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  • Andrew Nowel

Baseball Griffs earn two victories in Spartanburg Baseball Classic

By Andrew Nowel, Sports Reporter

The Canisius Golden Griffins baseball team had a very successful weekend in the Carolinas at the One Spartanburg Inc. Baseball Classic, winning two of three games and improving their overall record to 2–2 on the season. Behind graduate student Tom Peltier’s strong pitching performance, earning him MAAC pitcher of the week honors, the Griffs look to continue their success as the season heads into March.

The Presbyterian Blue Hose took a 2–0 lead in the first inning against the Griffs in Friday afternoon’s game to start the classic. However, the Griffs were not going to let the Blue Hose run away with the game, as they battled back to a 3–3 tie after five innings. The Griffs drove in a run in the sixth and three more in the seventh to take a 7–3 lead, but the Blue Hose scored two in the bottom of the seventh to cut the Griffs’ lead down to 7–5. An insurance run in the ninth helped the Griffs defeat the Blue Hose 8–6 in the opening game of the classic for their first win of the season.

Saturday’s game was the opposite of success, as the Griffs struggled to string hits together to create offensive chances. The USC Upstate Spartans, the host school of the classic, defeated the Griffs 10–1, with the Griffs earning three hits, one of them a solo homer in the fourth inning from senior outfielder Carlin Dick. The six-run second inning for the Spartans set the tone for the game, giving the Griffs their second loss of the season.

Head coach Matt Mazurek told the team before the game that he wanted them to jump out to a lead early in Sunday’s game against the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs. The Griffs scored five runs in the first inning and pitched nearly perfectly for most of the game. Mazurek’s team held an 8–1 lead going into the bottom of the ninth, but the Runnin’ Bulldogs began a rally that came up short despite scoring four runs in the final inning. With the 8–5 win, the Griffs improved to 2–2 on the season.

In both wins, junior third baseman Trent Rumley was the major factor. He hit a three-run homer against the Blue Hose in the seventh inning that helped the Griffs to hold on for the win. Rumley earned four RBI in that game, and he batted two-for-four with an RBI and a run scored in the win against the Runnin’ Bulldogs. Heading into Wednesday’s matchup against the West Virginia Mountaineers, Rumley was very pleased with his performance at the classic but also with how the team turned around after only playing one game.

“Grabbing two wins this weekend was great for our team's confidence,” said Rumley. “Our team knows we have all of the pieces, and to see us put it together was great. We have a talented group that’s really deep, and we expect ourselves to compete every pitch of every game. Individually, my performance was great for my confidence. I know I’m capable of performing at a high level and need to continue to do that each and every week to help the team win.”

Tom Peltier pitched four innings on Friday, allowing two earned runs on five hits while striking out 10. This earned him the MAAC Pitcher of the Week Award as he also earned the win against the Blue Hose in his second appearance of the season.

The Griffs traveled to Morgantown, West Virginia on Wednesday, falling 10–3 to the Mountaineers. It was not a pretty day for the Griffs, as they earned four hits, one of them coming from a two-run homer by Dick, his second homer of the season. They also made three errors, which was not the case in any of the three games over the weekend, showing that the mistakes allowed the Mountaineers to capitalize.

The Griffs will next travel to Greensboro, North Carolina to face the UNC Greensboro Spartans on Friday, concluding the three-game series on Sunday.

Photo courtesy of Tom Wolf/GoGriffs

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