The Golden Griffins extend their winning streak to 12 games, which is the longest winning streak in program history and is the second-longest active winning streak in the country.
The combination of the Canisius win along with a victory by Quinnipiac has locked up a first-round bye for the Golden Griffins in the six-team 2014 MAAC Championship (May 21-25 at Lakewood, N.J.). The Griffs now need a combination of two Canisius wins and Siena losses to lock up the No. 1 seed and outright regular-season title.
Canisius collected 18 hits in the game, with freshman Christ Conley recording a career-high four hits to go along with two runs scored and three RBI. Senior Jose Torralba and junior Jesse Puscheck each went 3-for-4 with three RBI as Torralba also scored three runs.
After the Griffs scored a run in the top of the first, Niagara (16-30, 8-14 MAAC) took its only lead of the day by scoring two runs in the bottom of the first. Canisius then scored 14 consecutive runs, starting with three unearned runs in the second. Senior Shane Zimmer scored on a wild pitch in the third, which included an RBI groundout from Torralba and RBI single from Puscheck.
Canisius broke the game open in the fourth with an RBI single from Conley, two-RBI single from Torralba and another RBI single from Puscheck to make it 11-2. The Griffs added four runs in the sixth on an RBI double from Puscheck, sacrifice fly from junior Connor Panas and two-RBI double from Conley to put the Griffs up by 13 runs.
Junior Devon Stewart (5-5) went six innings, and allowed two runs on four hits. Of the 18 outs recorded by Stewart, 13 were of the ground-ball variety. Freshmen Zachary Trumpler and Zachary Sloan along with junior Tyler Vavra each threw an inning of relief.
Canisius has four home games remaining on its schedule, starting with a non-conference game on Tuesday against Niagara at the Demske Sports Complex with first pitch set for 2 p.m. The Griffs will wrap up the MAAC schedule against red-hot Monmouth, who has won 10-consecutive games. That series starts on Thursday, with first pitch for the doubleheader set for noon.
Notes: Canisius finishes the regular season with 22 road wins… The Griffs have now won 11 consecutive games over the Purple Eagles… Canisius scored double-digit runs for the 13th time this season… Junior Sean Ritter, sophomore Auston Ingram and freshman Kyle Collins each made pinch-hit appearances for the Griffs in the ninth inning… Stewart went six or more innings for the eighth time in the last nine starts… The 17 MAAC wins are the third-most in program history, trailing the 2008 and 2010 teams that each won 19 conference games. Both of those teams won the MAAC regular-season title.