Junior Connor Panas hit a two-run, walkoff home run to give the Canisius baseball team a 12-11 win over the University at Buffalo at the Demske Sports Complex on Wednesday afternoon. The Golden Griffins improve to 11-7 on the season and win their home opener for the third time in the last four seasons.
Freshman Jake Lumley was 4-for-5 with three runs scored and two RBI while senior Ronnie Bernick went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI. Senior Ryan Coppinger was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, an RBI and a walk as Canisius posted 16 hits on the day, recording double-digit hits for the 12th time in the last 16 games.
The Griffs scored the first three runs of the game, getting an RBI groundout from senior Jose Torralba in the first and a two-RBI single from sophomore Anthony Massicci in the second. Buffalo (8-6) scored the next eight runs in the game to take a five-run lead in the fifth inning.
Canisius cut into the lead in the bottom of the inning, using an RBI single from Lumley, RBI single from Coppinger and two-RBI double from Bernick to make it a one-run game. Canisius reclaimed the lead in the seventh, which started on a lead-off single from Lumley. Bernick beat out a single to second and senior Shane Zimmer was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Panas came in as a pinch hitter and hit the first pitch he saw to center, tying the game for the Griffs on a sacrifice fly. A balk during the next batter would give Canisius the 9-8 lead. The Griffs added an insurance run in the eighth as freshman Christ Conley singled with two outs, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI single from Lumley.
Buffalo scored three runs in the ninth inning, taking advantage of two HBP, two wild pitches and a walk. A two-out, RBI single from Tyler Mautner tied the game and an RBI single from Chris Kwitzer gave Buffalo the 11-10 lead.
Bernick led off the ninth with a single and after Zimmer flew out to right, Panas jumped on a 2-1 pitch from Kevin Hughes (1-3). He sent the ball over the right-field fence for his first homer of the year and gave the Griffs their third walk-off win over Buffalo in the last four seasons.
Junior Brandon Bielecki (1-1) received the win after allowing three runs in the ninth inning. Canisius used six pitchers in the game with freshman Josh Shepley starting and going three-plus innings. Freshman Zachary Trumpler struck out three batters in 1.2 scoreless innings while junior Eric Stolzenburg threw 1.1 scoreless innings, striking out two batters.
Canisius continues its nine-game homestand when the Golden Griffins open MAAC play this weekend. Canisius hosts Saint Peter’s in a three-game series that starts on Friday. First pitch for the doubleheader is set for 1 p.m.
Game Notes: Canisius defeated Buffalo for the 13th time in the last 17 meetings… The Griffs had a walk-off win at the Demske Sports Complex for the 13th time since 2007. Canisius had three walk-offs at home last season… The walk-off homer from Panas was the first by a Golden Griffin since Sean Jamieson against Buffalo on March 30, 2011… Bernick now has a five-game hitting streak… Lumley is hitting .571 (12-for-21) since March 9… Panas has six hits with seven RBI since March 10… Junior Jesse Puscheck extended his streak of reaching base to 22 consecutive games.