The Canisius baseball team swept defending league champion Manhattan College 9-5 and 4-3 at Van Cortlandt Park in Riverdale, N.Y. on Saturday afternoon. The Golden Griffins improve to 26-10 and 6-5 in the MAAC, extending their winning streak to six games. The Griffs match their season-long winning streak with the two victories and also clinch a three-game series at Manhattan for the first time in program history.
Game One – Canisius 9, Manhattan 5
Manhattan (16-20, 6-8 MAAC) struck first, scoring three runs in the bottom of the fourth. The Jaspers used an RBI single from Ramon Ortega and two-out, two-RBI single from Brendan Slattery, to take a 3-0 lead. The Griffs came right back in the top of the fifth, stringing together three consecutive extra-base hits to start the inning. Freshman Anthony Massicci started the rally with a leadoff double, followed by RBI doubles from juniors Ryan Coppinger and Ronnie Bernick. Later in the inning, Brett Siddall hit an RBI triple, and a sacrifice fly from junior Jimmy Luppens put the Griffs up 4-3.
Canisius took control of the game with four more runs in the seventh. Siddall led off and was hit by a pitch, Luppens singled and junior Jesse Kelso was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. Senior Brooklyn Foster forced home a run by becoming the third Golden Griffin to be hit by a pitch in the inning. An RBI single from sophomore Connor Panas and a two-RBI single from Massicci gave Canisius an 8-3 lead. An RBI single from Bernick in the ninth stretched the Canisius lead to six runs.
Junior Garrett Cortright picked up the win, allowing three runs on four hits, walking four and striking out four to improve to 7-2 on the season. After allowing the three runs in the fourth inning, Cortright retired 13 of the final 15 batters he faced.
Game Two – Canisius 4, Manhattan 3
The teams combined for four errors in the first two innings, with each team scoring an unearned run. Manhattan again scored first, with Nick Camastro reaching on an error to lead off the bottom of the first, moving to second on a sacrifice bunt, advancing to third on another error on a failed pickoff attempt and scoring on a fielder’s choice. The Griffs answered right back in the top of the second as Panas singled with one out and advanced all the way to third base on a fielding error. An RBI single from Massicci tied the game at 1-1.
The Jaspers used three straight hits in the bottom of the fourth to reclaim the lead, getting an RBI single from Ortega to go up 2-1. Manhattan attempted to score a third run on a single from Slattery, but Kelso threw out Christian Santisteban at the plate for the second out of the inning.
Canisius would answer Manhattan for the third time in the game, scoring three runs in the top of the fifth. Senior Chris Gruarin worked a one-out walk, and Bernick followed with a single to center to put runners at the corners. Coppinger tripled to center, scoring both runners and giving Canisius its first lead of the game. An infield single from senior Christian Segar put the Griffs up by two.
That insurance run would prove beneficial in the sixth as the first two Jaspers reached in the bottom of the inning to chase Canisius starter Alex Godzak. Junior Jon Fitzsimmons came into the game and retired the next three batters, giving up a run in the process, but kept Canisius in front, 4-3. The Griffs’ closer pitched a scoreless bottom of the seventh, getting two strikeouts in the inning, to record his sixth save of the season.
Godzak (6-2) won for the sixth time in his last seven appearances, allowing three runs, one earned, in five innings. The freshman allowed four hits, walked one and struck out four. Fitzsimmons struck out three in two innings of work.
Canisius and Manhattan are scheduled to conclude the three-game series on Sunday, with first pitch for the nine-inning game set for noon.
Notes: Canisius was hit by a pitch seven times in the opener, matching the program record from May 1, 1994, against Le Moyne… The triple from Siddall in the opener and Coppinger’s triple in the nightcap give Canisius 19 as a team this season, breaking the program record of 18 triples set in 1992 and matched in 2012… The outfield assist from Kelso was his first of the season and third of his career… The one-run win by the Griffs ended a streak of six consecutive one-run wins by Manhattan in the series… Canisius has won five or more games for the fourth time this season, the highest total since five streaks during the 2008 season.