Baseball Takes Two Against Canisius To Open MAAC Slate

BUFFALO, N.Y.- Paced by the offense of Robert Moore (Ridge, N.Y./Longwood High School) and James Smith (Hatfield, Pa./North Penn), the Saint Peter's University baseball team managed to capture two wins this afternoon in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference action against the Canisius College Golden Griffins. The Peacocks (7-10, 2-0 MAAC) edged the Griffs (14-7, 0-2 MAAC) in game one; coming out on top 7-5, and secured a 2-0 win behind a complete-game shutout from junior right-handed pitcher Mathew Yuhas (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Boro) in the nightcap. 

Moore went 4-for-7 in both games and scored three runs. Prior to today's contests, Moore had a total of three hits on the year. All four of Moore's hits today were doubles. 

Smith also finished a combined 4-for-7 in the victories. The junior catcher scored two for the Peacocks and drove in a run. 

Senior Zach Hopf (Woodbridge, N.J./Woodbridge) was credited with the game-one win; going seven innings and giving up five runs, five hits, three walks, while striking out six. 

Kevin Croucher (Wayne, N.J./DePaul Catholic) and Ethan Jackson (Howell, N.J./Colts Neck) each pitched a scoreless inning to close out the contest, with Jackson pitching the ninth to be credited with the save. 

Chris Grimes (Iselin, N.J./JFK-Iselin) also turned in a strong hitting performance in the opening game; finishing 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. 

"Today was definitely a good way to start conference play, but we have a long way to go", commented Head Coach Sean Cashman following the sweep.

"I thought we executed well this afternoon and we're all looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow."

The Peacocks jumped out to a 2-0 advantage in the second. With one out, Smith would record a ground-rule double, move to second on a base-hit by Grimes and later score from third on a sacrifice bunt by rookie James Spadaccini (Butler, N.J./Butler High School). A two-out single to center by Matt Speckmann (Cherry Hill, N.J./Cherry Hill West) brought home Grimes for the second run of the game.

Canisius managed to tie the game in the bottom of the inning, but Saint Peter's regained the lead two frames later, via a two-run fourth inning. Following a similar sequence to the second, Smith singled on, moved to both second and third on wild pitches and scored on yet another sacrifice bunt by Spadaccini. Grimes, who reached first following a base on balls, scored during Speckmann's at bat on a throwing error (4-2).

Saint Peter's managed to create separation in the fifth; tacking on their fifth run on a fielding error by Canisius' shortstop. Matt Mancini (Toms River, N.J./Toms River North) scored the insurance run after getting on base on a fielder's choice. Mancini moved to second on a Golden Griffin error and advanced to third on Smith's third base-hit of the game. 

Moore scored another unearned run for the Peacocks in the seventh to give the visitors a 6-2 advantage. The left fielder doubled to lead off the inning, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Mancini and came home on a Canisius miscue. 

The Golden Griffins's bats soon came to life in seventh; scoring three runs to get within a single marker. Hopf managed to work his way out of the jam and the Peacocks tacked on a final run in the ninth on a ground-rule RBI double by Grimes to score Moore. 

Overall, the Peacocks finished with seven hits, to Canisius' five. The hosts committed five total errors in the game, while Saint Peter's made just one.

Game two featured a different tempo than the first, as both starting pitchers went all the way and allowed a combined nine hits.

Yuhas would out-duel Canisius' starter Devon Stewart however, en route to the third shutout of his career- making him first all-time in the Peacock record books.  

Two runs is all Saint Peter's would need, as Yuhas scattered three hits, one walk and struck out six to improve to 3-1 on the year.

The Peacocks scored their first run in the second on a two-base hit by Smith to bring home Mancini who walked with one out. A sacrifice bunt by William Rawson (Ashburn, Va./Broad Run) in the fourth brought home Moore who doubled to right with one out, and moved to third on a single by Mancini. 

Canisius left a total nine runners on base in the second game. The Golden Griffins left at least one runner on in every inning with the exception of the first and the sixth.

Spaddacini recorded the second multi-hit game of his young career, finishing the contest at 2-for-3. 

Saint Peter's will go for the series sweep tomorrow afternoon, as it takes on the Griffs at 12pm.