Baseball heads to Marist

By Canio Marasco

Sports Reporter

The Canisius College baseball team started conference play with a 2-1 series win over the Monmouth Hawks. The Griffs next series is against another conference foe, the Marist Red Foxes.

The Griffs opened MAAC play with a doubleheader against the Hawks. In the first game, the Griffs were defeated 17-6. The Hawks started the game quickly, scoring eight runs in the second inning. The Hawks scored two more runs, before exploding for seven runs in the fifth inning. The Griffs would respond with six unanswered runs of their own. But the Hawk’s junior pitcher Ryan Lillie threw three scoreless innings to close out the game and usher the Hawks to the win.

In the second game of the doubleheader, the Griffs responded with a bounce-back 4-3 win. Due to the rules of a doubleheader, the game was only seven innings long. Junior pitcher J.P. Stevenson threw 6.1 innings, and only surrendered three runs. In a tightly contested contest, the Hawks entered the final inning one run behind the Griffs, trailing 3-2. A home run tied the game in the top half of the inning, but the Griffs won in walk off fashion, 4-3, off a hit from junior Tim Kensinger.

The Griffs took the series 2-1 with an 11-10 win over the Hawks. Despite committing five errors, the Griffs found a way to edge out the victory. The Griffs took an early 4-1 lead after the first inning, but sophomore pitcher Andrew Sipowicz would be pulled after 3.2 innings pitched. He gave up five runs in the third and two more in the fourth before being pulled by Coach McRae. Despite falling into an 8-4 hole, the Griffs responded with a two run inning. The Hawks put the pressure on the Griffs, scoring two runs in the seventh, to battle back from a 10-6 deficit. The Griffs did just that, scoring five runs in the eighth inning, to ultimately win the game 11-10.

The Griffs next series is another conference matchup against the Marist Red Foxes. Though the Griffs have only played one conference series, the Red Foxes have played two. In their first conference matchup, they played the Iona Gaels and won the series 2-1. In their second series, they played the Quinnipiac Bobcats and were swept 3-0. The Red Foxes have an overall record of 12-11 and a conference record of 2-4.

Sophomore outfielder Frankie Gregoire has been the Red Foxes top player this season. Gregoire has totaled five home runs on the season, and 20 runs batted in. Despite his play, the Red Foxes haven’t been an offensive powerhouse to this point in the season. They have only totaled 117 runs this year, while the Griffs, in comparison, have scored 152.

This is certainly a stark difference and interesting when considering Coach McRae’s comments from last week.

When asked what he would like to see improve during conference play, Coach McRae stated, “I think we could get much better offensively. I don’t mean from a strictly batting average standpoint – we need to put together more consistent at-bats, one through nine in our order. We need to be tough and relentless on opposing team’s pitchers. I think we’ve just given away too many easy at-bats, and that can definitely improve.”

The Red Foxes, however, have had much better pitching this season. The Griffs have allowed 130 runs this year. The Red Foxes, in comparison, have only allowed 98 runs so far this season. It is worth noting that the Red Foxes have played three games than the Griffs, making their runs allowed artificially lower.

This matchup will largely come down to the Griffs’ offense. The Red Foxes are 1-10 this season when being outhit by their opponent. If the Griffs can get their offense going, as Coach McRae has preached in the past, they could find the matchup to be rather favorable.

An issue the Griffs could run into is the clean defense the Red Foxes play. As Coach McRae stated last week, “We’ve been very good at trying to take advantage of other team’s mistakes.”

The Griffs’ offense has relied largely on pouncing on the mistakes of their opponents. However, the Red Foxes have only committed 19 errors this season. In comparison, their opponents have committed 37 and the Griffs have committed 31. The Red Foxes play clean baseball. With this matchup being predicated on the Griffs’ ability to produce offense, they could find it difficult to produce runs against the solid pitching and clean play of the Red Foxes.

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