Baseball swept by Fairfield to open season

Jake Burlingame was a rare bright spot for the Griffs, hitting a home run. (Canisius Athletics/GoGriffs)

Baseball struggled in its first weekend series, dropping all four games to Fairfield on the road.

In the first doubleheader of the weekend on Saturday it was the pitching that did them in, giving up 20 runs in two games, dropping game one, 7–4, and game two, 13–4.

In the middle of the fourth in game one it was tied 4-4, but the Stags scored three runs in the bottom half to put the game away and hold on. The Griffs only had six hits for the game as they were shut down by Fairfield starter Trey McLoughlin, who struck out 11 Griffs in six innings of work.

In game two the Griffs found themselves down 3–0 after three batters as Fairfield’s Justin Guerrera hit a three-run home run in the first inning. It was one of two homers on the game for Guerrera, hitting another in the third inning to make it a 5–1 ballgame. After another home run and more baserunners for the Stags, starter Joe Barberio was pulled with two outs in the third. It got worse for the Griffs as they were unable to find consistent offense while the pitching gave up more runs, Ryan Boyer surrendering six of them in 4 1/3 innings of work.

The third game, which was the first game on Sunday started off on the right foot for the Griffs as Jake Burlingame’s home run in the second inning gave them a 1–0 lead but the Stags scored six unanswered runs off of Will Frank and Levi Abbott to take the game 6–3. Fairfield’s John Signore allowed just one run in 5 1/3 innings.

The fourth game was perhaps the worst one as the Griffs fell 8–0, only recording three hits in the entire game. It was low-scoring at first with the Stags only leading 2–0 through the first four innings, but another pair of runs in the fifth and four more in the sixth was the back-breaker. Andrew Fron gave up four runs in 4 2/3 innings but freshman Matt Duffy struggled in his collegiate debut, giving up four runs and only recording two outs.

The lone bright spots were on the offense as Jacob Victor recorded seven hits on the weekend in 14 at-bats and Vinny Chiarenza and Mike DeStefano both hit .300 or above on the weekend. As a whole, the Griffs hit just .223 on the series.

The pitching is what the Griffs struggled mightily with. The team’s ERA through the first four games is 9.64 and six pitchers gave up four or more earned runs in their respective appearances.

This is the first time the Griffs have been swept in a MAAC series since April 8–9, 2017, losing all three games of a three-game set against Marist. This is also the first time the program has started 0–4 in league play since 2003, when it started 0–7.

“We have been humbled and we need to be a team that lets this soak in and understand nothing is given and everything we get this year needs to be earned. We put in the work Monday through Friday and we need to execute moving forward,” head coach Matt Mazurek said.

The Griffs are back on the road this weekend to play Iona in a four-game set with doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday.

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