After seeing its five-game winning streak come to an end in the opener, the Canisius College baseball team bounced back to salvage a split with a win in the nightcap. The Golden Griffins lost game one 5-4 and then won the second game 7-3 over Cornell University at the Demske Sports Complex on Wednesday. Canisius is now 17-14 on the season, having won eight of its last 10 games.
Senior Drew Pettit and sophomore Jose Torralba each had a team-high four hits on the day, with Pettit also driving in three runs while Torralba scored a team-best three runs. Junior Chris Gruarin reached base three times and had two of the Griffs' six stolen bases in the doubleheader.
Game One - Cornell 5, Canisius 4
Cornell took the early lead by scoring two runs in the top of the second inning on an RBI single through the left side from Ben Swinford and an RBI groundout from Tom D'Alessandro. The Big Red doubled that lead in the third with a leadoff homer from Brenton Peters and a two-out, RBI double down the right-field line from Brandon Lee to go up 4-0.
Cornell starter Nick Busto got out of jams in the first and fourth innings by inducing a double play to end each threat. The Griffs got on the board in the fifth with three consecutive two-out hits, taking advantage of three extra outs from the Big Red. Freshman Mike Krische singled through the hole on the left side and then scored on a double from Torralba when the centerfielder lost the ball in the late-afternoon sun. Torralba came around to score on a single to center by junior Chris Gruarin that trimmed the deficit to 4-2. It appeared that Busto would get out of the inning on a fly ball to right off the bat of sophomore Shane Zimmer, but the rightfielder missed the ball, allowing Gruarin to score. Reliever Houston Hawley came into the game and got sophomore Jimmy Luppens to hit a grounder to third, but the third baseman made a low throw that went for an error and allowed Zimmer to score and tie the game at 4-4.
Cornell came right back and grabbed the lead on a one-out, RBI double down the right-field line from Swinford to go up 5-4 in the top of the sixth. The Griffs wouldn't get a baserunner in either of the last two innings as Hawley (1-1) retired the side in the sixth, and Kellen Urbon picked up his fifth save of the season with a 1-2-3 seventh inning.
Freshman Rohn Pierce (1-2) received the loss, allowing five runs, four earned, in six innings while striking out five. Freshman Eric Stolzenburg threw a scoreless seventh for the Griffs.
Game Two - Canisius 7, Cornell 3
Canisius took the lead in the bottom of the first, scoring four runs by taking advantage of two Cornell errors. Torralba led off with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. After a single from Gruarin put runners at the corners, Zimmer reached on an error by the shortstop that allowed Torralba to score. Pettit made it 2-0 with an opposite-field, one-out single. After Zimmer and Pettit executed a double steal to get two runners into scoring position. Sophomore Jesse Kelso sent a fly ball to center that was dropped, allowing two runs to score and giving Canisius the 4-0 lead.
The Griffs extended the lead in the third on an RBI single through the left side from Krische to go up 5-0. The Big Red chipped away with two runs in the fourth and one in the fifth to get within two at 5-3. In the sixth, Canisius used a leadoff walk to sophomore Ronnie Bernick and a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt by Torralba to get two runners in scoring position with no outs. After a groundout from Gruarin with the infield drawn in held the runners, Zimmer drew a one-out walk to load the bases. Pettit came through with a two-out, two-RBI single up the middle to give Canisius two insurance runs and make it 7-3.
Freshman Aaron Casper (2-0) made his third start and picked up the win by not allowing a run in three innings. Redshirt junior Nathan Linseman and sophomore Jon Fitzsimmons combined to throw scoreless sixth and seventh innings.
Canisius plays its next eight games away from home, starting with this weekend's three-game series at Penn State. First pitch on Friday night is set for 6:05 p.m.
Notes: Canisius and Cornell played for the first time since the 1991 season. Cornell now owns a 10-2 lead in the all-time series... Zimmer extends his consecutive games streak of reaching base to 38 games, including a walk in his last plate appearance in game two to extend the streak... Casper has seven strikeouts in his eight innings pitched... Freshman Sam Cumbo started at designated hitter in the opener, making his first collegiate start... Fitzsimmons now has 13 strikeouts in his last 8.1 innings pitched... Gruarin has a hit in five of the last six games... Krische has a hit in seven of the last eight games, going 9-for-23 (.391) in that stretch... Linseman has allowed one earned run in his last six appearances... Pettit has seven hits in the last four games... Pierce has thrown at least six innings in each of his last four starts... Stolzenburg has allowed one run in his last six appearances... Torralba has four consecutive multi-hit games, going 8-for-15 with four runs scored and six RBI.