Niagara Gazette

Niagara U.

May 21, 2010

Canisius eliminates Niagara with 11-4 decision

NIAGARA FALLS — Only Canisius will bear the standard of the Niagara Frontier to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference baseball championships next weekend.

For the second consecutive year, the Golden Griffins grounded the Purple Eagles’ playoff flight plan on the last day of the season, winning 11-4 before a big Senior Day crowd at Sal Maglie Stadium.

Canisius clung to a two-run lead before a six-run, two-hit ninth, and coach Mike McRae’s regular-season champions expressed plenty of respect for Niagara.

“Niagara was a team that hustled and gave us a great game,” McRae said. “Honestly, they’re not the most talented team around, but they’ve all bought into (Coach Rob) McCoy’s system and they never let up. They know what they need to do and they’ll probably do it.”

Niagara clung to a shred of hope when Manhattan scored five unanswered runs to outlast Siena, 19-18, but Rider’s doubleheader sweep of last-place Iona would send the Purple Eagles packing with a fifth-place finish, 13-11 in the league, 17-36 overall.

Canisius broke as if to blow the Eagles away. MAAC RBI leader Steve McQuail doubled home a run in the first, another scored on a wild throw while Perry Silverman and Niagara County Community College product Sean Jamieson each doubled the lead up to 4-0 after only five outs.

Jason Cramer scooted home on a wild pitch to break the Eagles’ “egg” in the second and Sean Wagner, half of Niagara’s fabled “Defiance Duo,” doubled home two runs in the sixth, cutting a deficit to 5-3.

Senior Dennis Chachko took a hitless relief stint into the ninth, then nicked two consecutive Griffs and left the game to considerable applause. Then singles by Brian Burton and Brad Medici chased home three runs and a succession of misplays ran the visitors’ lead to 11-3.

Ryan McCauley singled home a final run in the ninth as the Eagles bowed out fighting.

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