The Canisius baseball team overcame a 10-0 deficit and rallied to defeat the University at Buffalo 12-11 at the Demske Sports Complex on Tuesday afternoon. The Golden Griffins improve to 15-8 overall and extend their winning streak to five games.
Canisius posted double-digit hits for the 16th time this season, with junior Connor Panas and freshmen Jake Lumley and Christ Conley each recording multi-hit games. Sophomore Anthony Massicci was 1-for-1 with two runs scored out of the leadoff spot and tied a program record with four walks.
Buffalo (10-8) scored the first 10 runs of the game, including eight runs in the fourth inning against three Canisius pitchers. The Bulls sent 14 batters to the plate in the inning and scored those eight runs on just five hits by taking advantage of two walks, two HBP, three wild pitches and a passed ball on a strikeout to start the inning.
Canisius chipped away at the lead by scoring 12 runs during the next four innings. The rally started in the fourth on a walk to junior Jesse Puscheck. After singles from Panas and senior Shane Zimmer loaded the bases, an RBI groundout from senior Jesse Kelso got the Griffs on the board. Conley followed with an RBI single to make it 10-2. The freshman moved to second base on a wild pitch, and Zimmer scored when the throw went into center field to cut the deficit to seven runs.
Puscheck led off the fifth with a double and after a walk to Panas, Zimmer hit a grounder to third base. Puscheck was retired but the throw across the diamond to attempt the double play went out of play to put runners at second and third. Panas would score on a wild pitch and another RBI groundout from Kelso made it 10-5.
Canisius came right back in the sixth, with Massicci drawing a one-out walk and advancing to second on a failed pickoff attempt. Lumley singled up the middle to score the sophomore. Luppens followed with a fly ball that the right fielder couldn’t complete the running catch as the wind blew the ball toward the right-field line. A two-out, ground-rule double from junior Connor Panas made it 10-8.
After Buffalo scored a run in the top of the seventh to extend its lead to three runs, Conley started the go-ahead rally in the seventh with a one-out single off the plate, and sophomore Brett Siddall followed with a double to get two runners into scoring position. Massicci sent an RBI single to left and took a wide turn at first base, with the throw by the first baseman after the cutoff going wide of the bag and scoring Siddall and sending Massicci to third. Lumley went the other way and dropped a double in shallow left field to tie the game. Lumley moved to third base on a fly ball and would score on a wild pitch to give Canisius its first lead of the game.
Freshman Josh Shepley started for the Griffs and allowed five runs (four earned) in three innings while striking out four. The trio of juniors Tyler Vavra, Brandon Bielecki (2-1) and Eric Stolzenburg combined to allow one run in the final five innings. Vavra shifted the momentum on the mound by throwing not allowing a run in the fifth and sixth innings. Stolzenburg picked up his first save of the season by striking out five of the seven batters he faced in the final two innings.
Canisius wraps up its eight-game homestand this weekend with a three-game series against conference foe Manhattan. First pitch for Saturday’s doubleheader is set for noon.
Game Notes: Canisius rallied from a 10-run deficit for the first time in the last 14 seasons… Canisius has a winning streak of five games or longer for the 17th time since the start of the 2008 season… Canisius defeated Buffalo for the 14th time in the last 18 meetings… Canisius improved to 3-1 this season in one-run games and is 14-4 in one-run games during the past two seasons… Massicci became the seventh player in program history with four walks in a game. Massicci also now has a seven-game hitting streak… Lumley has 14 hits in his last seven starts… Luppens and Panas each extended their hitting streaks to six games while Puscheck extended his on-base streak to 25 games… Stolzenburg has struck out nine batters in his last five innings pitched… Canisius has a .986 fielding percentage during the last six games.