The Canisius College baseball team defeated the University at Buffalo 8-6 at the Demske Sports Complex on Wednesday afternoon. The Golden Griffins, who have won five of their last seven games, even their 2012 record at 13-13, reaching the .500 mark for the first time since March 10.
Sophomore Jesse Kelso led Canisius with a 2-for-4 effort that included a triple and four RBI. Sophomore Jimmy Luppens was 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Sophomore Ronnie Bernick and freshman Jesse Puscheck each had two hits while sophomore Shane Zimmer also scored two runs.
Canisius took the lead in the second inning as Luppens led off with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on a grounder to the left side from Kelso. Luppens scored easily on a double to left-center that short-hopped the fence from junior Brooklyn Foster. After a single from Bernick put runners at the corners with one out, a wild pitch allowed Foster to score and give Canisius a 2-0 lead.
Buffalo (7-12) tied the score at 2-2 in the top of the third with a pair of solo homers. The Griffs came right back in the bottom of the third as Puscheck legged out a double to start the inning. After a grounder from Zimmer to the left side moved Puscheck to third, the freshman scored on a wild pitch to give Canisius the one-run lead.
Canisius extended the lead to four runs with a three-run fifth. Zimmer and Luppens drew walks to get two runners on base with one out. Kelso then ripped a ball down the right-field line for a two-RBI triple. Foster followed with a sacrifice fly to center to make it 6-2. Buffalo came back in the top of the sixth and got all three runs back on a three-run homer from Mike Burke.
Canisius built a three-run lead with a two-run seventh as Zimmer led off with a single. Sophomore Jose Torralba laid down a sacrifice bunt but the ball was bobbled by the Buffalo pitcher, resulting in an error. Luppens followed with another sacrifice bunt and was ruled safe on a close play at first base. Kelso then had a two-RBI single past the drawn-in infield to make it 8-5.
Buffalo added one in the eighth on its fourth homer of the game, but after giving up a single to the first batter he faced, senior Alex Tufts retired six straight to pick up his first save of the season.
Freshman Aaron Casper (1-0) threw three innings in his second career start to pick up his first career win.
Canisius continues its homestand with a three-game series against Rider University this weekend. First pitch for Saturday's doubleheader is set for 2 p.m.
Notes: Canisius defeated Buffalo for the eighth time in the last 10 games... Puscheck made his third start of the year at third base. Puscheck had two hits in each of the games this week... Zimmer extended his consecutive games streak of reaching base to 33 games... Bernick has five hits in his last four starts, including two multi-hit games, and has raised his average 29 points in that stretch... In his last eight starts, Kelso has 11 RBI, including two four-RBI games... Freshman Mike Krische is 4-for-10 in his last three starts... Luppens now has six multi-hit games in his last 10 starts... In five of his last six appearances, Tufts has not allowed a run. Tufts has thrown 10.2 innings in those five appearances.