The Canisius baseball team saw its 2013 season come to an end in a 14-6 loss to No. 23 Florida Atlantic in an elimination game at Boshamer Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Golden Griffins, who were making their first appearance in program history in the NCAA Tournament, finish the campaign with a 42-17 record, with the 42 wins standing as the most in program history and in MAAC history.
Senior Brooklyn Foster was 3-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI while junior Shane Zimmer went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a walk. Junior Ronnie Bernick scored two runs and worked two walks.
“We had a terrific team with an awful lot of talent. There is no question we have quality leaders in Chris Gruarin and Brooklyn Foster,” Canisius coach Mike McRae said. “That will be sorely missed because it is something that is difficult to recruit and has been a missing ingredient for our program. I hope they can pass it along as we continue to raise the bar for our program and the league.”
Florida Atlantic (39-21) took advantage of a leadoff walk in the top of the first and scored the game’s first run on an RBI groundout. The Owls extended the lead to 4-0 on a two-out, three-run homer to right-center from Nathan Pittman in the second inning. Canisius cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the inning with back-to-back singles from Foster and Zimmer leading off the inning. Sophomore Jesse Puscheck had an RBI groundout and junior Jesse Kelso had an opposite-field RBI single to make it 4-2.
The Owls would chase Canisius starter Devon Stewart (5-6) when the sophomore walked the bases loaded to start the third inning. After a wild pitch from sophomore Alex Godzak scored one run, a three-run homer from Corey Keller put Florida Atlantic up 8-2. The Owls scored single runs in the fourth, sixth and seventh to make it 11-2. Canisius scored once in the bottom of the seventh and then scored two more in the eighth to get within six, 11-5.
Notes: Canisius played a game in the month of June for the first time in program history… Canisius and Florida Atlantic met for the first time and the Griffs played a team from the state of Florida for the first time since playing Jacksonville on April 4, 1991… The two-inning start was the shortest of Stewart’s career… Godzak made his first relief appearance since April 14… Junior Ryan Coppinger ends the season on a career-long 10-game hitting streak. He left the game after the fifth inning after making a diving catch in right field… The 10 walks by Canisius pitchers were the most in any game on the season… The 14 runs scored by Florida Atlantic matched the most allowed by the Griffs this season (14 at UNC Asheville on Feb. 24).