TRENTON, N.J. — Junior Garrett Cortright allowed one hit and one unearned run in a dominant complete-game performance to lead the No. 3 seed Canisius baseball team past No. 2 seed Marist College 2-1 in the first round of the 2013 MAAC Championship at ARM & HAMMER Park on Thursday evening. With the win, the Golden Griffins improve to 40-15 on the season, reaching the 40-win mark for the second time in program history.
For the second consecutive season and third time in four seasons, Canisius advances to the winners’ bracket game in the four-team, double-elimination tournament. The Golden Griffins will face the winner of Rider-Siena at 7 p.m. on Friday evening.
Cortright (11-3) allowed one hit and walked none while hitting two batters, needing only 98 pitches. The junior struck out seven to win for the second time in three career MAAC Championship starts. Cortright has a 1.37 ERA in 26.1 postseason innings, walking two and striking out 17.
Marist (27-23-1) got its only hit of the game with two outs in the first inning, a double to the fence over the head of junior Ryan Coppinger in right field by senior Mike Orefice. Four Marist players reached the rest of the game, two on Canisius fielding errors and two on hit by pitch from Cortright on 0-2 pitches. The Red Foxes took the lead in the second when Steve Laurino was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a throwing error by sophomore Connor Panas.
The first eight Canisius batters of the game were retired by Marist starter Chris Bielak, but Canisius worked deep into counts to increase Bielak’s pitch count. The Griffs tied the game in the fifth, the first of four straight innings where Canisius had the first two batters of the inning reach base. Junior Jose Torralba reached on an error when Bielak dropped a throw from second baseman Joey Aiola. After sophomore Mike Krische was hit by a pitch, a grounder from junior Ronnie Bernick advanced each runner into scoring position. A walk to Coppinger loaded the bases and a walk to junior Jesse Kelso forced home a run and tied the game at 1-1.
The Griffs took the lead in the next inning, starting with a leadoff single through the hole on the left side from senior Brooklyn Foster. After Panas drew a walk, a sacrifice bunt from senior Christian Segar advanced the runners into scoring position. Torralba was hit by a pitch to load the bases, but Bielak got a grounder to Zach Shank at short from Krische. The sophomore was able to beat out the relay throw and negate the double play, allowing Foster to score and put the Griffs up 2-1.
Canisius ran itself out of potential big innings in the seventh and eighth innings. Coppinger led off the seventh with a double and a walk to Kelso put two runners on base and chase Bielak who threw 121 pitches in six innings. Junior Jimmy Luppens dropped down a bunt, but Coppinger was thrown out at third for the first out of the inning. Before the next pitch, Kelso was picked off at second base for the second out but Luppens advanced to second base. Foster then singled to center field, but Luppens was thrown out at the plate to end the inning. In the eighth, Panas led off and was hit by a pitch with Segar drawing a walk to get two runners on again. A bunt from Torralba led to Panas being thrown out at third. After Krische flew out to center field, Segar was thrown out at third base trying to advance on a wild pitch.
Foster was the only Golden Griffin with two hits in the game while Coppinger and Panas each reached base three times.
Notes: Canisius and Marist met in the postseason for the fifth time and for the first time since 2009. Marist leads the all-time series 3-2 in MAAC Championship play… Canisius also advanced to the winners’ bracket game in 2010 and 2012… Cortright threw his fifth complete game of the season… Canisius is the third team in conference history to win 40 games, joining the 2008 Canisius team and the 2002 Marist team who each won 41 games… Canisius improved to 10-3 this season in one-run games… Cortright is the first Godlen Griffins to throw a nine-inning one-hitter since Mike Goemans against Manhattan on May 9, 2010... Canisius also won its first-round game by the score of 2-1 in the 2012 MAAC Championship.