The Canisius baseball team split a doubleheader with Siena College at the Demske Sports Complex on Saturday afternoon. The Golden Griffins won the opener 9-3 and lost the second game 3-1. Canisius is now 20-12 on the season and 8-3 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Game One — Canisius 9, Siena 3
Siena struck first in the top of the fourth on an RBI single from Andres Ortiz, but Canisius starter Alex Godzak was able to strand three runners as the Saints left the bases loaded. Siena starter Matt Gage held the Griffs hitless through the first three innings, but sophomore Anthony Massicci lined a ball off the fence in center field for a leadoff double to start the fourth. After junior Connor Panas beat out an infield single deep to the hole at shortstop, senior Shane Zimmer followed with a sacrifice bunt. Jimmy Luppens then sent a grounder to short, but an errant throw to third in an attempt to cut down Panas allowed all the runners to be safe as Massicci came home to tie the game at 1-1.
The Saints reclaimed the lead in the top of the sixth, which featured an 18-minute delay after a foul ball broke a light on pole behind the Siena dugout. John Rooney had an RBI double and scored later in the inning on a wild pitch to give the Saints a 3-1 lead.
Canisius took its first lead of the day in the seventh inning that included a number of perfectly executed bunts. The inning started when senior Jose Torralba reached on a hit by pitch in a 0-2 count. Senior Jesse Kelso followed with a drag bunt single up the first-base line. A wild pitch put two runners in scoring position, and senior Ronnie Bernick singled just past the glove of the outstretched shortstop scored Torralba.
On the next pitch, Mike Krische dropped down a bunt on a safety squeeze with Kelso sliding around the tag with a head-first slide to tie the game. Massicci followed with a bunt up the third-base line and beat the throw from Gage to load the bases. An RBI groundout from Panas put the Griffs in the lead and an RBI single up the middle from Zimmer gave the Griffs a 5-3 advantage. Two-out, two-RBI hits from Puscheck (triple) and Bernick (single) broke the game open as the Griffs scored eight runs in the inning and sent 12 batters to the plate.
Godzak went six innings, allowed four hits and three runs, walked four and struck out two. Junior Brandon Bielecki (3-1) threw three scoreless innings of relief, allowing two hits and striking out two, to pick up the win.
Bernick went 2-for-4 with three RBI while Zimmer and Massicci each had two hits in the game. Luppens reached base three times with a single, walk and HBP.
Game Two — Siena 3, Canisius 1
Siena (8-24, 6-2 MAAC) scored two runs in the top of the first off Canisius starter Rohn Pierce. One-out singles from Mike Allen and Justin Esquerra put two runners on base as Andres Ortiz hit a ball to left. Kelso couldn’t come up with the diving attempt on the catch, and the ball went all the way to the fence for a two-run triple.
Canisius got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth, taking advantage of an extra out after a dropped throw by Allen on a grounder from Puscheck. A two-out, RBI single from freshman Christ Conley made it 2-1. Siena got that run back in the sixth on an RBI single from Ortiz to go back up by two runs.
Canisius had the tying run into scoring position in the seventh as Bernick and Zimmer singled through the left side. Neil Fryer would strike out Panas to end the game.
Pierce (6-2) took the loss by allowing three runs and five hits on 91 pitches while striking out four. Ed Lewicki picked up the win for Siena by allowing one unearned run in six innings.
Bernick had two hits for the second time on the day while Kelso reached base twice with a hit and a walk.
Canisius and Siena conclude the three-game series on Sunday, with first pitch at the Demske Sports Complex set for noon.
Notes: The game two loss for Canisius was their first in eight MAAC home games this season… Panas saw his career-long hitting streak end at 15 games… Krische recorded a steal in the opener and now has 39 steals in his career, the most by a Canisius player through his junior season… Zimmer extended his hitting streak to a career-long nine games… Pierce threw at least seven innings for the fifth straight start… In his last six outings, Bielecki is 2-0 with a 1.86 ERA in 9.2 innings.