The Canisius College baseball team opened its Spring Break trip by falling to No. 23 Kentucky, 19-9, on Friday evening in the opening game of the three-game series at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The unbeaten Wildcats improve to 14-0, while the Griffs fall to 7-6 overall.
Senior third-baseman Drew Pettit led the Golden Griffins, going 4-for-5 with 4 RBIs, including a grand slam in the top of the seventh. In his performance, the senior tied his career game-high in both hits (4) and RBIs (4).
With the Wildcats holding a 4-0 lead through three innings, the Griffs split the deficit with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth. Both Griffs runs came off a pair of RBI-singles by sophomore first baseman Jimmy Luppens and junior catcher Brooklyn Foster.
In the next three innings, Kentucky managed to build their lead to 15-2 off nine answered runs, including six in the bottom of the sixth.
Canisius managed to put five runs on the scoreboard in the top of the seventh. The Griffs found themselves with the bases loaded early in the inning off a pair of walks to sophomore second baseman Jose Torralba and sophomore shortstop Ronnie Bernick, and a leftfield-single by Foster. The Wildcats called in relief with lefthander Jeff Boehm.
Following two balls, Pettit would take Boehm the distance over the centerfield wall for a grand slam. Boehm's problem on the mound would continue, walking the next to Griff batters. With the bases loaded and another Wildcat reliever on the mound, junior rightfielder Chris Gruarin would trot home off Foster's walk to first, cutting into the Wildcats' lead, 15-7.
Starting pitcher Billy Martin (1-1) recorded the Griffs' loss in 5.0 innings, striking out a pair of batters.
Canisius returns to action at Cliff Hagan Stadium for game two of the series with Kentucky. The opening pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.
NOTES: Bernick's hit streak continues at seven games... Griffs' first loss this season with Martin on the mound to start the game... Marked the first time the Griffs have lost, while scoring 6 or more runs... Marks the second consecutive season the Griffs and Wildcats are meeting.