The University at Buffalo put itself in position to win its first Mid-American Conference championship and Canisius clinched a place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championships Sunday in college baseball.
UB rode the hot bat of senior Jason Kanzler to its eighth straight MAC series victory, beating Miami (Ohio), 12-0, in Oxford, Ohio. Kanzler drove in five runs against the RedHawks (23-27, 12-12), and Mike Burke pitched seven shutout innings to help the Bulls (29-20, 17-6 MAC) carry their overall lead in the MAC standings into the final series of the regular season at Bowling Green (18-26, 12-12) starting Thursday. Second-place Kent State (20-21, 17-7) will finish with conference play in a three-game series at Akron (15-32, 10-12) also starting Thursday.
Kanzler, Buffalo’s senior center fielder, capped a 2-for-4 performance with a three-run home run in the top of the third. It was his 10th homer of the season and 19th of his career. He also stole his 19th base of the season, most for a UB player since the sport was reinstated at the university in 1999.
Meanwhile at the Demske Complex, Canisius completed its three-game sweep of Niagara, 14-6. With the win, the Golden Griffins (37-13 overall) improved to 14-7 in the MAAC and clinched a spot in the conference playoffs for the seventh consecutive season.
The four-team MAAC tournament is May 23-26 at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton, N.J. Canisius never has won the championship but has finished second in three of the last four seasons, including 2012.
Six Golden Griffins had multi-hit games, with sophomore Connor Panas going 3 for 5 with three runs scored, two RBIs and his first home run of the season. Sophomore Mike Krische and junior Jesse Kelso each went 3 for 4 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Junior Jimmy Luppens was 3 for 4 with two RBIs while junior Jose Torralba was 2 for 4 with three runs scored, two RBIs and a triple. Sophomore Mike Booth went 2 for 5 with three RBIs.
Niagara (16-34, 9-14 MAAC) took advantage of two walks and two infield hits in the first inning for a 3-0 lead. NU led, 5-2, before the Griffs scored four times in the bottom of the third to take the lead for good.
Canisius will play its final road game of the regular season on Tuesday, when the Golden Griffins take on Youngstown State.