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Canisius baseball takes on Winthrop this weekend

The Canisius baseball team continues its 2017 slate this weekend, as the squad heads to Rock Hill, S.C. to take on Winthrop on March 10-12. The three game set begins with a Friday match up at 6 p.m., followed by a Saturday showdown at 3 p.m., and a Sunday finale slated for 1 p.m. Canisius then readies for a pair of mid-week games against Virginia Tech during Spring Break, on March 14 and 15, giving way to a three-game slate against George Mason March 17-19.  The Griffs will open at home on April 1, as the squad hosts MAAC foe, Monmouth for a doubleheader on a Saturday and a single game on Sunday, April 2.

The Griffs are coming off another successful neutral site series as the squad bested Fordham, 3-1, in the four-game slate. The squad opened up the series with a 5-3 victory, before dropping the second contest in the 9th inning, 6-5, to the Rams. Canisius bounced back in the evening session, winning 4-0, before taking the series finale, 2-1, in the 10th inning. Prior to the 3-1 series win against Fordham, Canisius swept the competition down in Lake Point, Ga., defeating IPFW twice (5-3 and 13-6), Chicago State (8-1) and NJIT (6-1). The Griffs come into the contest with a 9-3 overall record, a 2-2 away mark, and a 7-1 neutral site record.

The Winthorp Eagles enter the contest with a 5-7 record, postinga 3-0 mark at home and a 1-5 mark on the road. The Eagles also recorded a 1-2 mark at neutral sites this season. The Eagles have dropped four of its last five games, with its last win coming against Albany on March 5, winning 9-7. Mitch Spires leads the team in batting average, notching 12 hits in 33 at bats so far this season. The team’s hits leader is Hunter Lipscomb who has tallied 14 knocks, and is second on the team in batting average, with a mark of .292. Lipscomb has been extremely productive at the plate as well, tallying 15 on his 14 hits through 16 contests. Babe Thomas is second on the team in RBi, notching 10 in 13 hits, to go along with a .289 batting average. Reece Green is the teams most successful starter so far this year, having appeared in four games, making three starts, and posting a 1-1 record to go along with a 2.86 ERA. Thad Harris and Colton Rendon have also made three starts for Winthrop and are combined 0-4. Nate Pawleczyk and Riley Arnon have both recorded a save apiece out of the bullpen.

The Griffs have been on quite a run in the early portion of its schedule and a lot of its due to the consistency the team is showing on the field. Here is a look at current streaks on the team:

  • Liam Wilson has both the longest hitting streak and reached base streak, with eight-straight games with a hit and 12-straight contest having reached base.
  • Ryan Stekl is right behind in him in reaching the base paths as the junior infielder has matched Wilson’s 12 games.
  • Joseph Preziuso is close behind in games with a hit with six-straight.
  • Meanwhile Christ Conley and Jake Lumley have also reached-base in 10-or-more contests, posting 11-straight games getting to the base paths.  

Junior hurler, J.P. Stevenson had a rough sophomore campaign, battling through an injury-plagued campaign, and because of that, his numbers were a bit inflated from his freshman season. It appears Stevenson is back and better than ever, as he has posted three strong outings to start the year. Stevenson boasts a 0.93 ERA in 19.1 innings of work. He is also a flawless 3-0, and allowed just 14 hits and two earned runs and has fanned 11 batters to start the season. Stevenson leads the team in lowest ERA amongst the starters and is third on the team in strikeouts. Stevenson ranks highly on the national stage, ranking 3rd in the nation in wins with three, and 67th in the country in ERA (0.93).

The Griffs have had a number players swinging a strong bat this season, with the senior Jake Lumley leading the way with a .358 batting average, 19 hits and six RBI. Also having strong seasons are Ryan Stekl and Liam Wilson. Stekl is second on the team in batting average with a .354 mark, and tied for second in hits with 17. Wilson ranked third on the team with a .347 batting average and also has 17 hits. Christ Conley leads the team in RBI with 11, and also has notched 11 hits and one dinger on the year. J.P. Stevenson is back in a groove for the Griffs after having a down sophomore season, plagued by injury, leading the starters with a sub .100 ERA and a 3-0 record. Andrew Sipowicz is next on the list with a 1.76 ERA in a pair of starts and three appearances, while he leads the team in strikeouts with 15. Zachary Sloan has also been a cog in the rotation, appearing in three games, all three starts and is 1-0 with a 5.62 ERA and 14 Ks. Another name to keep an eye on in the rotation is that of Andrew Kneussle who made his first appearance last weekend and worked four scoreless innings in his first start. The Blue and Gold’s bullpen has many interesting options with newcomers Brennan Smith and Will Frank getting thrown into the fire quickly and responding in kind, combining for 14 innings between them. Smith boasts a 1.23 ERA in three appearances and five strikeouts, while Frank has been a strikeout machine, mowing down 10 batters in 8.2 innings of work. Tyler Smith has had the unenviable task of filling in for the 2016 MAAC Reilever of the Year, Iannick Remillard, who will go down as one of the best to play the game, but the junior reliever has done well in filling the shoes. Smith has appeared in four games, maintains a 1.59 ERA and has two saves so far this season.

Brandon Nicholson has been a key contributor in his first season for Canisius. The second baseman appeared in 11 games and made nine starts for the Blue and Gold. What has stood out about Nicholson has been his patience at the dish, leading the team with 11 walks through 11 games. Because of this, Nicholson is ranked 24th in the nation in walks per game, averaging one per game, and is 35th in overall walks. Because of his patience at the plate, Nicholson has a .409 on base percentage.

The Griffs pitching staff has been a strength for the team this year, with starters posting quality starts and the relief hurlers coming on and eating up valuable innings. The team ERA is 3.02, which ranks the Golden Griffin pitching staff 30th in division I as well as first in the MAAC in the category. Harvard currently leads the nation in ERA with a 1.25 ERA. Canisius is also ranked 48th in the nation in shutouts and 41st in hits allowed per nine innings with a 7.55 mark.

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