Griffs can’t escape early deficits, get swept by Cincinnati: Turnaround for Big 5 Baseball bash in Philadelphia

By Andrew Helwig

Sports Reporter

The Griffs’ baseball team traveled to Cincinnati for a four game series against the Bearcats the past weekend. In getting swept in the series, the Griffs lost two of the four by only one run. The first game of the series was an extra inning affair, the Bearcats prevailing 8-7 in ten innings. The following day the Griffs fell in the front end of a doubleheader, by a score of 6-7.

The first matchup against the Bearcats saw the Blue & Gold fall down by three runs after two innings. Starting pitcher Aaron Casper allowed all three of the runs on as many hits and innings pitched. However, in the game Casper did have a 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio in the outing. Nolan Hunt came in relief to combat the Cincinnati offense, and held them to one run on two hits in a four inning stint. However, the Griffs could not battle back from the deficit, as Bearcats starter Andrew Zellner went 7.1 innings, giving up four runs in the start. Their bullpen only gave up another three, as the Griffs’ bullpen gave up another four, including the walk-off winner in the bottom  of the tenth.

The back end of the day-night doubleheader saw the Griffs battle uphill the whole way to battle around the outstanding pitching performance of the Cincinnati starter J.T. Perez, who went the distance for the complete game. During the nine innings pitched Perez allowed only one run on five hits and had 8 K’s. Josh Shepley got the nod for the Griffs in that game, and in 6.2 innings pitched, gave up four runs, and did not walk a single batter he faced. In what would had otherwise usually done the job, the offense could not keep up.

The following day the Griffs had another twin bill scheduled. The first game very similar to the one before, just falling by one run again. In that game, starting pitching was a struggle as the Griffs started down 4-0 after two frames. The Griffs’ bullpen again was called to slow the offense. Freshman Jared Kennedy was brought in first, and gave up one run in the two innings he got on the mound.

The offense in the game was better for the Griffs, as they out hit the Bearcats 11-9, however they did leave seven men on base during the contest. In a one run game that they played in, every run counts. Alex O’Donnell was a bright spot for the offense, as he did go 2-2 from the plate on the day, and managed to score two runs.

The four game series was closed out by a lower scoring affair. The final was in favor of Cincinnati, by a score of 4-1. Starter Andrew Kneussle went 4.1 innings, and only gave up one run while striking out four. The offense was again held to minimal output, only putting up one run and leaving seven men on base and only mustering four hits.

Moving forward the Griffs will travel to the City of Brotherly Love to take part in the Big 5 Baseball Bash. Their opponents consist of LaSalle, St. Joseph’s, and Villanova. The Big 5 refers to the 5 major Philadelphia schools, although not an actual conference. It is the same as calling Canisius, Buffalo, Niagara, and St. Bonaventure the Big 4 in the Buffalo region. In that series, Canisius will need to get more out of their starting pitchers, and keep the opponent’s offense to a minimum. The offense has to do their part as well; leaving men on base game after game will be detrimental to the Griffs looking to repeat as MAAC champions. They will have great opportunities to get back on track with games against big schools like Villanova and St. Joseph’s.  

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