Griffs fall to Purple Eagles on a ​walk-off

chivers 4:30

Sophomore pitcher Zach Chivers delivers a pitch early on in the season. (Photo by Marshal Filipowicz / via Canisius Athletics)

Aidan Joly

Assistant Sports Editor

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — After scoring five runs in the first four innings, the Canisius bats went quiet and they ended up falling to Niagara 6-5 in walk-off fashion on Tuesday afternoon at Sal Maglie Stadium.

The Griffs led 5-3 for the middle portions of the game, with the bullpen holding up their end of the bargain after the offense jumped out for the five runs in the first four frames. In the bottom of the seventh, David Yankowski entered the game and gave up a Niagara run in the seventh to make it 5-4 still in favor of the Griffs.

Things stayed that way until the ninth inning, and closer Will Frank entered looking to close the door and give Canisius its second win over the Purple Eagles this season. Niagara’s ninth hitter, Darian Blanks, walked to begin the final frame, then Dawson Bailey singled and advanced to second on the throw, giving the Purple Eagles runners on second and third with no outs.

The next batter, Benny Serrano, ended the game with a blooper that just got over the head of third baseman Stephen Bennett and skipped into left field, scoring both runners and giving Niagara the win. 

This came after the Griffs were held scoreless for the final five offensive frames, and only collected two hits after the third inning. They scored three of those runs in the first inning with Jacob Victor and Jacob Martins driving in runs, and Kyle Kush driving in a run on an RBI groundout in the second inning. Trevor Henneman also drew a bases-loaded walk in the inning.

“What happened there is we didn’t fight at the plate, we didn’t compete,” Canisius head coach Matt Mazurek said. “We decided that (five runs) was good enough and we just thought that they were going to roll over for us and we gave them that one.”

The Griffs recorded eight hits overall.

Niagara had scored three runs of their own in the bottom of the first inning, highlighted by a two-run single from designated hitter Josh Mortese. Max Giordano scored the third run on a fielder’s choice, but after that, they did not score until the seventh.

Frank was the seventh pitcher of the day for the Griffs and the third to give up a run. Brett Kochanski got the start and gave up three runs. Yankowski and Frank each gave up runs, but Jeff DeStefano, Andrew Kneussle, Jared Kennedy and Zach Chivers all had scoreless outings.

“The bullpen, for the most part, was what they should have been. I just think we entered the ninth inning thinking they were going to roll over and they didn’t and we got slapped in the face,” Mazurek said.

Canisius will be playing again this weekend with a home slate against Monmouth, with a single game on Saturday followed by a Sunday doubleheader. The Griffs and Purple Eagles will play their conference games May 16-17 at Niagara’s Bobo Field after the non-conference split.

“We don’t like losing to them,” Mazurek said. “I’m not in it for a split, we’re in it for the jugular, and we’ll be in it for that when we come back up here in a few weeks, regardless of where anyone is at in the standings.”


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