Baseball Drops Two of Three in Series Against Rider
By Connor Pohlman, Sports Editor
Heading into last Friday’s matchup against the Rider Broncs in Lawrenceville, NJ with a 12-15 record, the Canisius baseball team found themselves in a prime position to improve the momentum of their season.
With a triumphant 10–2 win over Rider in the first game, Canisius improved to 7-0 in conference play.
Canisius ensured that they would put the game out of reach in the opening frame, with Senior Mike DeStefano connected on his first hit of the contest in the opening frame, sending the 0-1 pitch from Heine into right to score junior Max Grant for the early advantage.
The Griffs made it a 4-0 ballgame in the third highlighted by DeStefano's two-run double before doubling the score in the next frame.
With a runner on, sophomore Jackson Strong slugged his sixth home run of the season, tying him with graduate Dylan Vincent for the team lead.
Two batters later, senior Kenny Dodson singled home Grant before coming around to score on DeStefano's second double of the game.
Leading 8-2 in the seventh, redshirt sophomore Josh Niles gave Canisius double digit runs for the fourth time in seven conference matchups with a two-run base knock to seal the win.
Junior Matt Duffy earned his third win in three starts against MAAC opponents, allowing two runs on three hits in six innings of work. Redshirt sophomore Ethan Hennessy notched his first career save in relief, striking out four batters in three shutout frames.
The Griffs would follow their victory with a doubleheader against Rider two days later, where they were unable to preserve their winning ways, dropping both contests.
Game one of the doubleheader proved to be a tightly contested pitcher's duel, but the Broncs would break the deadlock in the bottom of the fourth inning with Matt Shepherd doubling down the left field line to drive in the first run of the game.
Canisius would reply in the next half inning with senior Kenny Dodson drawing a bases loaded walk to tie the game one all, before Erich Hartmann would return the lead to Rider in the bottom of the seventh to secure the win.
At the plate, Canisius only mustered two hits, courtesy of sophomore Jackson Strong and redshirt sophomore Josh Niles.
On the mound, Frank Doeling would toss five innings for the Broncs, allowing both of Canisius' hits. Earning the win for Rider was Danny Kirwin, who pitched three scoreless frames to close out the contest, striking out four batters.
Pouliot earned six strikeouts in six innings of work. Sophomore Peyton Consigli would pitch the final two innings of the first game, notching three strikeouts in the process.
As a team, Rider would secure six hits and two runs batted in, with Shepherd and Hartmann taking credit.
As game two commenced, the Broncs struck first, getting four runs across the plate in the bottom of the first to take an early 4-0 lead.
Senior Mike DeStefano would get the Griffs on the board in the top of the fourth with an RBI groundout to second that would bring home junior Max Grant to make it a 4-1 ballgame.
After a single from Rider's John Volpe made it 5-1 in the home half of the frame, the Blue and Gold found a response in the top of the fifth inning, using a Rider fielding error to bring in two runs and cut their deficit to two.
The Broncs responded again, knocking in a pair of runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth, before a wild pitch allowed Brendan O'Donnell to score in the top of the seventh and make it a 8-3 game.
Canisius would make a late game rally, scoring two runs in the bottom of the eighth off a DeStefano single before a Strong double in the top of the ninth made it 8-6. Still, the Broncs would hold on to secure the victory amidst the late surge from Canisius.
Graduate Kyle Kush connected with the ball three times in the loss, the most of any Canisius batter in both games.
The Canisius Golden Griffins will look to return to the win column next week when they return home to take on the Quinnipiac Bobcats for a three-game set April 21-23. First pitches are scheduled for 3 p.m., 2 p.m. and noon, with all three contests being broadcasted live on ESPN+.