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  • Andrew Nowel

Griffs' Strong lives up to preseason hype

By Andrew Nowel, Sports Reporter


Junior right fielder Jackson Strong began his third season with the Canisius Golden Griffins in 2024 by earning a Preseason All-MAAC Award, after finishing last season with 13 homers, 14 stolen bases and a batting average of .357.


Coming off his sophomore season, Strong wanted to continue the dominant performance at the plate, on the bases, and in the outfield. After earning 74 putouts last season with an exceptional .974 fielding percentage, Strong has already begun his junior season with 24 putouts, while earning his first two assists of his collegiate career.


The 20-year-old has grown from last season, already recording 10 stolen bases in only 12 games played. This puts Strong among the top base stealers of college baseball, where he sits tied for 16th, and the majority of players around him on the leaderboard have played more games than he has. 


Speed has been a big part of the Griffs’ identity this year, and head coach Matt Mazurek has utilized it throughout the season to get runners into scoring position for the bats to drive them in. Strong has driven in seven runs this season, and his teammates getting into scoring position due to stolen bases have been a big reason why.


“The stolen bases have been a direct product of our coaching staff this year,” said Strong on Tuesday. “That’s one thing they’ve instilled in us since day one, [which] is being more aggressive on the bases and taking calculated risks. It definitely helps me at the plate because I know if I am not having success at the plate, I can still work myself on base and use my legs to impact the game in a different way.”


As the Griffs prepare for conference play in two weeks, Strong looks to build on the team’s success from all parts of the field. “Having success on one area of the diamond definitely translates to other parts of the game because of the confidence I gain from certain parts of my game,” said Strong. “As we get closer to conference play, the keys to success lie within the group we have. We have a bunch of talented guys on the field as well as off the bench that can make an impact on the game. We still need to find our identity as a group at the plate and on the mound, but that all comes from our preparation before and in between games.” He concluded, “Overall, if we can develop more confidence with the group we have, it can lead to a lot of success for our team as a whole.”


The Griffs have played 12 games this season, all non-conference, and the team currently sits at 5–7. They are coming off a very successful weekend in Washington D.C., in large part thanks to Strong’s production. 


Strong helped the Griffs with a solo homer in Friday’s win against the Revolutionaries, and added two hits in four at-bats with his first double of the season in Sunday’s win to avoid the sweep during the doubleheader. The Griffs went 2–1 overall on the weekend.


Strong and the Griffs look to carry the momentum from this past weekend into their next 3-game series, which will begin on Friday at 4 p.m. in Lynchburg, Virginia against the Liberty Flames. The series will conclude on Sunday, as the Griffs look to climb back to a .500 record with Strong leading the way on the bases, at the plate and in the outfield.


Photo courtesy of Joe Schneyder/Say Cheeze Studios

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