The Canisius baseball team opened MAAC play with a doubleheader sweep of Saint Peter’s University at the Demske Sports Complex on Friday afternoon. The Golden Griffins won 9-3 and 11-4 to improve to 13-7 on the season and start conference play with a 2-0 record for the fifth time in the last seven seasons.
Game One — Canisius 9, Saint Peter’s 3
Canisius batted around in the bottom of the second, using four singles and a Saint Peter’s error to take a 4-0 lead. Senior Jimmy Luppens started the inning with a single. After a walk to sophomore Brett Siddall, freshman Christ Conley sent a fly ball to shallow left field. The ball landed in front of the leftfielder, but bounced past him and allowed Luppens and Siddall to score with Conley advancing to third base. Senior Ryan Coppinger followed with an RBI single and scored later in the inning on an RBI groundout from freshman Jake Lumley to make it 4-0.
The Griffs batted around for the second consecutive inning and scored four runs. Junior Connor Panas sent a triple to the fence in left-center field, scoring Luppens. Conley had an RBI single and senior Shane Zimmer added a two-out, two-RBI single to make it 8-0.
The eight runs would be more than enough for junior Rohn Pierce. The right-hander went eight innings, allowed three runs and seven hits, walked two and struck out three to improve to 4-1 on the season. Senior Mike Tolsma pitched a scoreless ninth inning.
Five Golden Griffins posted multi-hit games with Panas having two hits and two RBI and Coppinger posting two hits and scoring two runs.
Game Two — Canisius 11, Saint Peter’s 4
Canisius took the lead right out of the gate, scoring five runs in the bottom of the first, sending 11 batters to the plate and forcing Saint Peter’s starter Frank Morris to throw 58 pitches while working four walks. Junior Jesse Puscheck hit a double down the left-field line while senior Jose Torralba flared a single to left field to score two runs and give Canisius the quick 3-0 lead. Senior Jesse Kelso and Bernick forced home runs with bases-loaded walks to put the Griffs up by five runs.
An RBI single from Torralba in the second scored the sixth run of the game. Canisius pushed across two more runs in the third on RBI singles from Zimmer and Luppens. In the fifth, Panas had an RBI triple and Luppens had another RBI single. Siddall added a sacrifice fly in the sixth.
Sophomore Alex Godzak improved to 3-2 on the season by allowing four runs in five innings and striking out four. Junior Brandon Bielecki threw two scoreless innings of relief.
Canisius and Saint Peter’s are scheduled to conclude the three-game series on Saturday, with first pitch for the nine-inning game set for noon at the Demske Sports Complex.
Game Notes: Canisius and Saint Peter’s opened the MAAC schedule against each other for the second consecutive season… Canisius opens MAAC play 2-0 for the fifth time in the last seven years… The Griffs have now won 18 of the last 22 meetings with the Peacocks… Puscheck has now reached base in 24 straight games… Canisius batted around three times on the day and has now batted around eight times on the season.