The Canisius College baseball team split a doubleheader with the University at Buffalo on Tuesday, dropping the first game 5-4 and winning the second game 8-2. Canisius is now 23-29 on the season.
Three Golden Griffins had three hits on the day - freshman Shane Zimmer, sophomore Chris Gruarin and freshman Jose Torralba. Freshman Ryan Coppinger was 2-for-3 with an RBI while sophomore Kevin Whitehead had a team-high three RBI.
Game One - Buffalo 5, Canisius 4
Canisius scored the first four runs, plating two in the top of the first and second innings. Canisius took advantage of two dropped fly balls in the top of the first and also got an RBI double from senior Brian Burton to take the quick 2-0 lead. The Griffs made it 4-0 in the second as Gruarin led off with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from sophomore Frank Polino, moved to third base on a wild pitch and scored on an errant throw. Zimmer then tripled to left and scored on an RBI single from Coppinger.
The Bulls added one in the bottom of the second and then kept Canisius off the scoreboard in the fourth as the Griffs loaded the bases with nobody out. But Buffalo starter Daniel Ginader got senior Will Chomicki to hit a ground ball to third, which led to a force out at home, and Torralba to hit into a 6-4-3 double play to keep it a 4-1 game.
Buffalo (13-37) scored four in the sixth to take the 5-4 lead. Tom Murphy had an RBI groundout, River McWilliams drew a bases-loaded walk and Daniel Scahill had the go-ahead, two-RBI single to give the Bulls the one-run lead.
Canisius got the tying run on base as Chomicki singled with one out. Senior Sean Jamieson sent the 1-0 pitch down the left-field line, but it curved around the foul pole for a long strike. Jamieson then singled through the left side but McWilliams got Burton to fly out to end the game.
Redshirt sophomore Billy Martin allowed one run and two hits in his four innings of work. Senior Josh Marshall (3-1) took the loss, allowing four unearned runs in his two innings of relief.
Game Two - Canisius 8, Buffalo 2
Canisius scored the first four runs for the second straight game as the Griffs scored three times in the second. Freshman Jimmy Luppens started the rally with a one-out, stand-up triple. After Whitehead was hit by a pitch, Torralba had an RBI double. The Griffs took advantage of an extra out as senior Nat Barone reached on an error, with Whitehead scoring and Torralba moving to third. Barone then stole second and after the throw down to second, Torralba took home on a delayed steal to put Canisius up 3-0. In the third, Gruarin had a one-out double, and moved to third on a wild pitch. After Luppens walked, Whitehead dropped down a bunt to score Gruarin and put Canisius ahead 4-0.
Canisius added three more in the fifth, starting with a leadoff double from Pettit. Gruarin would beat out a bunt single and then steal second base to get two runners into scoring position. Whitehead followed with a double to RBI center to score both runners. Barone would reach on another error, scoring pinch runner Cody Stonish to put Canisius up 7-1. The Griffs tacked on the eighth run in the sixth as Chomicki led off with a single, stole second, moved to third on a balk and scored on an RBI single from Zimmer.
Sophomore Scott Whitehead (1-2) earned the win by allowing one run in four innings. Freshman Jon Fitzsimmons threw two scoreless innings of relief, striking out two while Ryan Fennell allowed one run in the seventh.
Canisius will close out the regular season with a three-game series against rival Niagara University. First pitch for Thursday's doubleheader at the Demske Sports Complex is set for noon.
Canisius is guaranteed a spot in the 2011 MAAC Championship (May 25-28, Trenton, N.J.) with a three-game sweep of Niagara in the final regular-season series. If Canisius wins two of three against the Purple Eagles, the only way the Golden Griffins will not qualify for the postseason is if Marist and Siena only play two games and they split those two games. If Canisius wins two of three against Niagara and the Marist-Siena series is played to completion, the Golden Griffins will play in the MAAC Championship.
Notes: Due to unplayable field conditions at Amherst Audubon Field, the games were moved to the Demske Sports Complex. Buffalo served as the home team in both games... Marshall took the loss for the second time in his last 14 decisions... The win for Whitehead was the first of his career... Whitehead made his first start since April 10, at George Washington... Freshman Ronnie Bernick made his fourth start of the season... Coppinger has eight hits in his last seven starts, raising his batting average 19 points in the last two weeks... Gruarin is 6-for-12 in the last four games, bumping his batting average to .283... Jamieson didn't start the second game, his first game off this season. Pettit is now the only Griff to appear in all 52 games... Canisius has now won six of the last eight against Buffalo.