On a day featuring 50-mph wind gusts, the Cansius College baseball team used a nine-run sixth inning and hung on for a 23-20 victory over Manhattan at the Demske Sports Complex on Saturday. Canisius improves to 32-16 overall and 14-2 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Senior Ian Choy was 4-for-5 with five runs scored, two home runs and six RBI, recording the first four-hit game of his career. Junior Steve McQuail went 3-for-6 with three runs scored, six RBI and a third-inning grand slam. Sophomore Drew Pettit was 3-for-6 with two runs scored and two RBI while junior Will Chomicki was 2-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI. The Griffs' top two hitters in the lineup - Perry Silverman and Sean Jamieson - didn't have a hit on the day, but combined for six walks and five runs scored.
McQuail has 68 RBI on the season, breaking the MAAC record of 67 set by Chuck Kulle of Le Moyne during the 1993 season. With the bases loaded in 2010, McQuail is now 8-for-9 with 24 RBI and three grand slams. In the last four games, the junior is 10-for-20 with six home runs and 17 RBI.
The teams combined to score in 14 of the 17 half-innings on the day, including the final 13 half-innings of the game. Manhattan (25-14, 10-6 MAAC) took the early 1-0 lead when Mark Onorati led off with a homer to center. Canisus starter Chris Cox kept the Jaspers from doing any more damage in the first and second innings by ending each inning with a double-play groundball. The Jaspers added four in the third inning, capped with a three-run homer from Mike McCann. The Griffs came back to tie the game in the third, taking advantage of four consecutive walks, with the last walk to Choy forcing home a run. McQuail jumped on the first pitch from starter Mike Gazzola and tied the game with a grand slam.
Manhattan reclaimed the lead with a two-run fourth, but the Griffs came back with a four-run bottom of the inning. Chomicki had an RBI single, McQuail had a two-RBI, bases-loaded double and Choy would later score on the second of five Manhattan errors in the game to make it 9-7 Canisius.
After each team scored a single run in the fifth, Manhattan took the lead again with a four-run sixth, getting a two-RBI single from McCann and RBI single from Austin Sheffield to chase Cox. The Jaspers then executed a double steal to take a 12-10 lead.
Canisius came right back with the biggest inning of the game, scoring nine runs on six hits and taking advantage of two Manahttan errors in the bototm of the sixth. Choy and McQuail led off with singles and Brian Burton hit what appeared to be a double-play groundball to third, but he reached on catcher's interference. Panik had a bases-loaded walk, Pettit and Chomicki had RBI singles, pinch runner Brad Medici would score on a wild pitch and Silverman walked to re-load the bases. Jamieson then hit a grounder to short, but the second baseman bobbled the throw and all the runners were safe. Choy followed with a grand slam off the top of the center-field scoreboard to cap the scoring and put Canisius up 19-12.
Each team scored a run in the seventh and after Manhattan scored a run in the top of the eighth, Canisius pushed its lead to 23-14 with a three-run eighth. Choy hit a one-out homer while McQuail reached on an error and Burton walked to put runners at first and second. Senior Shayne Willson followed with a two-run triple to left-center to extend his hitting streak to 12 games in his sixth and final at-bat of the day and put Canisius up nine runs.
That big lead proved to be beneficial as the Jaspers rallied for six runs in the ninth, capped by a three-run homer to left by Ramon Ortega to make it 23-20 with no outs. Josh Marshall then settled down to retire the last three batters of the game, striking out the last two Jaspers to improve to 6-0 on the season.
Canisius and Manhattan will finish the series on Sunday, with first pitch for the doubleheader scheduled for 12 p.m. In between games, the team will honor the nine members in its Class of 2010.
Game Notes: Canisius has scored 59 runs in the last three games and scored in 20 of 27 innings... Silverman extended his program-record streak of consecutive games with a run to 21 games and now has 66 runs scored. He is two runs away from setting the single-season program record and is seven runs away from setting the MAAC single-season record... Prior to Saturday, Choy had recorded 74 career multi-hit games, but never had four or more hits in a game... The 23 runs scored are the most by Canisius since a 24-8 win against St. Bonaventure on April 9, 2008... Canisius has scored 20 or more runs in four games this season... The Griffs improve to 15-1 against left-handed starting pitchers... The six runs allowed by Canisius in the ninth inning nearly doubled the amount of runs allowed by the pitching staff in the ninth inning all season. Prior to Saturday, Canisius had allowed eight runs in the ninth inning all season... Canisius batted around in two innings and has batted around 31 times on the season... Canisius pitchers hit six batters on the day... Manhattan pitchers walked 10 Canisius batters... Each of the five pitchers in the game threw at least 68 pitches... Canisius is now 21 runs away from breaking the program record for runs scored in a season... The teams combined to score 43 runs and leave just 14 runners on base... Canisius pitchers recorded 13 groundball outs and six strikeouts, leaving out eight outs to come on fly balls... Canisius improves to 34-9 in its last 43 MAAC home games.