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Canisius baseball splits MAAC-opening doubleheader


Canisius baseball opened up its home slate, as well as its MAAC schedule on Saturday, and forced a doubleheader split against Monmouth at the Demske Sports Complex. The Hawks downed Canisius 17-6 in the first game but the Griffs bounced back with a 4-3 walk-off win in game two. With the split Canisius is now 15-10, 1-1 in MAAC play, while Momouth improves to 7-15 overall and 4-1 in conference action.

GAME #1: Monmouth 17 - Canisius 6

Monmouth got to the Canisius pitching staff early, posting an 8-run rally in the second inning, as the squad bested Canisius 17-6 in the first game. The Hawks offense belted 16 hits in the win, outhitting the Blue and Gold 16-5 in the contest.

Andrew Kneussle who started the year strong was chased after just three innings, as he allowed eight hits and nine runs (all earned) and dropped to 2-1 this season.

Brennan Smith relieved Kneussle and worked a full inning before being lifted due to injury early in the fourth. Smith allowed two hits and five runs and walked four in his one frame.

Kyle Warner worked the next four innings, allowing five hits and three runs, before Alvin Vega came on and closed out the final frame, yielding one hit in the inning.

Pete Papcun did most of the damage in the first game for Monmouth, going 4-of-4 at the dish, and driving in six RBI, including a two-run home run in the top of the second.

For the Griffs, the offense didn’t gain traction until the middle innings as the squad posted a two-run rally in the bottom of the fifth and a four-run rally in the bottom of the sixth.

In the bottom of the sixth the Blue and Gold loaded the bases for third-year infielder Ryan Stekl who launched a grand slam to centerfield.

GAME #2: Monmouth 3 - Canisius 4

In the second game the Blue and Gold treated its fans to some seventh-inning dramatics as the team loaded the bases with two outs, and a fielders choice by Tim Kensinger brought in Jake Lumley for the winning run, lifting Canisius to a 4-3 victory.

Canisius took the lead in the bottom of the first, however Monmouth answered back in the top of the second, knotting things up at 1-1.

It appeared the Griffs were in good shape after a triple by Jake Burlingame and a fielding error by the Hawks led to the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth, however again the Hawks answered with a leadoff homerun by Ryan Crowley, tying the game at 3-3.

In the home half of the seventh, Lumley led off the frame with a single, followed by a sacrifice bunt by Joseph Preziuso, which moved Lumley to second. Stekl was intentionally walked, before a Liam Wilson groundout, moved Lumley to third. Christ Conley walkd to load the bases and Kensinger smacked a ball to shortstop, and the Hawks tried to catch Preziuso running to third but the throw was late and Lumley notched the winning run.

J.P. Stevenson got the start for Canisius and worked 6.1 innings, allowing eight hits but only three runs, and fanned seven in the no-decision. Tyler Smith came on in relief and retired the side in the top of the seventh, as he improves to 2-0 in 2017.

Hits were at a premium in the second half of the doubleheader, as Lumley and Stekl led the way with a pair of knocks each.

Burlingame paced the team in RBI as he tallied a pair in the contest, Stekl, and Kensinger also had an RBI each.

The Griffs cap the series on Sunday as the two teams go at it one more time a the Demske Sports Complex. Game time is set for noon. Canisius will have a pair of midweek contests as well, hosting St. Bonaventure on Tuesday and then playing Buffalo on Wednesday.