TRENTON, N.J. - Siena senior co-captain Justin Brantley hit Jose Torralba of Canisius with a pitch with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Griffins a 12-11 victory in the championship game of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference baseball tournament Sunday at Arm & Hammer Park.
The Saints (27-30) had rallied from a 10-3 deficit in the seventh, tying the game on a dramatic two-out, two-run homer run by Larry Balkwill in the top of the ninth inning.
“Obviously, a really tough loss will take some time to get over,” said veteran Siena coach Tony Rossi. “I’m really proud of the way we battled, though. The kids never gave up.”
After Canisius (42-15) opened up a 10-3 lead, Siena sent 11 men to the plate in the seventh to pull within a run. Siena scored six runs on six hits — all singles — and an error.
Connor Panas of Canisius gave the Griffins an 11-9 lead in the bottom of the seventh with an RBI single, but Brantley got Mike Kirsche to ground into an inning-ending double play.
In the top of the ninth, Andres Ortiz worked a one-out walk for the Saints, but MAAC Relief Pitcher of the Year Jon Fitzsimmons struck out MAAC Player of the Year Mike Fish to move the Griffins within an out of the title.
But Balkwill then hit a towering blast off the auxiliary scoreboard in left-center field to tie the score.
Brantley walked Ryan Coppinger to open the bottom of the ninth, but Jimmy Luppens then hit into a double play. But a walk to Brooklyn Foster, a single by Panas and a walk to tournament MVP Jesse Puscheck, who hit a two-run homer in the third inning, loaded the bases for Torralba, who was hit on the left shoulder by a 2-2 fastball.
Panas went 3-for-5 with three RBI, and Torralba finished 3-for-4 with three RBI to lead Canisius’s offense.
Balkwill, Mike Allen and Ortiz represented Siena on the all-tournament team. Allen had a huge weekend, going 4-for-4 in the championship game to finish 11-for-16 with seven RBI for the tournament. Allen and Balkwill both drove in three runs in the championship game.
Siena 000 030 602 — 11 16 2
Canisius 113 005 101 — 12 13 2
Morales, Goossens (1), Quintana (6), Meindl (7), Brantley (8) and Balkwill; Pierce, Stolzenburg (7), Rubenstein (7), Fitzsimmons (7) and Foster.
Track and field
SUNY-Brockport senior Nicole Jones (Galway) ended her collegiate career by earning All-America honors Saturday at the Division III national championships at the Un-iversity of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
Jones finished eighth in the shot put to make the All-America list. On her third attempt, she got off a throw of 44-111⁄2, which broke the Brockport record by nearly three inches.
UAlbany sophomore Alexander Bowen earned a spot in the NCAA Division I championships, which begin June 5 in Eugene, Ore., by tying for first in the high jump Saturday in the East preliminary round in Greensboro, N.C. Bowen cleared all of his jumps, ending with a 7-11⁄2, the height needed to qualify for the NCAAs.
Bowen will join teammate Alfonso Scannapieco at the Division I nationals. Scannapiceo qualified in the pole with a height of 17-23⁄4 on Thursday.