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College Roundup: Niagara clinches MAAC playoff berth

Niagara is headed to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament thanks to a 3-1 win over the Manhattan Jaspers at Bobo Field Saturday afternoon.

The Purple Eagles clinched the sixth and final spot in the tournament and will make their first MAAC post-season appearance since 2006.

Greg Cullen, the nation’s leader in batting average and on-base perentage, drove in two runs on two hits, including a double in the first to open the scoring. Matthew Brash tied his career high, striking out eight batters in 8 2/3 innings. He allowed four hits and one unearned run in the ninth inning. Tyler Howard closed out the game to earn his third save of the season.

Niagara improved to 24-25 overall, tied for the sixth-most wins in program history. At 13-11, it’s the most MAAC wins for the Purple Eagles since 2010.

Niagara, the No. 6 seed, now faces rival and No. 3 seed Canisius in the first game of the double-elimination MAAC tournament in Staten Island. The teams will meet at noon on Wednesday.

The Golden Griffins finished 16-8 in the conference, their fourth straight season with 16 league wins, and are 31-20 overall.

Because of a quirk in the MAAC baseball schedule, Canisius and Niagara played three times but as non-conference meetings. Canisius won the first meeting, 17-10, at Demeske Sports Complex on April 25. Niagara swept a series May 1-2 at Bobo Field winning 3-2 and 9-5.

Albany advances to semis

East Amherst native Connor Fields had three assists to help Albany to a 15-13 win over Denver in the NCAA Men’s Division I Lacrosse quarterfinals at James Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y.

The win advances Albany to the national semifinal for the first time where the second-seeded Great Danes will face No. 3 Yale on May 26 at Gillette Stadium in Boston.

The Great Danes jumped out to 3-0 lead, forcing Denver to call a time-out. Denver came back, but Albany took a 15-11 lead with 2:03 left to play and the Pioneers couldn’t complete the comeback.

Fields, who played at Bishop Timon-St. Jude, is Albany’s all-time goal-scoring leader with 196 tallies in his four-year career.

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