The Canisius baseball team split a doubleheader at Fairfield University on Saturday afternoon. The Golden Griffins won the opener 4-2 and dropped the second game 4-3. Canisius is now 19-9 on the season and 7-1 in MAAC play.
Game One — Canisius 4, Fairfield 2
Both starting pitchers threw well early in the game with Fairfield starter Aaron Howell retiring the first 11 Golden Griffins. Canisius broke through in the sixth inning with a two-out rally. Sophomore Anthony Massicci reached on a one-out single while senior Jimmy Luppens was hit by a pitch and junior Connor Panas had a two-out single to load the bases. Senior Jose Torralba followed with a two-out, RBI single up the middle to put the Griffs on the board. After junior Jesse Puscheck worked an eight-pitch walk, senior Jesse Kelso came through with the second two-out, two-RBI single of the inning for the Griffs to put Canisius up 4-0.
The four runs would be more than enough run support for junior Rohn Pierce, who fell one out shy of his second straight complete game. Pierce (6-1) went 8.2 innings, allowed five hits and two runs (one earned), walked one and struck out five. Before the ninth inning, Pierce allowed just one batter to get past first base, which came on an unearned run in the seventh. The Stags mounted a rally in the ninth, getting the tying run on at first base, but junior Brandon Bielecki got a grounder to Torralba to record his first save as a Golden Griffin.
Massicci and Panas each had two hits for the Griffs while Luppens (two HBP) and freshman Christ Conley (single and HBP) also reached base twice.
Game Two — Fairfield 4, Canisius 3
Fairfield (11-12, 5-2 MAAC) jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead, getting two-out, RBI singles from Jake Salpietro and Jack Giannini in the bottom of the first inning. The Griffs got one back in the top of the second, stringing three consecutive two-out singles from Kelso, senior Ryan Coppinger and senior Ronnie Bernick to make it a one-run game.
After Canisius left the bases loaded in the top of the fourth, the Stags extended their lead to 4-1 in the bottom of the inning. Fairfield used an RBI single from Dan Hopkins, who also scored later in the inning on a passed ball. An RBI double from Puscheck scored Panas in the top of the fifth and made the score 4-2. In the seventh, pinch hitter Jake Lumley led off with a single and advanced to third on an error. Jeremy Soule relieved Mike Wallace (3-3) and got three groundouts to preserve the split for the Stags.
Sophomore Alex Godzak (4-3) threw his second consecutive complete game in the loss. Godzak allowed four runs (three earned), on four hits, walked three and struck out three.
Luppens and Bernick each had two hits for the Griffs while Kelso and Coppinger each recorded a hit and a walk.
Canisius and Fairfield will conclude the three-game series on Sunday, with first pitch set for noon.
Notes: The teams split the first two games of the series for the fourth time in the last five years… Canisius starts MAAC play with a record of 7-1 or better for the third time in five years (2010 and 2012)… Pierce has pitched at least eight innings in all three MAAC starts this season… Puscheck extended his streak of reaching base to 31 consecutive games... Panas and Luppens each extended their hitting streaks to 12 games... Luppens has reached base at least twice in 10 of the last 11 games.