By: Jay Ashdown
After its impressive road sweep over Charleston Southern, the Canisius Golden Griffins baseball team has hit a bit of a road bump, losing four of their last six games. The team lost their two previous series to both North Carolina A&T and Manhattan by losing two of three in each set, dropping the team record to 9–12 on the season.
The Griffs lost their first two games to the Aggies in Greensboro, N.C. as the team fell in heartbreaking fashion losing 8–7 in a thirteen inning thriller. The next game was a poor effort on all ends, as the team got blown out by the Aggies 16–4. With two losses already on their shoulders, the Griffs salvaged game three due to an absolute gem from starting pitcher Chris Pouliot.
Pouliot was dominant, throwing a full seven innings of work, striking out eight players and only allowing one base hit. Pouliot only hit one batter and limited his walks to just three, meaning he only allowed five batters to get on base in his outing. The Griffs rode the momentum of their dominant pitching and took advantage in the third inning to get on the board on a two run shot from Mike DeStefano. Dylan Vincent later added two more RBI singles to give the Griffs a third and fourth run of insurance. This was all the Griffs needed as the pitching from Pouliot, David Yankowski and Tom Peltier held down the fort to secure the win.
“He’s done a really good job for us, and I think as the weeks progress he’s just gaining confidence and the more confidence he gets the more it shows on the mound,” head coach Matt Mazurek said of Pouliot. “He’s pitching differently this year than he has his entire college career, with using a slider and a changeup, and he’s using it more often and he’s finding more confidence and success with it.”
Canisius (1–2) began conference play last weekend on the road against the Manhattan Jaspers, and the series looked relatively similar to the previous series against the Aggies. Canisius won only one of the three games but did so in convincing fashion, while also losing a one-run game and losing another game that was never close.
Losing a series, especially in conference play, is never a fun time, but the Griffs are excited to get back into the swing of important baseball — and they’re ready to finally play a series at home as well when they return April 5 to take on Cornell.
“It’s good to get conference play going again,” Mazurek said. “After taking an L out there in week one, we’re hungry to get back out there and win a series.”
“There’s going to be ups and downs throughout the whole season, but we have to stay confident in who we are,” first baseman Vinny Chiarenza said. “We have a lot of good players on this team: we just have to stay content, and we have to keep thriving for things that are greater than what we can do. We're very confident as a team; we just have to keep it going.”
In order for the Griffs to find some success as the season progresses, they will need to have more success at the plate and find some consistency in that area as well. In the team's 21 games so far this season, they’ve scored five or more runs nine times and are 7–2 in games in which they do so. The team doesn’t need to unload and score 10 or more runs in a game like they’ve done five times so far this season, but if they can consistently score runs and apply pressure to their opposition, they’ll make life easier on their pitching staff.
“When things are going well, we get the pitches we’re looking for and we don’t miss them,” Mazurek said. “When things aren’t going great, it’s when we’re focused on what we want to do, rather than what we’re actually getting. When we’re strong in the box, good things are going to happen. Moving forward we just need to be strong in the box, getting our pitches and not missing them and having smarter at bats.”
Canisius will look to take advantage of a struggling Quinnipiac team this weekend, as the Bobcats come into the series 5–14 on the season, having lost six of their last seven.