The Canisius College baseball team swept a doubleheader from Marist College at the Demske Sports Complex on Saturday afternoon, winning 10-4 and 2-1 in 10 innings. The Golden Griffins (31-10, 9-5 MAAC) have won a program-record 11 straight games, which is also the longest active winning streak at the Division I level.
Game One – Canisius 10, Marist 4
In the first, junior Ryan Coppinger worked a walk after being down 0-2 and junior Jimmy Luppens beat out an infield single deep into the hole at short to get two runners on with one out. Junior Jesse Kelso then hit the 1-1 pitch over the right-field fence to give the Griffs the early 3-0 lead. The Red Foxes struck right back, getting a two-out, two-RBI single from Matt Pagano to cut the Canisius lead to one run. Marist would tie the game in the sixth on a one-out, ground-rule double from Steve Laurino.
The Griffs used a blooper into center from senior Brooklyn Foster and a liner from sophomore Connor Panas off the glove of Marist first baseman Mike Orefice to get runners at the corners with no outs in the bottom of the sixth. A single up the middle from junior Jose Torralba gave the Griffs a 4-3 lead. After junior Ronnie Bernick was hit by a pitch for the third time in the game, the bases were loaded with no outs.
Marist (20-17-1, 11-6 MAAC) starter Chris Bielak got senior Christian Segar to pop out for the first out of the inning, but Coppinger came through a ground-rule double to center and put the Griffs up by three. With the infield playing in, Luppens followed with a blooper over the second baseman’s head to give Canisius a 7-3 lead. Freshman Brett Siddall then singled up the middle to put the Griffs up by five as Canisius sent 11 batters to the plate in the inning. Canisius added two more runs in the seventh on a two-out, two-RBI single from Luppens.
Junior Garrett Cortright improved to 8-2 on the season, going eight innings and allowing three runs while striking out three. Redshirt freshman Iannick Remillard got the final three outs to finish the game.
Game Two – Canisius 2, Marist 1 (10)
Canisius took the early lead for the second time on the day, with Kelso reaching on a one-out, ground-rule double and a two-out, RBI single from Panas putting the Griffs up 1-0 in the first inning. The Griffs loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the second, but Marist starter Brett Houseal picked off Coppinger at first base to end the inning. Marist built off that momentum and tied the game in the top of the third. Jake Berry led off with a single and advanced to third on two wild pitches. A one-out, RBI single from Joey Aiola evened the score at 1-1.
In the eighth, Marist used a single from Aiola and a double from Pagano to get two runners into scoring position with one out. With the infield pulled in, freshman Alex Godzak got Pagano to hit a grounder to Torralba at second base. The junior fired home and Foster applied the tag for the second out of the inning. Junior Jon Fitzsimmons came into the game and got Zach Shank to hit a grounder to short. Bernick made a diving stop and threw to second to force Pagano to end the threat.
Panas reached with one out in the ninth, dropping a ball in between the pitchers mound and second base and beating out the infield hit. A two-out single from senior Chris Gruarin put runners at the corners. Houseal was able to get Torralba to ground out to second to end the Canisius threat.
Bernick led off the 10th with a single up the middle and Coppinger followed with a single through the right side to put runners at the corners with no outs. After a walk to Kelso loaded the bases, Marist had five infielders to try and cut off a game-winning hit. Luppens came through in a full count, lining a pitch back up the middle for the walk-off victory.
Godzak went 7.2 innings, allowing one run on five hits, walking two and striking out seven. Fitzsimmons threw 2.1 scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out two to improve to 3-0 on the season.
Canisius and Marist will conclude the three-game series on Sunday. First pitch at the Demske Sports Complex is set for noon.
Notes: Canisius has won 30-plus games for the fifth time in the last six seasons... Bernick was hit by a pitch four times in the first game, tying the program's single-game record set by current assistant coach Matt Mazurek on Feb. 26, 2006, at Tennessee Tech… Canisius batted around for the 16th time this season… The 11-game winning streak bests the previous high of nine games accomplished in 2008 and 1986… The walk-off win for the Griffs was their second of the season at the Demske and 11th at home since 2007… Canisius has now won eight in a row at home… The Griffs improve to 5-0 in extra innings.