Baseball red hot after winning four of last five

By Sam Brouwere

Sports Reporter

Over the past week, the Griffs’ baseball team won four games of the five that they played.

Last Saturday, the Griffs started the weekend with the opening game of a home doubleheader against the Rider Broncs with a 4-3 win. The Griffs were down early in the game before they bounced back in the third inning with a sacrifice fly from senior Jake Lumley. The Griffs took the lead, which they would hold onto for the remainder of the game, with an RBI single from junior Tim Kensinger and a two RBI triple from junior Ryan Stekl. Junior J.P. Stevenson got the start on the mound for the Griffs, posting 6 1/3 innings, striking out five batters, and allowing only three runs. The win improved his record to 6-3.

In the second game of the doubleheader, the Griffs shutout the Broncs, 7-0. Due to the rules of a doubleheader, the game was only seven innings. Sophomore Andrew Kneussle pitched six innings, fanning three batters. The win improved his record on the season to 3-2. The Griffs put the game out of reach with a four-run sixth inning, extending the score to 7-0. Junior Liam Wilson led the Griffs with three hits.

On Sunday, the Griffs completed the series sweep over the Broncs with another strong showing. Canisius won 9-0. Sophomore Andrew Sipowicz pitched six innings, striking out four. The win also improved his record to 3-2. Stekl led the Griffs with four hits (three of which were doubles), driving home three runs.

Stekl went 8-for-11 on the weekend, one of the key reasons why the Griffs were so successful against the Broncs.

“He’s really been good of late,” Canisius head coach Mike McRae told “He’s come up with some big hits in some spots, and many people debate what you may define as clutch, but those have been some big moments and game changing moments.

“We try to talk about those and there’s other times in a game that come and competitive people can sniff him out and respond, whether it’s to rise up to the occasion or just to calm himself down to perform at the highest level. Ryan (Stekl) did that this weekend.”

On Tuesday, the Griffs hosted the Youngstown State Penguins in a non-conference contest, losing 4-2. The Griffs held a 2-1 lead in the game until the top of the fifth inning. The Penguins were able to knock in three runs, concluding the game’s scoring. Freshman Carson Perkins started the game on the mound for the Griffs, going five innings. allowing all four runs by Youngstown State. Perkins struck out eight batters on the day, putting his record to 0-3 on the season.

The Griffs defeated the rival Niagara Purple Eagles by a score of 8-0 in a game that did not count toward MAAC standings at Sal Maglie Stadium in Niagara Falls. The Griffs used six pitchers in the game with sophomore Jared Kennedy earning the start. Sophomore Nolan Hunt picked up the win while pitching four innings. Sophomore Alvin Vega, freshman Kyle Warner and junior Tyler Smith were the other pitchers used. Sophomore Mark McKenna led the Griffs with four hits and an RBI on the day.

The Griffs are currently tied with the Marist Red Foxes for second place in the MAAC Conference with a conference record of 7-5. The Griffs still have 12 conference games remaining before the MAAC Tournament, but sit in a good spot to advance up the standings before the tournament. The Griffs don’t have to play the current first place team, Fairfield, this season. They have three games remaining against Manhattan and Quinnipiac Bobcats, both in the bottom four slots in the conference standings, having a definite potential to move up in the standings before the MAAC Tournament.

The Griffs will travel to Hamden, Conn. for a three-game series against Quinnipiac Despite where the Bobcats being eighth in the conference standings, they shouldn’t be overlooked. If the Griffs wish to move up the standings, they need to play strong against Quinnipiac this weekend.


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