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Baseball Wins Series, Clinches MAAC Tourney Spot

Courtesy: Canisius College Athletics
Release: 05/13/2012
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Using a complete-game effort from redshirt junior Billy Martin and getting hits from seven position players, the Canisius College baseball team defeated Marist College 8-3 to win the series from the Red Foxes on Sunday afternoon. Canisius improves to 28-25 overall and 13-8 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

The Golden Griffins have clinched a spot in the 2012 MAAC Championship to be held at Joe Bruno Stadium in Troy, N.Y. on May 24-27. The worst winning percentage Canisius could have (assuming zero wins over against Niagara) in MAAC play is .542 (13-11).

First-place Manhattan is 15-6 (.714) with three games left. Rider finished league play with a 13-11 (.542) league record. The Jaspers and Broncs also have each clinched a spot in the MAAC Championship.

Fairfield (12-9) and Marist (10-10) play each other in a three-game series next weekend, so both schools can't get to a higher winning percentage. If Marist wins two of three, the Red Foxes would be at .522 (12-11) and Fairfield would be at .542 (13-11). If Marist sweeps, the Red Foxes would be at .565 (13-10) and Fairfield would be at .500 (12-12). 
The other four MAAC schools can't finish above .500 in league play.

The Golden Griffins' seed will be determined after the final series. Canisius will play in the MAAC Championship for the sixth straight year after one appearance (1994) in the previous 17 seasons.

The Golden Griffins scored single runs in the second, third and fourth innings. Sophomore Ryan Coppinger led off the second with a single, moved to second on a groundout, stole third and scored on an RBI single from sophomore Jose Torralba. The Griffs went up 2-0 in the third as sophomore Jesse Kelso led off with a walk, sophomore Jimmy Luppens doubled and freshman Connor Panas walked to load the bases with no outs. An RBI groundout from senior Drew Pettit scored Kelso. In the fourth, freshman Mike Krische reached on a two-out error, stole second and scored an unearned run on an RBI single from Kelso.

Marist scored once in the third and twice in the fourth to tie the game on a two-RBI single from Pat Welsh in the fourth inning. Canisius regained the lead in the seventh as Coppinger reached on a one-out error, moved to third on a double from junior Brooklyn Foster and scored an unearned run on a sacrifice fly from Torralba.

Canisius broke the game open with a four-run top of the ninth inning, taking advantage of two Marist errors. Pettit led off with a single and after a sacrifice bunt from Coppinger, Foster drew a one-out walk and Torralba reached on an error to load the bases. Sophomore Ronnie Bernick hit a bases-clearing double to right to put Canisius up 7-3. Krische then reached on an error that allowed Bernick to score and put Canisius up by eight.

Martin (6-4) gave up three runs on five hits, walked one and struck out two on 97 pitches. Martin didn't allow a runner past first base in the final five innings, retiring the last 13 batters and 17 of the last 18.

Canisius concludes the regular season with three games at rival Niagara University. The series starts with a doubleheader at Sal Maglie Stadium on Thursday, with first pitch at noon. The Golden Griffins can clinch an outright win in the all-sports Battle of the Bridge competition with a series win. If Niagara wins the series, the teams will tie but Canisius will retain the Canal Cup.

Notes: Canisius won the series from Marist for the first time since the 2008 season, which is the only other series win for the Griffs in Poughkeepsie... Martin made his fifth start of the season of eight innings or more. The rest of the team has two combined... Bernick had three RBI on the day after totaling four RBI in his last 56 at-bats... Coppinger had his sixth multi-hit game in his 11 starts... Krische is hitting 11-for-27 in May, raising his average 50 points... Canisius is now 29-10 in MAAC series since 2008.
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