The Canisius College baseball team began the 2012 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference schedule with a sweep of the Siena College Saints at the Demske Sports Complex on Friday afternoon. The Golden Griffins won 9-3 and 7-3 to improve to 11-12 on the season.
Game 1 - Canisius 9, Siena 3
Canisius loaded the bases in the bottom of the first, but could only get one run on an RBI single from sophomore Shane Zimmer. Siena second baseman Vincent Citro made a diving catch of a line drive from senior Drew Pettit, and starting pitcher Ryan Poplawski got a double play to get out of the inning only allowing one run.
In the second inning, freshman Mike Krische beat out a slow chopper up the third-base line with two outs, moved to second on a passed ball and scored on a single from Jose Torralba. The sophomore stole second and scored on a single through the left side from junior Manny Hernandez.
The Griffs added two more in the bottom of the fourth to build a 5-0 lead as junior Christian Segar tripled to left-center with one out. After Krische drew a walk, the freshman stole second to get two runners into scoring position. A sharply hit single to right from Hernandez scored Segar but Krische had to hold at third base despite breaking on contact. Junior Chris Gruarin followed with a ball that fell in between three fielders in shallow center to score Krische and give Canisius the five-run lead.
Siena got on the board in the fifth after a leadoff single from Kyle Baldani, who moved to second on a throwing error. Baldani scored on a single from Dan Sullivan. After Canisius starter Garrett Cortright struck out Ryan Metzler, junior catcher Brooklyn Foster threw Sullivan out at second base for a double play. Tyler Bell followed with a double, but Foster would throw him out trying to steal third base.
The Griffs added two runs in the fifth when Zimmer and Foster led off with singles, and Zimmer stole third to put runners at the corners. Sophomore Jimmy Luppens flew out to Bell in center for the first out of the inning. Foster was all the way to second base but Bell threw home instead of trying to double up Foster, with the throw going well over the catcher's head, allowing Foster to get back to first and Zimmer to score. Segar would reach on a fielder's choice and move to second on an errant pickoff throw. Krische followed with an RBI single to make it 7-1.
The Saints scored twice in the sixth but the Griffs got those runs back with single runs in the sixth and seventh innings. Zimmer had an RBI double to the fence in the sixth, and Torralba had an RBI single through the right side to give Canisius a 9-3 lead.
Cortright (3-3) went eight strong innings, not allowing a baserunner past first base in the first four innings and then closing with a 1-2-3 eighth inning. The sophomore allowed three runs on eight hits while striking out five.
Game 2 - Canisius 7, Siena 3
Canisius loaded the bases in the bottom of the first when Siena starter Justin Brantley hit three of the first five Golden Griffin batters. Sophomore Jesse Kelso then ripped the 2-2 pitch past the rightfielder for a two-out, bases-clearing triple. Freshman Mike Booth jumped on the next pitch and singled deep into the hole at shortstop to make it 4-0. After Booth stole second base, sophomore Ronnie Bernick singled up the middle to put Canisius up 5-0 as the Griffs batted around in the bottom of the first, sending 10 batters to the plate.
Canisius scored two more runs in the second, chasing Brantley in the middle of the inning. The first four batters of the inning reached for the Griffs, including a bunt single from Pettit with runners on first and second to load the bases with no outs. Zimmer had an RBI single and Kelso brought home a run with a fielder's choice to build a 7-0 lead.
The Saints scored once in the third and twice in the fifth, but that would be all the runs allowed by freshman Devon Stewart. The righty picked up his first collegiate win by going six innings, giving up six hits, walking zero and striking out five.
Canisius and Siena are scheduled to complete the three-game series on Saturday, with first pitch set for 2 p.m. Check Twitter.com/GoGriffs for all of the weather updates with inclement weather possible this weekend.
Notes: Canisius opened MAAC play at home for the fourth time in the last five seasons... Canisius opened the MAAC schedule against Siena for the first time since the 1999 season... Canisius improves to 57-19 in its last 76 home games... With the doubleheader sweep, Canisius has now 17 of its last 20 home conference series... Canisius starting pitchers have gone at least six innings in nine of the last 10 games... Zimmer extended his consecutive games streak of reaching base to 30 games... Hernandez set a career high with his four hits in the first game and now has 12 hits in his last eight appearances, hitting .480 during that stretch... Sophomore Jon Fitzsimmons struck out two of the three batters he faced and is striking out 12.46 batters per nine innings... Gruarin has five walks in the last four games and had two walks in game two, his first multi-walk game of the season... Kelso now has six RBI in the last three games... Freshman Connor Panas has raised his average 66 points in the last four games... Siena hit 2-for-17 with two outs on the day... Canisius had 12 two-out RBI on the day... Canisius batted around for the seventh time this season and for the first time in nine games... Canisius wins its opening MAAC series for the fourth time in the last five seasons.