BATAVIA, N.Y. — The Canisius baseball team collected 13 hits, including seven hits with two outs, to defeat Indiana State 5-4 at Dwyer Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Golden Griffins, who clinched the series after also winning 3-1 on Friday, improve to 22-13 on the season.
Sophomore Anthony Massicci matched a career high with four hits while senior Ryan Coppinger had three hits. Junior Jesse Puscheck reached base three times with two walks and a double to go along with two runs scored.
The Griffs struck first for the second consecutive game, as Puscheck battled back from down 0-2 in the count to lead off the second with a walk. After senior Jimmy Luppens was hit by the next pitch, a wild pitch put the two runners into scoring position. Coppinger laced a single to left to put Canisius up 1-0.
Canisius built some breathing room in the fourth, scoring three runs on five hits. Coppinger and freshman Christ Conley led off the inning with back-to-back singles, both coming with two strikes in the count. After freshman Jake Lumley reached on a fielder’s choice, Lumley was picked off at first base for the second out of the inning. Canisius then put together three consecutive two-out hits to score the three runs. Massicci singled to left on the next pitch to make it 2-0. Senior Jesse Kelso sent a triple to dead center field that ticked off the centerfielder’s glove who tried to make a running catch as Massicci scored on the play. Panas then crushed a double to the fence in right field and put Canisius up 4-0.
Junior Rohn Pierce walked two batters in the first and gave up two singles in the second inning but got out of both jams. Pierce settled down and retired seven consecutive batters before Connor McClain doubled to lead off the fifth inning. The Sycamores scored single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to cut the Canisius lead in half, 4-2.
The Griffs got one of the runs back in the seventh, scoring what proved to be the game-winning run. Puscheck led off with another walk and Luppens followed with a single to left-center to put runners at the corners. Coppinger would ground out to first, with Puscheck holding at third and Luppens advancing to second. After Conley struck out looking, pinch hitter Jose Torralba was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Massicci, who singled for the fourth time in the game and scored Puscheck to make it 5-2. Indiana State used three pitchers in relief of Brad Lombard (6-1) in the inning and kept the Griffs within striking distance.
The Sycamores chased Pierce in the eighth with back-to-back leadoff singles. Senior Mike Tolsma relieved Pierce and got a strikeout for the first out of the inning. McClain double down the first-base line, off the glove of Luppens, for his fourth hit of the day and made it 5-3. Tolsma then got a groundout, which scored a run to make it 5-4, and a pop out to end the inning.
Junior Brandon Bielecki relieved Tolsma in the ninth and retired the first two batters before issuing a two-out walk. Bielecki then got a fly out on the next pitch to end the game and pick up his second save of the season.
Pierce (7-2) allowed four runs on nine hits, walked two and struck out four. Lombard gave up five runs on 11 hits, walked five and struck out two in receiving his first loss of the season.
The teams will conclude the three-game, non-conference series on Sunday, with first pitch back at the Demske Sports Complex set for noon.
Notes: Kelso’s triple was the 11th of his career, breaking the program record of 10, previously held by Gabe Baida… Kelso becomes the 12th Golden Griffin to hit a triple this season, which is the highest total in the country… Pierce pitched at least seven innings for the ninth time in 10 starts this season… Coppinger had three hits in a game for the second time this season… Canisius had 10 or more hits for the 24th time in 35 games this season... Canisius improved to 5-4 in one-run games after losing its previous three one-run contests.