LAKEWOOD, N.J. — The No. 29 Canisius baseball team won its opening game in the 2014 MAAC Championship with a 10-1 over Quinnipiac University at FirstEnergy Park on Wednesday evening. The top-seeded Golden Griffins extend the nation’s longest winning streak to 17 games and improve to 39-14 on the season.
Canisius advances to the winners’ bracket and will face the No. 3 seed Fairfield University at 3 p.m. on Friday.
Senior Jimmy Luppens went 3-for-5 with four RBI, including a homer and double. Sophomore Anthony Massicci was 3-for-4 with a double and triple to go along with three runs scored and three RBI. Junior Mike Krische also had three hits.
Quinnipiac (18-30) struck first and took advantage of two infield singles while using an RBI groundout from Vincent Guglietti to score a run in the top of the first inning. The Griffs came right back and answered in the bottom of the inning. Massicci worked a one-out walk, and Luppens crushed the 0-1 pitch over the fence in left-center to give Canisius a 2-1 lead. The Griffs scored an unearned run in the bottom of the second on an RBI single back up the middle from freshman Christ Conley.
Canisius plated three runs with two outs in the fourth, with senior Jose Torralba battling back from down 1-2 in the count to work a two-out walk. Massicci hit a two-out, two-RBI triple to the gap in left-center and Luppens followed with an RBI double off the wall in left-center on the next pitch to put Canisius up 6-1.
The Griffs chased Quinnipiac starter Justin Thomas in the bottom of the fifth as senior Shane Zimmer led off with a single and junior Jesse Puscheck followed with an RBI double to the gap in left center. Massicci had a two-out RBI single later in the inning and Luppens followed with a cue shot to second base. He beat out the infield single, with the ball getting away from the second baseman and allowing Torralba to score to make it 9-1. An RBI single from junior Connor Panas scored the Griffs’ 10th run.
Junior Rohn Pierce (11-2) went six innings and allowed just one run on three hits while walking zero and striking out three. After the two infield hits to start the game, Pierce retired the next 17 batters. Senior Mike Tolsma and juniors Brandon Bielecki and Eric Stolzenburg each threw a scoreless inning of relief.
Notes: The 17-game winning streak is the longest in the country by any team at any point in 2014… The Griffs have scored nine or more runs in a season-high six straight games… Pierce has gone at least six innings in all 14 of his starts this season… Luppens has three or more hits in three of the last four games… Torralba has scored nine runs in the last five games.