Griffs reach MAAC baseball final; Burke keeps UB afloat at MAC - The Buffalo News
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Griffs reach MAAC baseball final; Burke keeps UB afloat at MAC

Make it 18 in a row.

The Canisius Golden Griffins are in position to win their second straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship after defeating Fairfield, 6-2, extending their winning streak to 18.

The Griffs advance to today’s championship round at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood, N.J. Their opponent and game time are still to be determined, but the Griffs only need to win one of two games to capture the conference title and advance to the NCAA Tournament.

The Griffs’ hot offense scored in increments Friday – one run in each of the first four innings. Fairfield chipped away, cutting the lead to 4-2, but Canisius added two runs in the eighth to seal the win. Jimmy Luppens went 2 for 2, driving in one run and scoring two.

Connor Panas went 2 for 4 with an RBI while Ronnie Bermick went 2 for 3 with one RBI and one run scored. Alex Godzak picked up the win, giving up two runs (one earned) on six hits in 6∑ innings.

The Griffs moved to 40-14, the third time in four years they’ve won at least 40 games.

Elsewhere, a sparkling performance from Mike Burke on the mound lifted the University at Buffalo to the Mid-American Conference semifinal round.

Burke threw a complete-game shutout as the Bulls defeated Miami (Ohio) 4-0 at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon, Ohio, Friday afternoon.

The Bulls (26-25) will face Akron at 9:30 today needing to win twice in the double elimination tournament to bounce the Zips and move on to the championship round.

Burke scattered seven hits and struck out four to give him the program’s modern era record of 78 strikeouts in a season. He threw 102 pitches, 75 of them for strikes in an effective outing.

But then again, Burke has played well in elimination games for the Bulls. The senior from Cleveland is 3-0 in win-or-go-home games at the MAC Tournament, allowing just two earned runs in 26 innings pitched.

Last year he threw eight shutout innings against Northern Illinois, and in 2012 he gave up two runs in eight innings to Western Michigan.

The Bulls rode the strength of Burke’s arm, nursing a 1-0 lead it took in the first inning on a sacrifice fly from Tyler Mautner.

In the eighth, Matt Pollock had an RBI double and scored on an error.

They added one in the ninth on a single from Brian Dudek.

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