TROY, N.Y. - Sophomore Jon Fitzsimmons was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Relief Pitcher of the Year while freshman Devon Stewart was named the MAAC Rookie of the Year at the conference's award banquet held at Joe Bruno Stadium on Wednesday night. Senior Drew Pettit and sophomore Garrett Cortright each earned All-MAAC Second-Team honors.
Fitzsimmons becomes the first player in program history to be named the MAAC Relief Pitcher of the Year, first awarded in 2004. In 22 appearances, Fitzsimmons has 11 saves and is 2-1 with a 0.82 earned run average. The 6-foot-2 righthander is averaging 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings. Fitzsimmons broke the program's single-season and career records for saves, ranks 26th nationally in the category and is tied for fourth all-time in MAAC single-season history. In MAAC play, the London, Ontario native did not allow a hit or a run in nine appearances (8.2 innings).
Stewart becomes the third Golden Griffin under eighth-year coach Mike McRae in program history to win the award after Shane Davis (2008) and Ian Choy (2007) won the award in back-to-back years. Stewart led Canisius with five wins in conference play and has a 3.95 earned run average in 14 starts on the season. The 6-foot-2 righthander led all MAAC freshman starting pitchers (with at least eight starts) in ERA, innings pitched (86.2), starts (14) and strikeouts (53). He also was one of seven MAAC pitchers, and the only freshman, to make 14 starts in 2012.
Pettit earns All-MAAC Second-Team honors after being named to the Preseason All-MAAC Team prior to the season. Pettit appeared in a team-high 54 games this season, hitting .311 with a team-best 39 RBI - a total that tied for fifth in the conference. Cortright made 14 appearances (13 starts) during his sophomore season and went 6-6 with a 3.80 ERA. The 6-foot-5 righthander was second in the MAAC with his 69 strikeouts. His 2.77 ERA in conference play was tops in the MAAC among starting pitchers.
Five Golden Griffins earned MAAC All-Academic Team honors - sophomore Ryan Coppinger, Fitzsimmons, junior Chris Gruarin, Pettit and senior Alex Tufts. To earn All-Academic Team honors, a student-athlete needs a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.2 and must have completed two semesters at the institution.
No. 2 seed Canisius opens play in the MAAC Championship against No. 3 seed Fairfield University on Thursday evening. First pitch in Troy, N.Y. is set for 7 p.m. A free audio broadcast is available through GoGriffs.com while a pay-per-view video broadcast is available on MAAC.TV.