Fairfield men’s baseball (12-12) took the final game of a three-game series 4-3 on Sunday afternoon against the Canisius Golden Griffins (19-10), and did it playing small ball.

Freshman Eric Fajardo came in to pinch run in the bottom of the eighth with no outs for the Stags. After stealing third on a ball that scooted away from Canisius’s catcher Chris Conley, Fairfield’s Sal Ciccone ‘15 laid down a sacrifice bunt, allowing Fajardo to score to complete the safety squeeze.

“I had a feeling I was going to get in today, but I wasn’t sure if I would get into the right situation, if the team would get into the right situation,” said Fajardo of what he believes to be the biggest moment of his freshman career thus far.

Ciccone, now in his third year with the Stags, said his focus was on getting the bunt down during the pressure situation.

“I’ve done it a ton of times in the past, as a freshman I had some trouble … but I was confident today, and I got it down … it was exciting,” said Ciccone.

The Stags scored early, but were held off the scoreboard for most of the game, in the back-and-forth affair that went nine.

“We didn’t hit a lot until a little bit later … but our pitching held us in there,” said Head Coach Bill Currier.

Junior EJ Ashworth was two outs away from a quality start, but was pulled after 5 1/3 innings, allowing just four hits and two runs in that span. Juniors Tucker Panciera and Jeremy Soule came in relief of Ashworth, picking up three strikeouts and the save, respectively.

Fairfield was patient at the plate Sunday, getting their leadoff man aboard in each of the first four innings, but “failed sacrifice attempts” allowed Canisius to stay in the game, according to Currier.

The Stags went down a run in the top of the seventh after a wild pitch allowed Canisius second baseman Anthony Massicci to reach third after being walked to start the inning. An infield single by Canisius third baseman Connor Panas plated the go-ahead run for the Griffins, a seemingly insurmountable lead at that point.

Down to their final six outs, Fairfield opened up the eighth hot with back-to-back doubles; the first was by left-fielder Jack Giannini ‘13 and the second was off the bat of second baseman Rob LoPinto ‘14. LoPinto’s RBI double tied the game late.

“With a guy on second and no outs, I was just looking to go the other way and get the man over,” said LoPinto, “I just happened to find the hole.”

With the win Sunday, Fairfield handed the 2013 MAAC champions their first conference series loss of the season.

“To take a series out of [Canisius], I think certainly sends a good shock to the league,” said Currier. “Jesus, Fairfield’s gotten a lot better.”

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