TROY, N.Y. - Using 13 hits to score 10 runs and getting eight innings from MAAC Rookie of the Year Devon Stewart, the Canisius College baseball team defeated Rider University 10-3 in the winners' bracket game of the 2012 MAAC Championship at Joe Bruno Stadium on Friday night.
(33-25) advances to the championship round and will play at 6 p.m. on Saturday
night. The Golden Griffins will face the winner of the 2 p.m. elimination game
between No. 1 seed Manhattan and Rider. If Canisius wins the 6 p.m., the Golden
Griffins will win the MAAC Championship. If Canisius loses, the teams will play
again at 1 p.m. on Sunday in a winner-take-all championship game.
Fans can listen to a free, audio broadcast on GoGriffs.com with the pre-game show starting at 5:45 p.m. A pay-per-view video broadcast is available through MAAC.TV. If Canisius is the higher seed in tonight's game, the Canisius audio broadcast will accompany the MAAC.TV broadcast.
For the second straight game, Canisius took the lead in the bottom of the first as freshman Mike Krische reached on the first of four Rider errors in the game. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Jesse Kelso and Krische then stole third. He came home to score on an RBI groundout from sophomore Shane Zimmer. The Broncs came back and tied the game, taking advantage of two Canisius errors and two walks to even the score.
The Griffs regained the lead in the third, which started when Krische was hit by a pitch. After another sacrifice bunt from Kelso, Zimmer was hit by a pitch to put two runners on base. Freshman Connor Panas doubled to the wall in right field to score Krische and tie the game. Sophomore Jimmy Luppens followed with a sacrifice fly and sophomore Ryan Coppinger doubled to the wall in left-center to put Canisius up 4-2. The Griffs added a run in the fifth when junior Brooklyn Foster led off with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and then scored on a throwing error on a grounder from Krische to the hole on the right side, giving Canisius a three-run lead.
Canisius doubled its lead in the fifth, extending the lead to six runs. Panas led off with a single off the glove of Rider starter Mike Murphy. After Luppens replaced Panas on a fielder's choice, Coppinger tripled to the fence in center field to score Luppens from first base. Sophomore Jose Torralba then singled through the right side to make it 7-2. Foster then followed with a perfectly executed hit-and-run to put runners at the corners. Sophomore Ronnie Bernick brought home a run on a grounder that was misplayed by Rider to put Canisius up 8-2 and chase MAAC Pitcher of the Year Mike Murphy from the game. Rider (22-33) added a run in the sixth, but Canisius pushed the lead to 10-3 in the eighth on a two-RBI single from Zimmer.
Stewart ran into some early trouble as he overcame three errors, two walks and a hit batter in the second and third innings to limit the Broncs to two runs through three innings. Stewart retired nine straight batters in the middle part of the game and allowed a run in the sixth before retiring eight of the last nine hitters he faced. The freshman went eight innings, allowing three runs, two earned, on three hits, walking four and striking out seven to improve to 6-4 on the season.
Murphy took the loss, allowing eight runs, six earned, on 10 hits, walking two and striking out none. The 4.1 innings from Murphy was hit shortest start of the season as the redshirt sophomore had gone at elast six innings all of his 13 previous starts.
Notes: Canisius has won its first two games in the MAAC Championship for the first time in program history... Canisius has now won six straight games, its longest winning streak of the season... Canisius and Rider met in the postseason for the sixth time in the last five years. The teams have split the six meetings... The 10 runs scored by Canisius are the most the Griffs have scored in a postseason game since a 16-7 win over Manhattan in 2008... Stewart matched his career-long start of eight innings, which came on March 17, against Dayton... The Griffs scored seven or more runs for the fifth time in the last six games...
Bernick scored a run for the fifth time in his last six appearances... Coppinger had two hits for the ninth time in his last 14 starts... Kelso had three sacrifice bunts on the day after coming into the game with six on the season... Krische extended his on-base streak to 12 games and has now scored 10 runs in the last six games... Luppens has seven RBI in the last four games... Panas is hitting .452 in his last 15 starts... Torralba extended his hitting streak to six games with five runs scored and six RBI in the stretch... Zimmer now has 52 walks on the season, four off the MAAC record.