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  • Andrew Nowel

Baseball kicks off highly-anticipated season in Philadelphia

By Andrew Nowel, Sports Reporter

The Canisius Golden Griffins baseball team will kick off their 2024 season on Friday on the road against the St. Joseph’s Hawks. This begins what Canisius hopes will be a very promising season for the Golden Griffins, led by preseason all-conference junior outfielder Jackson Strong.

Last season, the Golden Griffins finished 26–25–1 overall but earned a .667 win percentage in conference play, finishing 16–8 in the MAAC. They got off to a rough start, but the team turned a corner in late April, finishing the regular season on a high note in May. After falling to the Manhattan Jaspers in the first game of the MAAC Tournament, the Golden Griffins won the next 3 games, including a revenge win against the Jaspers. The Friday of the tournament was the last game of 2023 for the Golden Griffins as they fell to the Quinnipiac Bobcats.

The Golden Griffins will face the West Virginia Mountaineers as part of their non-conference schedule as well as a pair of three-game series in Washington D.C. against the George Washington Revolutionaries. Conference play will start on March 28 when the Golden Griffins host their first home game of 2024 against the Jaspers. The regular season will end on May 17 at the conclusion of the home three-game series against the Niagara Purple Eagles with the MAAC Championship being held from May 22-25 in Pomona, New York.

This begins the 71st season in Canisius baseball history, but it marks the first year without last season’s brightest star, Matt Duffy. Duffy was drafted by the Boston Red Sox this past summer and will begin his professional career in the minor leagues before being called up in the coming seasons to play in the MLB. Duffy was a junior last year at Canisius, coming from Ontario, CAD, before playing at Canisius for all three of his collegiate seasons. He earned a 3.86 career ERA at Canisius while winning 17 games in 214.1 innings pitched across his 33 starts. Head coach Matt Mazurek commented during the summer on the impact of Duffy’s presence on the team over the last couple of seasons.

“He is one of the best to ever do it at Canisius, and this opportunity is something he created for himself,” said coach Mazurek. “He has grown and matured as a true professional during his time with our program, and we are all excited to follow his journey from here. He has earned everything every step of the way.”

Strong will now be the star the Griffs lean on as he enters his third season with Canisius and has found a very prominent role in the. The WNY native had an excellent 2023, batting .365 with 13 homers and 50 RBIs. Strong also stole 14 bases while being a leader in the outfield in only his sophomore season. The Golden Griffins look ahead with promise, kicking off their campaign on Feb. 16 in a three-game series, spanning across a three-day stretch against Saint Joes in Philadelphia, P.A.

Photo courtesy of Demetrius Kazanas

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