The Canisius baseball team retruns to the Demske Sports Complex for its final six Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference games of the 2013 season, starting with this weekend’s three-game series against rival Niagara.
Canisius enters the weekend with a 11-7 record in conference play, sitting in a tie with Siena College for third place in the MAAC standings.
Canisius needs three wins in its final six MAAC games to clinch a spot in the MAAC Championship for the seventh consecutive season.
Canisius is 24-9 in road games this season after winning two road games at Siena last weekend. The Griffs enter the weekend first in the country with the 24 road wins - three more than any other team at the Division I level.
Since starting the season 4-4, Canisius is 30-9 in its last 39 games.
Canisius is 34-12 in MAAC series during the past six seasons, including 14 three-game sweeps and one two-game sweep.
Canisius has won 20 of its last 25 home conference series and 36 of its last 48 MAAC home games.
Junior Jesse Kelso was named to the Capital One Academic All-District First Team last week, the eighth Golden Griffin to earn All-District honors in the last five seasons. Kelso is now eligible to be named a Capital One Academic-All American later this month.
Canisius leads the MAAC in eight offensive categories, including batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and runs per game.
The Canisius pitching staff leads the MAAC in strikeouts per nine innings (6.9) and hits allowed per nine innings and is second in ERA (3.87).
Canisius set a program record with an 11-game winning streak, ranging from April 10 to April 27. The Griffs saw that winning streak come to an end in an 11-6 loss to Marist in 10 innings on April 28.
Canisius has had four winning streaks of five games or longer this season. The Griffs have had 15 winning streaks of five or more games since 2008, the highest total in the conference.
Three Canisius pitchers combined to throw the program’s first nine-inning no-hitter at the Division I level in an 8-0 win at Iona on March 29.
Canisius has 13 Canadians on its roster, the most at the NCAA Division I level.
BATTLE OF THE BRIDGE
This matchup for Canisius and Niagara is the final meeting between the teams in any sport for the 2012-13 athletic season.
Canisius has clinched the 2012-13 Battle of the Bridge competition, winning the Canal Cup for the third consecutive season and for the fifth time in the last six seasons.
Canisius clinched the competition with a split of the April 18 softball doubleheader between the teams. Canisius owns a 19-12 lead in the points competition.
The Battle of the Bridge is an all-sports competition between the schools. Points are awarded for all regular-season, conference match-ups between the schools, except for cross country, swimming and diving and golf where the points are awarded based on results in the MAAC Championship.
SERIES HISTORY VS. NIAGARA
Niagara leads the all-time series 76-75 between the teams. The Purple Eagles are the most-common opponent in program history.
Canisius has won the last six MAAC series between the teams.
In the last six seasons, the Griffs have won 18 of the 22 meetings.
The last time Canisius had a lead in the series was on April 16, 2001, when a 9-8 win gave Canisius a 56-55 lead in the series with the Purple Eagles.
Niagara enters the series with a 16-32 overall record and 9-12 record in conference play. The Purple Eagles split a doubleheader with Buffalo on Tuesday.
Preseason MAAC Player of the Year Ryan McCauley leads the team with a .340 batting average, 34 runs scored, 13 doubles, five homers, 27 walks and a .453 on-base percentage.
Niagara is hitting .253 as a team and is averaging 4.6 runs per game. The Purple Eagles have a 7.26 team ERA and .945 team fielding percentage.
Niagara has allowed 121 stolen bases and has hit 103 batters this season.
Kyle Olver has thrown a team-high 81 innings, with a 5.44 ERA and 62 strikeouts. Geoff Soja has a 4.14 ERA in 22 appearances, with six saves and 30 strikeouts in 37 innings.
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