Canisius tops Liberty in series opener

liberty baseballDespite three hits by Liberty catcher Tre Todd, the Canisius Golden Griffins toppled the Flames, 9-2, Friday afternoon at Liberty Baseball Stadium.

Todd posted his first three-hit game as Liberty Flame in the contest and his fourth multi-hit game of the season. Todd, who entered the weekend second in the nation in on base percentage, has reached base in every Liberty contest of 2018.

The Flames drop to 8-6 overall on the year. Canisius improves to 9-3. Friday’s contest was the first ever meeting between the two teams on the diamond.

The visiting Golden Griffins jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning. Right fielder Canice Ejoh was hit by a pitch and left fielder Mark McKenna singled to open the inning. After both runners moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt, third baseman Ryan Stekl, who had four RBI in the contest, doubled in both runners for a two-run edge.

In the top of the fifth, Canisius took advantage of three walks to score three runs with one hit. Center fielder Jake Burlingame led off the inning with a single and second baseman Joseph Preziuso and Ejoh walked to load the bases. The next batter McKenna also walked to force in a run for a 3-0 edge. Preziuso then came in to score on a double play and Ejoh on a wild pitch, upping the Griffins’ lead to 5-0.

In the bottom of the inning, Liberty cut into the Canisius edge. With one out, center fielder D.J. Artis singled and later, stole second with two out. After left fielder Jonathan Embry walked, first baseman Dylan Allen lined a single into right, plating Artis with the Flames’ first run of the game. Designated hitter Andrew Yacyk followed with a RBI double to the left field corner, trimming Liberty’s deficit to 5-2.

Canisius added to its lead in the seventh. With two outs, Stekl lined a two-run single back through the middle for a 7-2 edge.

Looking to shrink their opponents’ lead, the Flames threatened in the eighth, but came away empty. Right fielder Brandon Rohrer singled to open the bottom of the inning and advance to second on a one-out single by shortstop Cam Locklear. However, Canisius pitchers Andrew Sipowicz retired the next batter and Michael Ginther the next to end the threat and close out the inning.

The Griffins tacked on two more in the ninth on a pinch-hit double by John Novenche for the final score of 9-2.

Canisius reliever Andrew Sipowicz moves to 2-1 on the year. The right-hander scattered three hits over three innings of relief. He struck out one and did not walk a batter.

Liberty starting pitcher Noah Skirrow falls to 1-2. The freshman right-hander gave up six runs on four hits over 6 1/3 innings. He tied a career-high with nine strikeouts and walked four batters.

The Flames outhit the Golden Griffins, 8-7, in the contest. Neither team committed an error.

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