Jumping out to a big lead in both games, the Canisius College baseball team lost the opener 7-5 but rebounded to win the second game 14-13 in eight innings against Marist at McCann Field on Saturday. With the win, the Golden Griffins clinch the 2010 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular-season title for the second time in three seasons. The Golden Griffins also reach the 35-win plateau for the third consecutive season, improving to 35-17 overall and 17-3 in the MAAC.
Junior Brian Burton had a team-high five hits on the day to go along with six RBI. Senior Shayne Willson and junior Steve McQuail each went 4-for-8, with McQuail recording five RBI and now totaling 76 RBI on the season. Senior Ian Choy reached base in six of his 10 plate appearances, increasing his on-base percentage to .523.
Canisius built a 5-0 lead in the first game, getting on the board with two runs in the first inning. Perry Silverman was hit by a pitch to lead off the game, stole second, moved to third on a passed ball and scored on a sacrifice fly from Choy. McQuail followed with a double and then scored on a single from Burton. The Griffs added two in the third on a two-run homer from McQuail. Canisius pushed the lead to five runs when Willson led off the fourth with a single, moved to third on a double from Paul Panik and scored on a sacrifice fly by Will Chomicki.
Marist (29-20, 12-8 MAAC) was struggling against Canisius starter Mike Goemans who was cruising through the first four innings, allowing only one hit. The Red Foxes then scored four times in the fifth and tied the game in the sixth. The Red Foxes took the lead with two unearned runs in the eighth. Michael Gallic reached on a fielding error from third baseman Drew Pettit and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt. Reliever Billy Martin then got a grounder to Pettit, who gunned Gallic down at the plate for the second out of the inning. Zach Shank, who had reached on the fielder's choice, moved to second on a passed ball and then consecutive walks loaded the bases. Mike Orefice had the two-out, two-RBI single, which proved to be the game-winning hit.
Goemans allowed four runs while giving up five hits and walking four in six innings of work. Martin (4-4) took the loss, giving up two unearned runs, walking two and yielding two hits in two innings of relief.
In the second game, Canisius scored in the first inning again, sending nine batters to the plate. McQuail and Burton each had RBI singles while Brad Medici was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force in the third run. The Griffs then built an 11-0 lead, scoring eight runs on just three hits in the third. Burton had the big hit, clearing the bases with a grand slam after six consecutive Marist walks.
The Red Foxes came right back by scoring eight runs of their own, with six of those runs being unearned off Canisius starter Shane Davis. A one-out error by McQuail gave Marist an extra out and the Red Foxes took advantage with Byrce Nugent and Richard Curlyo providing two-RBI hits for Marist, to make the score 11-8 after three.
Each team scored twice in the fourth, with Canisius getting a run forced in when Choy was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. McQuail followed with an RBI groundout to give Canisius a 13-8 lead. The Red Foxes would chip away at the lead, scoring two more off Davis and then getting single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings off three Canisius relievers. The Red Foxes forced extra innings when a two-out RBI double from Gauck off Willson made the score 13-13.
The Griffs came right back in the top of the eighth was Medici singled with one out, moved to second on a groundout and scored on an RBI single from Silverman that proved to be the game-winning hit.
Willson retired the side in order in the bottom of the eighth to pick up his second win of the season. Davis allowed 10 runs, four earned in four innings of work. Sophomore Ryan Fennell (0.2 innings) and junior Josh Marshall (1.1 innings) each allowed a run in relief.
Canisius and Marist conclude the weekend series on Sunday, with first pitch set for 12 p.m.
Game Notes: Canisius won the MAAC North Division regular-season title in 1994 with a 17-1 conference record. The Griffs shared the 2008 title with a 19-5 conference record... The 5-0 lead tied for the biggest Canisius lead given up by the Griffs in a lost this season as Canisius was also ahead 5-0 at Le Moyne on April 13... Martin made his first appearance since starting against St. Bonaventure in the second game of the April 27 doubleheader... Willson's blown save was the first by the senior since May 22, against Rider in the MAAC Championship and second of the season by a Canisius reliever... Canisius hit into four double plays on the day... Canisius pitchers allowed 21 hits in the second game, the most in a win in the past 10 seasons... McQuail has multiple hits in six consecutive games and eight of the last nine, raising his average 40 points to a team-best .399... Burton had his third five-plus RBI game of the season... Choy extends his program record and has now been hit by a pitch 23 times on the season... Canisius scored 14 runs in the second game with the leadoff batter reaching only one time in eight innings... Canisius improved to 3-1 this season in extra innings.