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Baseball Closes Out Weekend With Doubleheader Sweep

Courtesy: Canisius College Athletics
Release: 02/20/2011
Freshman Ryan Coppinger
Courtesy: Dave Schofield
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The Canisius College baseball team got a strong starting pitching performance in game one and then continued to get solid relief pitching while rallying for a come-from-behind victory in game two. The Golden Griffins defeated Creighton 4-1 in the first game of the day and then won 7-6 in 10 innings over Toledo in the nightcap at the USA Baseball Complex in Cary, N.C. on Sunday. The Golden Griffins take three of four games on the first weekend of the season.

In the opener, Canisius scored two runs in the top of sixth as senior Will Chomicki led off with a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Jose Torralba. After an intentional walk to Sean Jamieson, Brian Burton followed with a two-run double down the left-field line to score Chomicki and Jamieson and give Canisius the 2-0 lead. The Blue Jays cut the lead in half in the top of the eighth, but the Griffs got two insurance runs in the bottom of the inning. Burton and senior Andrew Russo each singled with one out and freshman Ryan Coppinger reached on a fielder's choice to load the bases. Sophomore Chris Gruarin drew a bases-loaded walk to force home Burton and, Drew Pettit singled home Russo to make it 4-1.

Freshman Garrett Cortright allowed one run, five hits and one walk in 7.2 innings to pick up the win in his collegiate debut. Redshirt junior Tim Seil got the final two outs of the game in his collegiate debut to record the save.

In the second game of the day for the Griffs, Canisius took the early 1-0 lead after Chomicki led off the game with a single and Jamieson scored him with a one-out double. The Rockets scored three in the bottom of the second to take a 3-1 lead. Freshman Tim Coykendall would score on a wild pitch in the third to cut the Toledo lead in half.

The Rockets took a 4-2 lead with a run in the bottom of the fourth, and the Griffs would tie the game with a two-run top of the fifth. Coppinger led off with a walk, moved to second on a passed ball and moved to third after a one-out single from Chomicki. Each runner would advance 90 feet after a wild pitch, scoring Coppinger. Torralba would reach on an error to put runners at the corners. The freshman stole second to get two runners into scoring position, and an intentional walk to Jamieson loaded the bases. Burton hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Chomicki and tie the game at 4-4.

Toledo came right back with two runs in the bottom of the fifth reclaim its two-run lead, going up 6-4. Canisius eventually tied the game in the eighth as Burton led off with a single but was forced at second base as Gruarin reached on a fielder's choice. Pinch hitter Shane Zimmer drew a walk to put runners at first and second. Coppinger came through with the two-out, two-RBI double to tie the game at 6-6.

Canisius scored the game-winning run in the 10th, as Gruarin singled with one out, stole second, moved to third on a single from Zimmer and scored on an RBI single from Pettit.

Redshirt sophomore Nathan Linseman (1-0) threw five shutout innings of relief to pick up the win. Linseman came into a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the fifth and allowed two runs. The lefty also stranded the game-winning run at second base in the bottom of the ninth inning. Freshman Jon Fitzsimmons threw a scoreless 10th inning to pick up the save.

Canisius returns to the field for a three-game series next weekend at Tennessee. Game time on Friday is set for 3 p.m.

Game Notes: Canisius has defeated Toledo in all four meetings during the past two seasons, winning two one-run games each year... The Canisius bullpen went 2-0 with two saves on the weekend, posting a 1.23 ERA in 14.2 innings pitched... Chomicki led the Griffs with five hits on the weekend... The Griffs were 11-for-11 on stolen bases in the four games... Zimmer reached base in seven of his 13 plate appearances, recording four walks... Canisius leadoff batters reached base in 15-of-35 opportunites (42.9 percent)... Canisius improves to 6-1 in its last seven extra-inning games.

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