By: Jay Ashdown
Canisius baseball got off to a solid start to the season with two splits against Pitt and Morehead state. The Griffs won the opening and closing games of both series, taking game one against Pitt 11–3 and the closing game 15–7.
The Griffs have been known for their patience at the plate and their ability to consistently put the ball in play, and that is on display nine games into the season as the team is averaging six runs per game.
As expected, Max Grant and Carlin Dick have gotten off to outstanding starts offensively for the Griffs. Grant is batting an absurd .471 at the plate, with two homers and six RBIs. He boasts a disgusting 1.256 OPS and is slugging .706% to start. Dick has a .290 average at the plate so far through the eight games he has played with nine hits, two doubles and three RBIs.
The solid start from Grant and Dick was expected, but the Griffs are also getting significant production from Mike Steffan and Mike DeStefano. Steffan has been stellar at the plate, batting .343 with three homers and a team leading 12 RBIs. Destefano has excelled offensively with a .333 batting average on 11 hits in 33 at bats. He has driven in four runs with a double to his name. He’s currently second on the team in on-base percentage at .463.
The Griffs have also received two excellent starts from ace Matt Duffy, who has yielded two earned runs in 12 innings pitched. Opponents are batting .140 against him, and he has a team-leading era at 1.50. His WHIP is also best on the team at .67, so he is not putting many guys on base.
“He picked up where he left off,” said Canisius skipper Matt Mazurek of his ace. “He’s very confident in what he is throwing, and he showed it against Pitt. They’re a team that’s built for fastballs and he did a good job battling and dropping in some changeups.”
Duffy was given a vote of confidence from his manager when he was named the day one starter, and Duffy has rewarded him so far this season with two outstanding starts. Being named day one starter is an honor, and it’s one that Duffy took gracefully.
“Being named day one starter, it felt great,” said Duffy. “Having the confidence of the coaches and the team in you felt good. Being out there was a bit nerve-wracking — because it is the first game of the year — but we got it done.”