiate level. (Marshall Haim/The Griffin)

Paradowski, a freshman, continues to shine for the Griffs in her first year as she went a combined 5-for-7 in the twinbill. She scored three runs while driving home three runs on a bases-clearing triple in a six-run fourth inning.

The left-handed slap hitter also increased her MAAC lead in stolen bases to 18 with three steals in the doubleheader. She swiped two bases in the first game, her fourth game with multiple steals.

Paradowski is already tied for ninth place for steals in a single season. She has at least one stolen base in six of her last 10 games.

So far, it has appeared that she has had an easy transition on the diamond from high school to college.

“She will tell you another story,” Griffin laughed. “Kara is the type of player that wants to get better and in her mind she’s performing below where she needs to be. For a freshman playing Division I softball, she’s doing a fantastic job.”

“I would say it’s definitely a lot different and there are a lot more times where I struggled more here than I did in high school,” Paradowski said. “But then just remembering you’re able to do this. You should be here, you’re meant to be here. You’re here for a reason.”

The offensive showing in the second game was also very much needed for the team, who has now won two of their last three games after putting a program-record 15-game losing streak behind them.

“It helps a lot,” Altman said. “We’ve been struggling for wins and offense. I think it was definitely good that we were able to do that, especially before we leave for a MAAC weekend.”

Senior Erika Mackie earned her 35th career victory in the circle for the Griffs. She allowed nine hits, giving up five runs (three earned). She struck out four batters while walking none.

The Griffs face Saint Peter’s on Saturday with the first game beginning at 11 a.m. They will then travel to face Manhattan in Riverdale Sunday at noon.

Following this weekend, Canisius will have 10 of their final 12 games at home.

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