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Canisius baseball kicks-off MAAC Tournament vs. Rider


NIAGARA FALLS -- The Canisius baseball program heads into the MAAC tournament with the No. 3 seed, finishing the year with an overall record 34-20 and boasting a MAAC mark of 16-8.
• The Griffs enter their 11th-straight tournament without having to leave Western New York, as Canisius and Niagara are co-hosting the conference tournament for the first time in the two programs' existence.
• The tournament will take place May 24-27 at Sal Maglie Stadium.
• The first step of the tournament for Canisius will be No. 6 seeded Rider, as the two teams will meet up in the championships' first game, slated for noon on May 24. 

HOW WE GOT HERE• Canisius entered conference action on April 1, having gone 18-22 in a challenging non-conference slate, hosting Monmouth at the Demske Sports Complex.
• The Griffs took two of the final three games, after the squad dropped the home opener.
• However the Red Foxes put up a road block in the Golden Griffin's season, sweeping Canisius to put the Blue and Gold in a 2-4 conference record hole.
• Canisius responded, reeling off six-straight series wins, defeating Siena (2-1), Rider (3-0), Quinnipiac (2-1), Iona (3-0), Manhattan (2-1) and Niagara (2-1) to launch up the standings to finish in 3rd place.  

ALL-CONFERENCE ACCOLADES• Looking back on the season Canisius failed to win just one series during the conference season and when the conference announced the all-league and major awards, Canisius was well-represented.
• Highlighting Canisius' honorees is senior Jake Lumley who was named the 2017 MAAC Player of the Year.
• Lumley finished the year leading the conference in overall hits (77), was third in batting average (.358), third in runs scored (44), and sixth in stolen bases (15).
• On the All-MAAC first team, Lumley was joined by Liam Wilson.
• Wilson also had a strong campaign for the Blue and Gold, finishing second behind Lumley in hits (69), seventh in runs scored (39), fourth in doubles (15), and third in triples (3).
• J.P. Stevenson joined the duo with an All-MAAC Second Team award, finishing the year tied for the league lead in wins with 9, as well as leading the MAAC in innings pitched (86.2), and eighth in strikeouts (63).

MCRAE REACHES 400• Head Coach Mike McRae is used to knocking down milestones, but he crossed another one off his list in 2017, surpassing the 400-win plateau, coming into the tournament with 404 wins at Canisius.
• McRae has 469 wins total for his career and boasts an overall win percentage .527.
• At Canisius he has a win percentage of .537 and is a four-time MAAC Coach of the year having earned the honor three times as a Golden Griffin and once at Niagara. 

CANISIUS BASEBALL GOES STREAKING• Canisius continues to be a power in the conference, and continues to extend streaks in the process.
• With its tournament berth this season, Canisius advances to its 11th-straight tournament, the longest such streak in the conference.
• With its overall record of 34-30, Canisius has now gone six straight seasons having posted 30-or-more wins.
• Canisius is the only school in the MAAC to accomplish six-straight seasons with 30-or-more wins.
• Canisius also posted a 16-8 MAAC mark for the third-straight season and the fourth time in six campaigns.
• With Jake Lumley's MAAC Player of the Year award, Canisius has now tallied at least one of the league's major awards for 11-straight seasons, dating back to the 2007 season. 

STOPPER OF THE YEAR WATCHLIST• When Iannick Remillard graduated from Canisius last summer having set the Canisius saves record and having won the 2016 MAAC Reliever of the Year, Canisius knew the heir apparent was going to have large shoes to fill.
• Tyler Smith has filled in admirably this season, having posted a career-year.
• Smith currently leads the league in saves with 10, setting a new career-high in the process.
• Aside for being the team's best stopper, Smith has a sparkling 0.31 ERA.
• Smith has garnered national acclaim as he was named to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Wathlist earlier in the season. 

THE MAAC RANK AND FILE• At the end of the season Canisius was third-best team according to standing, but Canisius has been near the top in many of the leagues top categories. Here is where Canisius fills in the MAAC rankings.
• The Griffs are second in the conference in batting average with a team mark of .276.
• The Blue and Gold enter this tournament having the third-best team ERA with a mark of 4.01 as a staff.
• Canisius is second in the league in hits, behind Fairfield, with 483 total knocks.
• Blue and Gold pitchers have also been among the league best with a mark of hits allowed per nine innings, yielding just 8.46 

WINNING AT THE RIGHT TIME• Canisius enters its 11th-straight MAAC tournament, the longest such streak in the conference and with that, the Blue and Gold have racked up those tournaments wins, including two conference titles.
• Since the streak started in the 2007 tournament, the Blue and Gold have gone 22-17, playing in the most tournament games of any MAAC foe in that time.
• The 22 wins is also the most of any team during that time, with rival Siena coming in with 16 tournament wins since 2007.
• Manhattan who returns to the tournament after a brief hiatus in 2015, is third in that span with 13.
• During its 11-year run, the Blue and Gold have a .569 winning percentage, highest in the MAAC and have one of the only two positive win differentials during the stretch. 

MLB LIKES DRAFTING GRIFFS • The Griffs have begun to make a name for themselves when it comes to the Major League Baseball draft.
• Over the last eight years Canisius has had 11 players drafted by players, including three following the 2015 season
• The 2015 draft marked the second time in MAAC history that three players from a conference program had been drafted in the first 13 rounds of a draft.
• Connor Panas and Devon Stewart were both selected in the ninth round by the Blue Jays and Indians respectively, while the Athletics took Brett Sidall in the 13th round
• Last team to accomplish that feat was the Niagara Purple Eagles in 2004. Coincidentally that team was coached by none other than current Canisius skipper, Mike McRae.