Behind strong pitching from sophomores Alex Godzak and Iannick Remillard, the Canisius baseball team opened its non-conference series against Indiana State with a 3-1 win at the Demske Sports Complex on Friday afternoon. The Golden Griffins improve to 21-13 on the season.
Godzak (5-3) picked up the win by throwing seven shutout innings for the third time in his career, allowing five hits, walking two and striking out six. Remillard picked up his first save of the season by allowing one run over the final two innings.
Both teams committed a number of outs on the basepaths throughout the game. Canisius ran itself out of the first two innings, with sophomore Anthony Massicci getting picked off to end the first on a good pickup move by Indiana State starter David Stagg, and senior Jimmy Luppens getting thrown out at second while trying to steal with runners on the corners with two outs. The Griffs would strike first in the bottom of the third with a two-out rally. Senior Jose Torralba was hit in the foot by a pitch, and Massicci worked a seven-pitch walk to get two runners on base. Junior Connor Panas sent a liner to second base that short-hopped off the fielder. The spin carried the ball into shallow right field and allowed Torralba to score and put the Griffs up 1-0.
Canisius added another run in the fourth, which started when junior Jesse Puscheck legged out an infield single. Luppens followed with his second-consecutive opposite-field single, and a sacrifice bunt from junior Mike Krische put two runners into scoring position. Senior Jesse Kelso singled up the middle to score Puscheck and give the Griffs a 2-0 lead.
Godzak pitched around a leadoff walk in the fifth and then got out of his toughest jam in the sixth as the Sycamores had runners at first and third with one out. Godzak struck out Jacob Hayes and then got Tyler Wampler to fly out to senior Shane Zimmer in foul territory in right to end the threat. The Sycamores had the leadoff batter single to start the seventh, but Massicci made a solid play in the hole at short and his throw to second forced the lead runner for the first out of the inning. After a wild pitch, Godzak got a strikeout and a groundout to end that threat.
Indiana State (24-11) scored its only run in the eighth as Cody Fitzgerald double to right center with one out, his fourth hit of the day. After a single by Manuel Estevez put runners at the corners with one out, Remillard’s third-to-first move got the pinch runner to break for second. Remillard threw to first for the pickoff and second out of the inning. A wild pitch allowed the Sycamores to score their only run of the game.
Canisius got an insurance run in the eighth, which started with leadoff walks to Massicci and Panas. After a sacrifice bunt from Zimmer, Puscheck sent a grounder to second with the infield drawn in. Derek Hannahs knocked the ball down and got Puscheck at first, but Massicci scored to put the Griffs up 3-1. Remillard retired the side in order in the ninth to close out the game.
Luppens was the only Golden Griffin with two hits while Massicci reached base three times (hit and two walks).
The three-game series moves to Dwyer Stadium in Batavia, N.Y. on Saturday afternoon. First pitch at the home of the Batavia Muckdogs is set for 2 p.m.
Notes: Indiana State started the week ranked No. 19 in the official RPI released by the NCAA... Godzak recorded a season-high six strikeouts and has thrown at least six innings in each of his last four starts... Kelso reached base for the 17th consecutive game while Zimmer extended his hitting streak to 11 games... Remillard has allowed one run in his last four appearances (5.0 innings).