The defending champions defended their home turf in the Georgetown Cup opener.
Chris Falk pitched a complete game shutout and Donald Kilian drove in two runs Wednesday as St. Joe’s beat Canisius, 3-0, in the first game of the Monsignor Martin Association best-of-three championship series.
The game was scheduled to be played at Coca-Cola Field on Tuesday, but was postponed a day due to rain and moved to St. Joe’s Robert T. Scott Athletic Complex because the downtown diamond was still soaked Wednesday morning. Game Two of the series will be played at 4 p.m. today at Coca-Cola Field, and the deciding game, if necessary, is set for 3 p.m. Saturday.
“No matter where we play, we knew we’re going to come out and play the way we needed to play,” Kilian said. “It was nice to be on our home turf. We have the sign saying ‘This Is Our Turf,’ so it’s nice to be out here.”
Falk, a junior who got the clinching victory in last year’s Georgetown Cup, retired the first 11 batters Wednesday and gave up just two hits and two walks the rest of the way. He struck out seven.
“I was pumped,” Falk said. “I had the fastball, felt like I was throwing hard, curve ball was working well. I felt like I was on top of my game. Best game I threw all year.”
“Good time for it,” St. Joe’s coach Paul Nasca said. “He was sharp today early on and he just carried it through.”
After two scoreless, hitless innings, the Marauders (18-7) built a two-run lead in the bottom of the third. Thomas Brummer drew a walk and Jared Baldinelli and Jacob Kopacz legged out bunt singles to load the bases. Kilian drove in Brummer for the first run, and Baldinelli scored on a passed ball.
In the fifth inning, Kilian, the Marauders’ 6-foot-3, 225-pound cleanup hitter, lined a double to dead center that scored Brummer.
“Donny came up big,” Nasca said. “He’s been up here three years hitting in the middle of the order and when you’ve got to dial up a big hit, it’s nice to go to a guy who has been there before.”
Brendan Kaplewicz and Mike Schake had the lone hits for the Crusaders (17-7).
“We’ve been swinging the bats pretty well,” Canisius coach Bryan Tenney said. “In these kinds of games, it’s always going to be low scoring. You get timely hits and take advantage of the team’s mistakes and you create stuff. Today, we couldn’t get anything going. Falk did a great job. I give him all the credit in the world.”
Canisius will send sophomore Richard Miller out on the mound today to face St. Joe’s ace Matt Matre. The Crusaders will try to draw confidence from the fact that they swept the regular season series with the Marauders.
“We told them it’s a three-game series. You’ve got to win twice. I didn’t say it necessarily had to be games one and two,” Tenney said. “They have that inner drive that they will come ready to play. We’re going to give it everything we got and leave it all out on the field.”
The Marauders “know they are playing a team that beat them twice this year,” Nasca said, “and they know it’s a team that can come back and beat us twice in a row. We’ve still got to win one more game. Nothing is accomplished.”