Getting two strong starting pitching performances, the Canisius College baseball team bounced back with a doubleheader sweep of Iona College at the Demske Sports Complex on Saturday afternoon. The Golden Griffins won 3-0 and 7-0 to improve to 26-24 overall and 11-7 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, maintaining second place in the conference standings.
Game One - Canisius 3, Iona 0
Canisius took the lead in the bottom of second as sophomore Jimmy Luppens led off with a double to the gap in left center. However, Luppens would be thrown out a third on a sacrifice bunt attempt from freshman Mike Booth. After a four-pitch walk to junior Chris Gruarin, sophomore Jose Torralba executed a perfect hit-and-run through the right side, scoring Booth on the play and putting runners at the corners. On the next pitch, sophomore Ronnie Bernick attempted to lay down a bunt but lined it back to Justin Wiley and the Iona pitcher doubled off Torralba to get out of the inning.
The Griffs added to their lead in the fourth, starting with a leadoff single from Luppens. After a single up the middle from Booth put runners at first and second with no outs, Gruarin attempted to lay down a sacrifice bunt. Luppens was thrown at third but the throw back to first to get Gruarin got away and allowed Booth to score, making it 2-0. After a balk moved Gruarin to third, Torralba went the other way again, scoring Gruarin to put Canisius up by three.
Freshman Devon Stewart delivered the best starting pitching performance of his young Canisius career. Stewart threw the first shutout by a Golden Griffin this season, allowing five hits and one walk while striking out seven to pick up his fourth win of the season. Stewart allowed one runner to reach third base, retired 13 of the last 14 batters and threw a first-pitch strike to 20 of the 27 batters he faced.
Game Two - Canisius 7, Iona 0
Canisius jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Krische legged out an infield single and would steal second base. Sophomore Jesse Kelso followed with a triple to the gap in left-center to get Canisius on the board. After sophomore Shane Zimmer was hit by a pitch, senior Drew Pettit chopped a ball up the third-base line. The throw from Iona pitcher Matt Marley was wide of first base, getting past the first baseman but stayed in play. Kelso scored easily on the play, and Zimmer was waved around third. The throw home got away from the Iona catcher, allowing Zimmer to score and sending Pettit to third base. The next pitch was a wild pitch from Marley, allowing Pettit to score the fourth Canisius run of the inning before an out was recorded.
Canisius added two more runs in the second, starting with Bernick being hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Krische followed with a double down the left-field line to get two runners into scoring position. A wild pitch allowed Bernick to score and moved Krische to third. Kelso then brought Krische home with an RBI groundout to second, putting Canisius up 6-0. The Griffs scored another run in the third as Luppens drew a leadoff walk and came all the way around to score on three wild pitches, giving Canisius a seven-run lead.
The seven runs would be more than enough for redshirt junior Billy Martin. Martin, who retired nine of the first 10 batters as well as the final eight batters he faced, allowed six hits and walked one while striking out four in eight shutout innings to improve to 5-4 on the season. Redshirt junior Nathan Linseman and sophomore Jon Fitzsimmons got the final three outs in the ninth.
Canisius plays its final six games away from home, starting with next weekend's three-game series at Marist College. First pitch for Saturday's doubleheader in Poughkeepsie is set for noon
Notes: Canisius recorded shutouts in both games of a doubleheader for the first time since April 11, 1999, against Saint Peter's The Griffs had consecutive shutouts for the first time since recording three straight during the 2008 season (May 3-10 against Saint Peter's and Marist)... Canisius entered the game with zero shutouts on the season... Canisius used the same starting lineup in both games. It is the first time Canisius has used the same lineup in any game this season as the Griffs entered the day with 48 starting lineups in 48 games... The Griffs have now won the last six series with Iona and 15 of the last 18 meetings overall... Canisius closes its home schedule with a 12-5 record and is now 65-24 at the Demske in its last 89 home games... Canisius improves to 28-10 in MAAC series since the start of the 2008 season... Canisius starting pitchers have received the decision in 15 of the last 17 games... Krische had eight hits on the week and raised his average 53 points... Martin allowed five runs in four home starts this season (1.69 ERA).