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Canisius' baseball season ends with regional loss to Gonzaga

CANISIUS COLLEGE ATHLETICS

McKenna_Mark action vs. Gonzaga 6-2-18Austin Pinorini went 3-for-4 with three RBI to lead third-seeded Gonzaga to an 8-2 victory over fourth-seeded Canisius in an elimination game in the Minneapolis Regional of the 2018 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship Saturday at Siebert Field.
 
Pinorini highlighted a Zags (33-23) lineup that finished with 17 hits on the afternoon as Gunner Schubert went 3-for-6 with two RBI while four players chipped in two hits apiece.
 
With the win, Gonzaga advances to another elimination game against the loser of the winner's bracket contest between No. 14 Minnesota and UCLA.
 
Junior Mark McKenna went 4-for-4 with a double for the Golden Griffins (35-22), who saw their season come to a close with Saturday's defeat. Seniors Ryan Stekl and Liam Wilson and junior Conner Morro accounted for the other three hits for the Blue and Gold.  
 
Gonzaga jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top half of the first with a bases-loaded single from Austin Pinorini, but Canisius countered in the bottom half of the frame with a RBI groundout from Stekl to make it a 2-1 contest.
 
The Zags stretched their lead to 4-1 with two runs in the top of third as Schubert belted a solo home run to left field before Pinorini plated his third run of the contest with a single through the right side.  
 
The Griffs once again had an answer in the bottom half of the frame when Wilson recorded a two-out single to score McKenna and trim the deficit to 4-2, but Gonzaga responded with two runs in the fourth and another in the fifth to stretch the margin to 7-2.
 
Issac Barrera closed out the scoring in the top of the seventh with a run-scoring single to center field.
 
Gonzaga starter Alek Jacob took advantage of the early run support, as he scattered seven hits and two walks in eight innings of work to record his seventh victory of the season.
 
Junior Andrew Sipowicz took the loss for Canisius, surrendering six runs on nine hits and four walks in 3.2 innings of work. He struck out four.  
 
Head Coach Matt Mazurek's Postgame Comments
"I'm so proud of the players, especially the 12 seniors on this team. We set out on a mission at the beginning of the year to reach this point. We knew we were deserving and had the talent to get here. We put that into action and we earned our opportunity here. We didn't quite get over the hump and get to the next chapter of Canisius baseball, but the pride I have to these 12 seniors that are leaving the program is indescribable. It's an amazing thing."
 
Game Notes
• Saturday's contest served as the first meeting on the diamond between the two Jesuit schools.
• The 17 hits by Gonzaga were the most by a Canisius opponent this season, surpassing the previous high of 16 set by Kent State in a 13-11 victory over the Griffs on April 11.
• The four base hits by junior Mark McKenna matched his season high, set on two previous occasions (at Western Carolina on 2/24/18 and vs. Quinnipiac on 5/24/18).
• Senior Ryan Stekl recorded the 186th RBI of his career with his run-scoring groundout in the first inning. He finishes second the program's career RBI chart, one back of former Griffs standout Kevin Mahoney (2006-09).