By Matt Lozar
Senior Connor Panas (Toronto, Ont.) has been named a Louisville Slugger preseason First-Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball, the newspaper announced on Friday.
Panas is the first Canisius Golden Griffin to earn pre-season All-America honors since Shane Davis (Belmont, Ont.) earned Second-Team honors in 2009.
Panas was third in the MAAC in batting average (.362), first in home runs (six), RBIs (51) and slugging percentage (.574), second in doubles (16) and fifth in on-base percentage (.443). The third baseman was one of four players at the Division I level with a .350 batting average, 50 RBI and 15 stolen bases. Panas reached base in 43 of 47 starts, including the final 18 games of the season, and 10 of 19 times in the MAAC Championship. He had a career-long 15-game hitting streak and led the team with 22 multi-hit games and 13 multi-RBI games.
Panas claimed a number of awards after a prolific junior season including Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Student-Athlete of the Year, Louisville Slugger Second-Team All-American, Capital One Academic Second-Team All-American, ABCA Third-Team All-American, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Player of the Year and ECAC Division I First-Team All-Star. The Toronto, Ontario native also was a unanimous choice to the All-MAAC First Team, a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week, a two-time MAAC Player of the Week and an ABCA Northeast All-Region First-Team selection.
Canisius posted a 40-16 record en route to winning the 2014 MAAC regular-season title. The Golden Griffins are one of 14 teams to win at least 40 games prior to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last two seasons. Canisius also ranks 24th nationally with a .635 winning percentage since 2008.
The Griffs return six starting position players (including four of their top five hitters), three of their top four starting pitchers and four of their top five relievers for the 2015 season. Canisius opens play at the Caravelle Resort Tournament, hosted by Coastal Carolina University, on Saturday, Feb. 14, against the University of Maryland.