FAIRFIELD, Conn. – It was an afternoon filled with great pitching and timely hitting as the Fairfield University baseball team split a doubleheader with Canisius College this afternoon on Alumni Diamond. Canisius held off a ninth-inning rally by the Stags to take game one, 4-2. Fairfield captured the second game, 4-3, handing Canisius its first Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) loss of the year.
Rookie Dan Hopkinswent a combined 2-for-3 on the day with two runs batted in and one scored.
Fairfield (11-12; 5-2 MAAC) and Canisius (19-9; 7-1 MAAC) will play the rubber game of the series tomorrow, April 6, at 12pm on Alumni Diamond.
Game One Recap: Canisius used a four-run sixth inning and held off a ninth inning rally to edge the Stags, 4-2, in the series opener.
Sophomore Aaron Howelltook a no-hitter into the fourth inning when Conor Panas broke it up with a two-out single, a slow roller to third, which he was able to beat out. Howell retired the next five batters he faced. Canisius struck in the top of the sixth inning. With two outs and a runner on second, Jimmy Luppens was hit by a pitch on what appeared to be strike three. The hit batsman gave some life to the Griffs’ offense as they went on to score four runs in the inning.
Canisius starter Rohn Pierce was equally impressive on the hill, holding the Stags off the board until the seventh inning. In the seventh, Ryan Plourdeled off with a single and advanced to second on a failed pickoff. With two outs, Brendan Tracysingled up the middle to plate Plourde.
The Stags rallied again in the bottom of the ninth. Plourde was hit by a pitch and advanced to second after Canisius issued a two-out walk to Jack Giannini. Hopkins came through in the clutch, singling to center to score Plourde. Reliever Brandon Bielecki, however, was able to get out of the jam and get the final out.
Howell (1-4) went 8.0 innings, scattering seven hits while striking out six batters. Sophomore Tim Duggantossed a scoreless ninth. Pierce (6-1) went 8.2 innings, scattering two runs, one earned, on five hits with five strikeouts.
Game Two Recap: Fairfield held off a seventh-inning rally by Canisius to edge the Griffs, 4-3, and hand them their first league loss of the year.
Fairfield jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. After reaching on a fielder’s choice, junior Alex Witkusstole second base and then scored when Jake Salpietrosingled up the middle. After swiping second base, Salpietro scored on a Giannini single.
Canisius got one of the runs back in the top of the second on a single by Ronnie Bernick. Fairfield put up two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Giannini led off with a double and later scored on a single by Hopkins to make it 3-1. After stealing second and advancing to third on a ground ball, Hopkins was able to score on a passed ball to give the Stags a three-run advantage.
Canisius made it 4-2 in the top of the fifth on a double by Jesse Puscheck. In the top of the seventh, pinch hitter Jake Lumley singled to center but the ball got away from the Stags which Lumley to reach third. Fairfield conceded the run on a groundout by Luppens. Reliever Jeremy Soulethenshut the door on the Griffs to preserve the win and pick up his first save of the year.
Sophomore starter Mike Wallaceimproved to 3-3 on the season after going 6.0 innings and scattering three runs, two earned, and striking out three batters. Alex Godzak (4-3) took the loss, allowing four runs, three earned, on four hits with three strikeouts.