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Canisius baseball one win away from earning Golden ticket to NCAAs


One win is all Canisius College baseball needs to earn a playoff championship and punch its ticket to the NCAA Tournament.

The Golden Griffins advanced to Saturday's championship round of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament by defeating top-seeded Monmouth, 7-4, in a winner's bracket contest Friday afternoon at Richmond County Bank Stadium on Staten Island.

John Conti's two-out, two-run single in the eighth inning broke a 4-4 tie. That helped make a winner out of reliever Tyler Smith, who threw 2.1 innings of scoreless relief.

Canisius (34-20) faces the survivor of Friday night's elimination-bracket contest between Monmouth and Quinnipiac at noon. Should Canisius lose that game, there would be a winner-take-all contest 30 minutes after that one.

This is the seventh time in 10 years the Griffs will appear in the championship round. It's their first since winning the crown in 2015.

Canisius scored four runs in the top of the eighth to overcome a 4-3 deficit. Canice Ejoh drove in the tying run earlier in the inning with a sacrifice fly that scored Ryan Stekl. Conti followed with his two-run single and later scored on Christ Conley's single.

Mark McKenna's RBI triple gave Canisius a 1-0 lead in the top of the first but the Hawks moved ahead 3-1 by the bottom of the third with two of those runs coming via two-run homer from Shaine Hughes. Canisius tied it in the fifth on RBI single from Stekl and then a double steal in which Stekl swiped second and McKenna stole home.

Six of Canisius' runs Friday came with two outs.

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