MAAC Championship Central: #4 Siena vs. #2 Canisius (3:10 PM)

Chris Amorosi will likely get the ball in the first championship game Saturday
May 21, 2015


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The Siena baseball team will try to go #MAAC2MAAC when it plays Canisius in the decisive game of the 2015 MAAC Baseball Championships Series Saturday at 3:10 p.m. at Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill, N.Y. The Griffs forced the decisive game with a 10-5 victory in today's first championship game.

The Saints are 3-1 in the Tournament, having defeated Monmouth, Rider and Quinnipiac before losing today's first game. Canisius lost its first game to Quinnipiac and has won four straight to get back to the Championship Series.

Use the links above to follow the game live. Also, be sure to follow the Saints (SienaSaints) on Periscope for live look-ins throughout the Tournament and in-game interviews with head coach Tony Rossi.

Here's 10 things you need to know about the Saints heading into the Championship Series:

1) Siena is the defending MAAC Champion. The Saints rallied as the No. 2 seed last season after dropping their first game to Fairfield. Siena eliminated the Stags, Monmouth and then top-seed Canisius with a two-game sweep on Championship Sunday to take the crown. It was the program's fifth MAAC Championship and first since 1999.
2) Siena represented the league well in the NCAA Tournament last year, picking up a wild 9-8 extra-inning victory over nationally-ranked Dallas Baptist a day after losing to No. 7 national seed TCU 2-1 in 11 innings. The win over DBU was the program's first in NCAA Regional play and the first for the MAAC since Manhattan won two games in 2006 (Nebraska and San Francisco).
3) Tony Rossi is in his 46th season at Siena, making him the second longest active tenured Division I coach (Augie Garrido of Texas - 47th season), and the longest tenured at the same school. Rossi, who picked up benchmark win No. 800 with last year's MAAC Championship victory over Canisius, is the winningest active coach in the MAAC in any sport.
4) Siena started the season 1-11 this year and 1-3 in the MAAC. The Saints rallied to win five of seven conference series (losing two of three games to Quinnipiac and Monmouth). The Saints picked up a nice non-conference win over perennial regional power UConn (currently 33-23) at the Mets' Complex in Port St. Lucie, and won two of three games at Ohio (currently 32-19).
5) Siena played 22 of its first 24 games away from home this season and had its MAAC-opening series with Rider (scheduled for Loudonville) cancelled due to the extreme winter in the Northeast. The Saints played their first 34 games on the road last season and started 0-17 before rallying to win the MAAC and finish 27-33.
6) Siena led the conference in ERA (3.33) and fielding percentage (.976) in conference games. The Saints made just 18 errors (fewest in MAAC) in their 21 league games played this season, and opponents hit just .237 against Siena pitching in conference games (lowest in MAAC).
7) The Saints have the deepest pitching staff in the conference and the top bullpen. Relievers Matt Quintana (1.45) and Kyano Cummings (2.39) have the two lowest MAAC ERAs of any pitchers in the Tournament, and Quintana (1.79) and Chris Amorosi (2.74) have the two lowest overall ERAs of any pitchers in the Tournament.
8) Siena's 4.68 ERA entering the Tournament would be the eighth lowest in the program's Division I history and the third lowest since joining the MAAC in 1990 (4.25 ERA in 2011 and 4.57 ERA in 2005).
9) Siena has advanced to the MAAC Championship Series in each of the last two seasons and in each of its last four MAAC Tournament appearances (2008 and 2011).
10) Senior third baseman Justin Esquerra was named Siena's Male Student Athlete of the Year. Esquerra leads the team with 56 hits and a .326 batting average, and he's made just four errors all season at third base (.970). A San Diego native who transferred to Siena from San Diego Mesa Junior College prior to last year, Esquerra carries a 3.36 GPA in accounting and he's started and batted third in all 106 games since his arrival.