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NU's Brash highlights All-MAAC selections


NIAGARA UNIV -- Freshman pitcher Matthew Brash was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Baseball Rookie of the Year, announced at the annual awards banquet on Tuesday. Junior outfielder Tanner Kirwer and redshirt-junior pitcher Cody Eckerson were named to the All-MAAC First Team and sophomore shortstop Greg Cullen and redshirt-junior outfielder Trevor McCauley were selected to the All-MAAC Second Team.

Brash is the fourth player in Niagara history to be named MAAC Rookie of the Year and is the first since 2004 (James Avery). Brash, who finished the season 5-1, appeared in 17 games and started 10. He led the Niagara pitching staff in innings pitched with 77.1, struck out 63 batters and had two saves. He finished the season with an ERA of 2.79, which is the fifth-best in Purple Eagles pitching history. Brash was honored by the MAAC earlier this season, earning the MAAC Rookie of the Week Award on March 8 after Niagara's 9-0 shutout victory over the La Salle Explorers. Brash fanned seven and allowed only one hit in 6.0 innings pitched.

Kirwer led Niagara this season in hits (65), runs (47), doubles (20) and stolen bases (23). He also recorded 29 RBI and finished the season batting .335 and with a nearly perfect fielding percentage of .992. Kirwer led the MAAC in runs and stolen bases, and was second in the MAAC in doubles. His 20 doubles tie him for second-most in a single season in Niagara baseball history. Kirwer has been selected to an All-MAAC team in all three of his seasons at Niagara; he was named to the second team in both 2015 and 2016.

Eckerson (6-2) had an impressive season on the mound for the Purple and White. He fanned 50 batters in 55.0 innings pitched and his single-season ERA of 2.29, which led the starting rotation for the Purple Eagles, is tied for best in program history. Eckerson allowed the fewest runs in the MAAC with 21, the fewest doubles with two and was the only MAAC starting pitcher to allow zero homeruns for the entirety of the season. He finished the season second in the MAAC in earned runs allowed (14), hits allowed (45) and ERA, while holding his opponents to a .218 batting average, which was the third-best in the conference.

Cullen batted a career-best .341 in 2017, as well as, recording 62 hits, 30 runs scored and a career-high 33 RBI. Cullen led the Purple Eagles in triples with three. In the field, he recorded 72 putouts and finished the season with .929 fielding percentage.

McCauley finished the season batting a career-best .367, which led both the Purple Eagles and the MAAC. He set career-highs in hits with 55, runs scored with 24, doubles with 14 and RBI with 29. He hit two homeruns this season, including his first career homerun. McCauley was named MAAC Player of the Week on May 16, after recording seven RBI, nine hits, six runs scored and a .600 batting average against Buffalo and Siena.

In addition to All-MAAC teams, the MAAC also announced the 2017 MAAC All-Academic Team, which included Niagara's Joel Brophy, Cody Eckerson, Julian Gallup, Zachary Kolodziejski, Trevor McCauley, Matt McCuen, Jordan Parranto, Geoff Seto and Nigel Stearns.

To be eligible for the MAAC All-Academic Team, a student-athlete must complete two semesters at his or her institution and have a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 or higher on a 4.0 scale.