Three Golden Griffin pitchers combined for the nine-inning shutout as the Canisius College baseball team defeated Fairfield University 1-0 at the Demske Sports Complex on Monday, to win the three-game series. Canisius improves to 22-28 overall and 10-9 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Canisius scored the only run of the game in the bottom of the second as senior Brian Burton drew a leadoff walk. After a sacrifice bunt from junior Drew Pettit moved Burton to second, an RBI single to center from sophomore Chris Gruarin scored Burton to put Canisius up 1-0.
Junior Alex Tufts didn't allow a hit through the first four innings but allowed two singles to lead off the fifth. Tufts then got a foul out to Burton for the first out as the first baseman stayed just inside the fence to make the catch. After Tufts recorded a strikeout for the second out of the inning, Larry Cornelia dropped a bunt down the third-base line. Tufts fielded it and threw out Cornelia by a half step to keep the Stags off the scoreboard.
Fairfield (19-25, 10-11 MAAC) loaded the bases in the top of the sixth, chasing Tufts with one out. Redshirt sophomore Nathan Linseman came into the game and got a 4-6-3 double play to get out of the jam and preserve the Griffs' 1-0 lead. Fairfield got two runners on with one out in the seventh, but Linseman got a fly out to center and battled back from down 3-0 in the count to strike out Ryan Furbeck.
Stags got a leadoff single from Tucker Nathans in the eighth to chase Linseman
and bring sophomore Jordan Cave into
the game. After a sacrifice bunt moved Nathans to second, Cave struck out the
next two batters looking to end the eighth. The righty retired the side in
order in the ninth to pick up his second save of the season.
Tufts (4-2) earned the win and allowed three hits in his 5.1 innings of work. Linseman threw 1.2 innings of relief while Cave threw two scoreless innings.
Canisius and Buffalo will play a non-conference doubleheader (two seven-inning games) at the Demske Sports Complex on Tuesday, with game time set for 1 p.m. The Golden Griffins will close out the regular season with a three-game series against Niagara University at the Demske Sports Complex, starting on Thursday.
Canisius is guaranteed a spot in the 2011 MAAC Championship (May 25-28, Trenton, N.J.) with a three-game sweep of Niagara in the final regular-season series. If Canisius wins two of three against the Purple Eagles, the only way the Golden Griffins will not qualify for the postseason is if Marist and Siena only play two games and they split those two games. If Canisius wins two of three against Niagara and the Marist-Siena series is played to completion, the Golden Griffins will play in the MAAC Championship.
Notes: The 1-0 win for Canisius was the first by the Golden Griffins since a 1-0 win against Marist on May 1, 1999... Canisius improves to 16-2 in its last 18 home conference games played in the month of May... Linseman has stranded 16 of the 23 runners he has inherited this season... Canisius improves to 14-4 in the last six seasons against Fairfield and has won the last six series... Canisius has won 15 of its last 18 home MAAC series... Cave has allowed one earned run in his six appearances (7.2 innings) since returning from injury... Pettit extended his hitting streak to six games... Tufts has allowed two runs, one earned, in his last 18 innings pitched. He has three walks and nine strikeouts during that stretch.