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Canisius baseball sweeps doubleheader with Marist; earns postseason berth



CANISIUS COLLEGE ATHLETICS

No alternative text provided.BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A three-run rally in the sixth inning of game one, and a walk-off win via a wild pitch in game two, provided the Canisius baseball team with a MAAC doubleheader sweep of Marist Thursday afternoon at the Demske Sports Complex. The Golden Griffins (30-20, 15-8) took the first game by a score of 8-5, before scoring an 8-7 win in the nightcap. Marist fell to 26-20 overall and 14-9 in MAAC action with the pair of losses.

With the win in the first game of the day, Canisius secured a berth into next week's 2018 MAAC Baseball Championship, which will be held in Staten Island, N.Y. This marks the 12th straight season where the Blue and Gold have earned a bid to the league's championship event.

GAME ONE
Canisius redshirt senior Liam Wilson's four hits led the way for the host Golden Griffins as they beat Marist, 8-5 in game one Thursday afternoon at the Demske Sports Complex.
 
Wilson put the Griffs on the board first with a homer to center in the bottom of the first, but Marist responded in the top-half of the third with three runs to take a 3-1 lead.
 
The Blue and Gold trailed 4-1 in the fifth inning, but scored twice in the frame thanks to a solo homer from redshirt senior Christ Conley and a RBI-single by senior Ryan Stekl that allowed Wilson to score. Canisius took the lead for good in the home-half of the sixth thanks to a two-run single by junior Canice Ejoh and a RBI-triple by Conley to make the score 6-4 in favor of the home team.
 
The Griffs added two insurance runs in the seventh to make the score 8-4 after senior Gage Lanning hit a solo shot to left and fellow senior John Conti scored later in the frame on a dropped fly-ball by the Marist defense. Marist added a run in the eighth on a sac-fly, but senior closer Tyler Smith closed out the game for the Griffs with three strikeouts over two innings of work to seal the victory.
 
Senior southpaw J.P. Stevenson went seven innings on the mound for the Griffs, his seventh such outing in 14 starts. The New Glasgow, Prince Edward Island, native spun his way to six strikeouts while allowing four runs on six hits. The win improved Stevenson to 9-1 on the year.
 
Marist freshman Nick Cantone started game one for the Red Foxes and went 4.2 innings, where he allowed three runs on seven hits to go with two strikeouts. Redshirt senior Tyler Dearden entered in the fifth and allowed three runs on four hits. Dearden ended up taking the loss.
 
GAME TWO
Junior Conner Morro raced home on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Canisius an 8-7 victory in the second game of the MAAC twinbill. The victory stands as the Griffs' sixth in their last eight outings.
 
Marist led 2-0 heading into the third, but Canisius cut that lead in half at 2-1 after redshirt sophomore William Krull worked a bases-loaded walk, forcing in Conti. The Blue and Gold exploded for six runs in the bottom of the fourth on five hits, including RBI-singles by Conti, Morro and Wilson and also a two-run single off the bat of juniorMark McKenna. McKenna scored on a wild-pitch later in the inning to put the Blue and Gold up 7-2.

The Red Foxes scored three times in the fifth to make the score 7-5 in favor of Canisius, and then Marist tied the game at 7-7 in the top-half of the seventh thanks to a two-run home run by Matt Iantosca.
 
In the home-half of the seventh, Morro led off with a double to right-center and was moved to third on a groundout by sophomore Brett Migliore. After Ejoh struck out looking, sophomore Stephen Bennett pitch hit for Conti. Two pitches later, Morro darted home on a pitch in the dirt with the winning run.
 
Sophomore right-hander Will Frank got credited with his third victory of the year for Canisius. The Griffs used five pitchers in the game two victory. For Marist, senior Mike Coss took the loss in relief.
 
GAME NOTES
• With two hits on Thursday, Conley's on-base streak has reached 12-straight games.
• Conti recorded one base hit in both contests Thursday, moving his consecutive game on-base streak to 10 games.
• With his single Thursday, Stekl has moved into sole possession of fourth-place in program history in total bases with 361, passing former Griff Ian Choy.
• Stevenson threw seven complete innings in game one Thursday, passing Alex MacKenzie for fourth all-time for most innings pitched with 291.0.
• Stevenson also tied a career-high with nine victories for the season. He recorded nine wins in 2017. 
• With his double in game two on Thursday, Wilson has passed Brett Siddall's program record for most doubles in a season with 25. Siddall had 24 two-base hits in 2015.
• Thursday's game two marks the first walk-off win for the Griffs on the season, and the first since the season-finale last season where Canisius beat Niagara 7-6 in 13 innings.
• With two wins on Thursday, Canisius has recorded 30 wins in a season for the seventh-straight season and for the 10th time in the 11 years.
 
UP NEXT    
The Griffs finish up the three-game series, and the 2018 regular season, with a single game versus Marist on Friday at noon.
 
The single-game also serves as Senior Day for the Blue and Gold, where the program will honor its 12 seniors prior to first pitch. Senior Day ceremonies are set to begin at 11:30 a.m.
 
Canisius' 12 seniors on this year's roster include: Nick CapitanoChrist ConleyJohn ContiMichael Ginther,Tim KensingerGage LanningCyrus SeniorTyler SmithCharlie SobieraskiRyan SteklJ.P. Stevensonand Liam Wilson.