The Canisius College baseball team lost its final game of the 2011 regular season, falling 14-5 to Niagara at the Demske Sports Complex on Friday. The Golden Griffins close the regular season with a 25-30 record and 12-10 record in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Canisius will play in the first game of the 2011 MAAC Championship on Thursday, at Waterfront Park in Trenton, N.J. The No. 4 seed Golden Griffins will face No. 1 seed Manhattan in the first round, with first pitch set for 3 p.m.
Niagara (8-40, 5-19 MAAC) scored twice in the top of the first to take the early 2-0 lead. Canisius scored one in the second and one in the third to tie the game. Freshman Ryan Coppinger hit his second homer of the season, a solo shot to right-center in the bottom of the second. The Griffs knotted the score in the bottom of the third as senior Will Chomicki led off with a triple to center field. Senior Andrew Russo followed with a sacrifice fly to score Chomicki and make it 2-2.
Niagara re-took the lead with a five-run top of the fourth, going up 7-2. Canisius came back with two runs in the bottom of the inning, getting a two-run homer from freshman Shane Zimmer to make the score 7-4. That would be as close as the Griffs would get as Niagara scored two in the seventh and four in the eighth to break the game open.
Junior Alex Tufts (4-3) took the loss, allowing three runs in three-plus innings. Four other Golden Griffins pitched on the day. Niagara starter Joel Klock earned his first win of the season by allowing five runs in 7.2 innings.
Notes: The game started at 2:30 p.m. after a two-hour, 30-minute rain delay... The game will be shown on tape delay on Time Warner SportsNet on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. and on Sunday at 7 p.m... Prior to Friday, Canisius pitchers had allowed one run in the first inning in the previous nine games combined... Canisius lost for just the third time in its last 21 MAAC home games in the month of May... Canisius lost to Niagara for just the fourth time in the last 19 games... Zimmer hit a home run in each of the last two games of the regular season after not hitting a home run in the first 53 games of the season... Coppinger had two hits for the third time in the last four games and has raised his average 27 points in the last 10 games.