TROY, N.Y. - A one-out single to right field with the bases loaded from sophomore Jose Torralba gave the Canisius College baseball team a 2-1 win over Fairfield University in the first round of the 2012 MAAC Championship at Joe Bruno Stadium on Thursday night.
The Golden Griffins (32-25) advance to the winners' bracket game on Friday night when No. 2 seed Canisius takes on No. 4 seed Rider University. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. A free audio broadcast will be available on GoGriffs.com and a pay-per-view video broadcast is available on MAAC.TV.
The Griffs took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first as sophomore Mike Krische led off with a single to center field. He stole second base and moved to third base on a wild pitch. Krische then scored on an RBI groundout from sophomore Jimmy Luppens.
The Stags tied the game in the third as Alex Witkus and Ryan Plourde were each hit by a pitch while Dean Sadik had a single to load the bases with two outs. Jack Giannini then singled to right to score Witkus, but Sadik was held at third. Junior Chris Gruarin threw to second base and sophomore Ronnie Bernick applied the tag on Plourde to end the rally and give Gruarin his 10th outfield assist of the season.
Fairfield had base runners in the eighth and ninth innings as Sadik was hit by a pitch to lead off the eighth. After a sacrifice bunt, Canisius starter Garrett Cortright then got two groundouts to get out of the inning. In the ninth, pinch hitter Rob LoPinto drew a leadoff walk off reliever Nathan Linseman. However, Sebastian Salvo struck out when trying to bunt with two strikes and he fouled a pitch off. Sophomore Jon Fitzsimmons (3-1) came into the game and got a fly out and strikeout to end the threat.
Luppens had his second opposite-field single of the day, going to right field with one out to start the rally in the ninth. After a walk to pinch hitter Connor Panas, junior Brooklyn Foster also drew a walk to load the bases. Torralba fell behind 0-2 in the count and then sent the 1-2 pitch over the drawn-in right fielder's head to easily score pinch runner Christian Segar and give the Griffs their first walk-off win of the season.
Cortright went eight innings, settling down after the first three innings. The sophomore allowed seven baserunners in the first three innings but then allowed three baserunners over the final five innings as he struck out six in those five innings.
Senior Scott Warwick (3-4) was effective for the Stags as Warwick went 8.1 innings, allowing two runs, one earned, striking out seven while walking four.
Notes: The game featured a two-hour, 15-minute rain delay with first pitch coming at 9:15 p.m... Nine of the last 13 MAAC Championship games for the Griffs have been decided by one run, with the Griffs posting a 6-3 record in those nine games... Canisius won for the first time this season when scoring two runs or fewer (1-11)... Gruarin now has 19 outfield assists in the last two seasons... The last walk-off win for the Griffs in the MAAC Championship came on May 22, 2009, in a 9-8 win over Rider... Cortright went at least eight innings for the third time this season... Fitzsimmons has a win in each of his last two appearances... Foster now has a hit in four of his last five starts... Krische has now reached base in 11 straight games... Luppens has seven hits in the last five games... Panas has now reached base in 24 of his last 43 plate appearances... Torralba extended his hitting streak to five games