The Fairfield University baseball team defeated Metro Atlantic Athletic Association foes, the Canisius Golden Griffins, this past weekend in a three-game series. Winning two games out of three, the Stags moved their record to 12-16 overall and 5-1 in conference play. Following a three-game sweep of the Iona Gaels, the Stags have been stirring up a hot streak, going undefeated within conference play until game two against the Golden Griffins. 

Game One

Pitching put together a strong front for the Friday opening to the series. Left-handed starting pitcher Blake Helmstetter ‘24 started off with some of his best stuff, collecting back-to-back strikeouts in the first inning and totaling four punchouts within the first three innings. 

Helmstetter’s first two scoreless innings saw the pitcher patiently awaiting run support, and the Stags delivered. By the bottom of the second, Payten Wawruck ‘26 was settled at first base following a single. With two outs on the board, left fielder Matt Lussier ‘27 stepped up to the plate and worked his way to a 3-2 count before smashing one just left of the right-field foul pole, earning two runs and what would be his first career home run. 

Scoring resumed for the Stags in the fourth when graduate student second baseman Zach Selinger hit a single and kept his own momentum going by stealing second after a classic read on a pitch in the dirt. Right fielder Matt Bucciero ‘26 then sent a ball out to right field and earned himself an RBI triple after some hustle. Lussier hit one up to right field but it was caught, the Golden Griffins’ form of revenge for the triple, but Bucciero got the last laugh while reaching home plate on the sacrifice fly. The Stags remained with those four runs for the rest of the game, despite teasing more tallies with two men on base in the bottom of the sixth. 

The Golden Griffins only managed to grab one run at the top of the ninth. Still, the Stags pitching evaded the possibility of a tying run being scored thanks to RHP Peter Ostensen ‘24 punching out two back-to-back and third baseman Dean Ferrara ‘25 making a textbook play at third to end the game. 

Noteworthy plays from the Stags were scattered throughout the game, yet the overarching theme was the fortitude of pitching that the Stags have garnered. Piecing together a final line of 6 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 3 BB and 6 K, Helmstetter tossed his 100th pitch in the sixth to get out of a bases-loaded threat with a fly ball. Ostensen put up a line of 3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB. Together, both pitchers managed to strand 13 runners. 

According to the game’s official report, head coach Bill Currier said, “I thought our pitchers did well pitching with people on base with two outs.”

 He continued on the pitching, “We didn’t play the best defense but our pitchers overcame that and it was nice to see them picking up the infielders.”

Game Two

Saturday afternoon’s continuation of the series saw a rockier start for the Stags. The first two innings were a struggle on both defensive and offensive ends, with four stolen bases in the second inning alone; half of the 12 runs scored in total by the Golden Griffins came in this window.

Trying to muster up a response to the six runs scored, the Stags were caught in a loop of leaving one man stranded. The cycle was broken in the bottom of the third when shortstop Luke Nomura ‘26 took advantage of four-straight misses to the strike zone and walked, eventually stealing second and then coming home after Ferrara doubled down the left field line. 

Canisius did not hesitate to put up a fight. They scraped together singles and their only baserunner stole his way to third, eventually scoring on a ground-out to make it 1-7.

The Stags once again responded, this time a little bit quicker, by capitalizing on shaky defense. Wawruck made his way around the bases and was brought home after an error. 

Back-to-back scoring between both teams continued into the fifth inning. Canisius added another run to their tally on an error, the Stags scored two more thanks to an RBI single from Wawruck and an error that brought Bergevin and Bucciero home.

The score remained 4-8, despite a scoring threat from Fairfield in the bottom of the ninth that culminated with a ground out to strand two. 

Left-handed starting pitcher Bowen Baker ‘24 managed to strike out five during his four active innings, earning a final line of 5 IP, 6 H, 7 ER, 4 BB and 5 K. Graduate student left-handed reliever Chris Difore entered the game in the fifth inning and pieced together a line of 5 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 1 BB and 3 K.

Game Three

Starting right-handed pitcher Colin McVeigh ‘24 put together yet another commanding performance to close the series out and pick up a series win. Utilizing a repertoire of three pitches, the righty struck out a career-high 14 batters and gave up just one run through eight innings. 

Run support was bountiful, and the bottom of the third opened up the scoring for the Stags with a sacrifice fly from outfielder Paul Catalano ‘24 that brought Nomura home. 

The Stags attacked again in the fourth inning, scoring four runs in total. Bucciero picked up an RBI double, Nomura stole second after a single and Catalano brought the crowd home with a 2 RBI double.

It was 5-0 heading into the fifth, and the Stags kept the scoring streak going with an RBI single from Bucciero. The sixth featured a home run from Lussier past the right field fence to make it 7-0. 

The Golden Griffins got a single run in the top of the seventh, off a RBI groundout, to make it 7-1, which it remained through the final out. 

McVeigh’s final line was 8 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB and 14 K, all through 95 pitches. Right-handed reliever graduate student Jack Erbeck pieced together a ninth inning with just one hit, with a final line of 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB and 0 K.

Currier commended McVeigh’s outing, saying, “He threw a very good game and was efficient. He had three pitches going and he certainly commanded his pitches well.” 

The offense earned credit as well, “I thought we had some key hits to score some runs and it wasn’t an easy day to hit with the wind coming in. We did a good job making some barrel contact today.”

The Stags return to action in a midweek standing leading up to this weekend’s series against MAAC opponents Saint Peter’s. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Friday. 

About The Author

- Freshman | Assistant Sports Editor | Political Science Major -

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