Scoring a season-high 16 runs, the Canisius College baseball team saw its lead cut to one run on four separate occasions but never yielded the lead and defeated West Virginia University 16-12 in the series opener on Friday afternoon. The Golden Griffins snap a six-game losing streak and improve to 5-10 on the season.
Four Golden Griffins had three hits on the day, with senior Sean Jamieson also recording three runs and three RBI. Senior Will Chomicki and junior Drew Pettit each went 3-for-5 with a walk, three runs scored and two RBI. Senior Andrew Russo went 3-for-4 with three RBI.
The Golden Griffins built a five-run lead during the first half of the game. Canisius got solo homers from Jamieson and Pettit to take a 2-0 lead after two innings. The Griffs added two more runs in the fourth inning when Pettit led off with a single and eventually scored on a one-out double from Russo. Freshman Jose Torralba followed with a one-out single up the middle to give the Griffs the 4-0 lead. Canisius made it 5-0 in the top of the fifth when Chomicki led off with a single and would score on a two-out RBI single from Pettit.
Freshman Garrett Cortright kept West Virginia from any serious threat in the opening four innings. The Mountaineers fought back in the bottom of the fifth inning, taking advantage of two Canisius errors to score four runs, three of them earned. In the fifth, West Virginia had the first two batters reach and Cortright would throw away the sacrifice bunt, loading the bases and giving the Mountaineers an extra out. West Virginia used a single, double, sacrifice fly and another Canisius error to make it a one-run game. Senior Josh Marshall came into the game with runners at second and third and two outs to end the West Virginia rally.
The Griffs bounced back in the top of the sixth - as Russo led off with a single but Torralba reached on a fielder's choice as Russo was forced at second base. After senior Nat Barone was hit by a pitch, Chomicki singled to score Torralba. Jamieson had a two-out, two-RBI single while senior Brian Burton had an RBI single of his own to put Canisius up 9-4.
The Mountaineers matched the Griffs with four runs in the bottom of the sixth, making it a one-run game going into the seventh. Canisius rebuilt its cushion with a three-run top of the seventh. Freshman Jimmy Luppens was hit by a pitch and after Russo reached when trying to sacrifice, putting runners at first and second, Torralba then walked to load the bases. Chomicki had a two-RBI single and eventually scored on a wild pitch to give the Griffs a 12-8 lead.
The Mountaineers came right back with three runs in the bottom of the seventh to make it a one-run game again, cutting the Canisius lead to 12-11. Canisius added an insurance run in the top of the eighth as Burton led off with a walk, stole second, moved to third on a single from sophomore Chris Gruarin and scored on a groundout from Torralba to put Canisius ahead 13-11.
The Mountaineers (10-8) made it a one-run game again - for the fourth time on the day - with a single run in the bottom of the eighth, cutting the Canisius lead to 13-12. The Griffs then scored three more insurance runs in the top of the ninth to gain control of the game. Freshman Ralph Alloco brought home a run on a groundout and then Russo had a two-RBI double to give Canisius the four-run advantage.
Marshall (1-0) picked up his first win of the season while redshirt junior Tim Seil allowed two runs in his three innings of work to pick up his second save of the season. Cortright started for the Griffs and allowed four runs, three earned, in 4.2 innings.
Canisius continues the four-game series with West Virginia with a doubleheader on Saturday. First pitch in Morgantown, W. Va. is set for 1 p.m.