Siena Baseball Moves Into Second Place With Sweep of Canisius

April 24, 2005

LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. - The top four hitters in the Siena order combined for 10 hits in the opener, and junior John Lannan (Long Beach, N.Y.) won for the ninth time in his last 10 MAAC decisions as Siena (13-17/8-3 MAAC) swept Canisius (7-23/4-9 MAAC) 13-8 and 4-3 in windy Loudonville Saturday. Junior Scott King (Huntington, N.Y.) had five hits and seven RBI on the day, hitting out of the leadoff spot for just the second time this season.

Game 1

The Saints gave up a big early lead, but used a relentless offense to post a 13-8 win. After Canisius scored a run in its first at bat on a Joe Roach groundout, Siena struck back for two runs in its initial go-around. King led off the inning with a bunt single, stole second and later scored on a Gabe Perez sacrifice fly. After freshman Jake Willis (East Lyme, Conn.) singled with two outs, classmate Rick Seltzer followed with an opposite field double to put the Saints on top, 2-1.

Siena struck for four runs in the second to take an apparently commanding 6-1 lead. King drove home the first score with a single to center following consecutive hits by Matt Gidaly and Michael Ambury (Wantagh, N.Y.). Ambury finished the first game with two hits and a pair of runs scored, and made some sparkling defensive plays at second base in his first MAAC start of the season. After freshman Chris Klepps (Bristol, Conn.) singled, Gidaly scored the second run of the inning on a Perez fly ball that got caught in the wind and dropped harmlessly behind second base. Willis again delivered a clutch hit, driving a bases loaded single to right field to finish the second inning scoring.

Canisius evened things up with five runs the fourth inning off Saints' starter Ken Grant. Josh Matlow began the rally with a double to left field and Rich Ruscio was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second. After a failed sacrifice attempt by Lee Harber that resulted in the Saints cutting down the lead runner at third, Harber and Ruscio stole second and third respectively. Wade Rosolowski and R.J. Crawford followed with run-scoring singles, and after Gabe Baida lined out, shortstop Matt Mazurek delivered a sharp single to right field that plated two runs. The Griffs tied the game on Roach's second hit of the game, a single through the right side of the Saints' infield. Canisius took a 7-6 lead in the fifth when Ruscio scored on a double steal.

The Saints rallied to take the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth, again scoring four times. Eric Hildenbrand doubled down the left field line with one out, and Ambury beat out a well placed bunt to put runners at the corners. After Matt Gidaly flied out, King again came through, driving a clutch triple to right field. He scored on Klepps' double to left and Klepps came home on Perez's second run-scoring safety.

James Pacifico relieved starter Ken Grant, who was credited with the victory, to start the sixth. Pacifico allowed just one run the rest of the way, as Rosolowski was hit by a pitch and later scored on consecutive wild pitches. Pacifico allowed just two hits and did not walk a batter en route to his second save of the season.

Siena added two insurance runs in the sixth and one in the eighth. In the sixth, Bill Lazio reached on one of three errors charged to Mazurek at short, and scored when Gidaly was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. King got credit for his fourth RBI of the game when he grounded to first base with the bases loaded and one out. Pinch runner John Wilkes scored Siena's 13th run in the home half of the eight following a fielding error.

Siena's 16 hits matched the Saints total against Fairfield in the teams' conference opener last weekend, and fell just one hit shy of the 17 Siena had on opening day at Bethune Cookman. King and Klepps each finished with three hits, Perez, Willis and Ambury had two hits a piece.

Game 2

Lannan fired seven innings, allowing four hits and three runs, to move to 5-2 on the season. He struck out seven batters in his fourth complete game of the season.

Things got off to a shaky start as Canisius' leadoff hitter B.J. Stack hooked a 1-2 fastball inside the right field foul pole to start the game. Lanan quickly settled down, stranding R.J. Crawford at third base after he walked and advanced 180 feet on a failed pick off attempt with no outs. It proved to be a key run.

King was again the offensive star for the Saints. With two outs and the bases loaded in the second, he crushed a double over Rosolowski's head in center that cleared the bases. The hit was the only base knock in the inning for Siena, as Seltzer and Hildenbrand walked with one out, and Gidaly drew a two out bases on balls. The three runs came off Canisius pitcher Mike Bax, who suffered the loss when relieving starter Ian Horner to start the inning after Horner had worked a perfect first.

The Saints expanded the lead to 4-1 in the third off Bax as Hildenbrand singled to left field plating Arasin with an unearned run. The Golden Griffins again rallied to make things interesting down the stretch. Canisius scored single runs in the fourth and fifth innings off Lannan, taking advantage of periodic wildness. Lannan walked Mazurek to start the fourth and hit Matlow with a pitch to put runners at first and second with no outs. Roach laid down a sacrifice bunt and then Lannan was charged with a balk to make the score 4-2. Kevin Smith and Rosolowski singled to start the fifth and Smith scored on a ground out to first with one out to put the tying run 90 feet from the plate. Lannan calmly retired Mazurek on a grounder to third to end the threat.

The southpaw retired the final six batters of the game in order, picking off Steve Spillman who reached on a walk to start the sixth to take care of the only base runner. Matt Wheeler tossed three scoreless innings for Canisius off the bench, allowing just one hit. Kevin Smith had two of the Griffs' four hits to pace the offensive charge.

Lannan improved to 9-1 in 10 MAAC decisions the past two seasons. Senior Josh Burnett will likely get the call in the series finale tomorrow at 2 p.m., as the Saints look to complete their first MAAC sweep of the season.

Siena (8-3) moved percentage points ahead of LeMoyne (9-4), which lost to Iona today, in to seoond place in the MAAC standings. The Saints are 1.5 games behind first place Marist (11-3) and .5 games ahead of fourth place Manhattan (7-3).