Tom Murphy became the first University at Buffalo baseball player to be honored as the Mid-American Conference's Player of the Year.
Murphy won the league's batting title (.384) and ranked among the top five of the conference in home runs (10), on-base percentage (.446) and slugging percentage (.626). His slugging percentage was the fourth-best single-season mark in UB history while his RBI total (44) was the fifth-best. He reached base in 48 of 52 games. Murphy also set a program record with three home runs in a game against North Carolina Central on March 19.
"He's the hardest worker," said coach Ron Torgalski. "It's great to see all that hard work pay off. He was consistent from game one and had an absolutely tremendous year. It's a well deserved award."
Canisius kept its season alive with a come-from-behind, 4-3 victory over Rider at the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championships in Trenton, N.J. Junior Drew Pettit's two-run double in the seventh gave Canisius (26-31) its 4-3 lead. Rider had a runner on second in the bottom of the ninth, but sophomore Billy Martin ended the game with a strikeout. The Golden Griffins, who lost their first-round game Thursday, will play another elimination game at 2 p.m. today.
TRACK & FIELD: Becky O'Brien of UB qualified for the NCAA Track and Field Championships with a 10th-place finish in the women's shot put Friday at the NCAA East preliminaries at Indiana University. O'Brien's throw of 53 feet, 11 3/4 inches (16.45 meters) put her in the top 12, earning a trip to the NCAAs in Des Moines, Iowa, on June 8-11.
At the NCAA Division III championships in Delaware, Ohio, Buffalo State sprinters Erica Johnson (third, 12.04) and Xavier Mateen (fourth, 10.75) both advanced to their respective 100-meter finals today.
FOOTBALL: Fred Russ, a two-sport standout at New York Mills High School in Utica, has signed a scholarship to play football at UB. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Russ was a first-team Class D all-state pick who had a team-high 67 solo tackles at middle linebacker, 25 receptions for 356 yards and seven touchdowns at tight end and handled all kicking duties. Russ was also named the Class D Player of the Year in basketball for leading his team to a 24-0 record and a state championship.