Griffs extinguish Flames, win two of three



Ryan Stekl drove home four runs in Friday’s 9-2 win over Liberty. (Marshall Haim/The Griffin file photo)


By Nolan Hopkins

Assistant Sports Editor

The Canisius baseball team continued their winning ways after taking two out of three games from Liberty University last weekend in Lynchburg, Va.

In the first game of the series Mar. 9, the Griffs offense exploded for nine runs, including four runs driven in by senior infielder Ryan Stekl. The offensive outburst from Stekl brought his team-high RBI count to 14, to go along with four home runs on the season.

Junior pitcher Andrew Sipowicz (2-1) earned his second win of the season after throwing three innings and striking out one batter.

The two squads faced off again the following day for a 1 p.m. first pitch, with the Griffs winning their second game in as many days, 7-4.

Senior catcher Christ Conley got the Blue and Gold on the board early with a two-run single in the first inning. In the bottom half of the inning, the Flames were able to cut the deficit in half after scratching a run across on an RBI single.

Both teams entered a scoring hiatus until the fifth inning when senior Liam Wilson’s RBI double and a sacrifice fly by Stekl plated two more runs for Canisius.

The Griffs held a 5-4 lead going into the eighth inning, when junior Joseph Preziuso smacked a single through the right side of the infield, scoring two runs. That would prove to be the last run of the game, as senior Tyler Smith shut the door in the ninth, earning his fifth save of the season.

The Griffs scored a total 16 runs during the first two games of the weekend series.

“We’re just really clicking (on offense) and it’s been a really great surprise to us,” Preziuso said. “When there is two outs and runners in scoring position we’re cashing and we’re taking advantage of timely hitting and that is what you need to win baseball games.”

Canisius batted .333 (11-of-33) with runners in scoring position in the three-game series with the Flames.

In the series finale against Liberty the Griffs fell in extra innings, 5-4.

The squad held a 4-3 lead heading into the bottom of ninth when the Flames knocked in a run on an RBI single to send the game into extra innings. Liberty walked it off on their home field with another run-scoring base hit in the 11th inning to sink the Griffs in the third and final game.

The team’s pair of wins brings their record to 10-4 and have come out on top in 10 of their last 12 contests.

“It was a good weekend for us, I think on paper and looking at the Division I landscape, not many people saw us taking two of three from Liberty,” head coach Matt Mazurek said. “We literally did not trail the entire weekend until the end result, so it was a positive weekend for us.”

The team heads to Morgantown, W.Va. to take on the Mountaineers of the Big 12 Conference, also, in a three-game series.


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