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Canisius baseball no match for Minnesota in NCAA Tourney opener

The first ever meeting between Canisius and the Minnesota Golden Gophers in baseball was one to forget for the Golden Griffins.

Minnesota scored five times in the second inning to take control and did not let up en route to beating Canisius, 10-1, Friday night in an NCAA Tournament contest at Siebert Field in Minneapolis.

The defeat means the Griffs must win today’s loser’s bracket contest against Gonzaga at 2 p.m. in order to extend their season. Gonzaga dropped a 6-5 decision to UCLA, which faces the Golden Gophers at 8 p.m. today in a winner’s bracket clash.

Both the Golden Griffins and Gophers entered Friday night’s contest on winning streaks. Minnesota (42-13) extended its run to 10 straight wins by notching seven of its 14 hits in the second and third innings.

The second inning was kind of a death-by-paper-cut kind of inning for the Griffs (35-21), who saw their eight-game winning streak end. The first three Gophers reached safely to open the second. Micah Coffey then scored on a wild pitch from starter J.P. Stevenson. Toby Hanson plated another run with a double as four different players knocked in a run.

Minnesota scored all of its runs from the second through the fifth innings. Terrin Vavra went 3 for 5 with three RBIs for the winners.

Canisius tried to fight back with John Conti (2 for 4) leading off the third with a single and scoring on Christ Conley’s double. Gophers starter Reggie Meyer prevented the big inning by retiring the next three hitters in order. He went eight innings, scattering five hits with six strikeouts.

The Griffs collected seven hits as they now are 0-5 all-time in NCAA Tournament games. Stevenson took the loss as he yielded nine hits and three earned runs in 3∑ innings.

Friday’s NCAA Tournament regional game wasn’t a first for several Griffs. The seniors who were on the team back during Canisius’ last NCAA appearance in 2015 included Nick Capitano, Conti, Cyrus Senior, Tyler Smith, Ryan Stekl and Stevenson.

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