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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – For the second time in as many days, the St. Bonaventure (2-1) and Northeastern (0-4) baseball teams played a one-run game, and once again it was the Bonnies who came out in front after holding on for a 7-6 victory Monday afternoon.
Junior Cael Johnson started and nearly immediately received run support as the Bonnies plated five runs in the 2nd inning. Sophomore third baseman Billy Urban (pictured, left) led off the top of the frame with a double to left center before junior Nick Brennen continued his hot start by drilling a single to left to score the game's first run.
Junior right fielder Ryan Skellie followed with a single up the middle, and freshman Joe Chittester reached on an error by the Huskies' shortstop. With the bases loaded and no one out, catcher Michael Grieco (pictured, right) singled to right to score Brennen from third and Skellie from second, and Chittester went first-to-third. Chittester's baserunning proved vital when the next Bona hitter, senior Brad Steinbach, grounded out to second with the infield playing back to plate the freshman and move Grieco to third. Sophomore Jason Radwan then capped the inning by driving a single through the left side of the infield to score Grieco.
From there Johnson settled in, and after receiving another run in the top of the 6th courtesy of a Steinbach RBI single, was pitching to a 6-0 lead entering the bottom of the 6th. But that's when the right-hander ran into troubles as Northeastern plated four runs on three hits to pull within two at 6-4.
Johnson was relieved in the 7th by Jordan Crane, who pitched an inning of scoreless baseball before handing the ball over to Urban in the 8th.
But before Urban got the ball, senior Ryan Mosher provided the pitching staff with what would become a much-needed insurance run in the top of the inning. After Chittester worked a one-out walk, senior Alex Calderon pinch ran for the designated hitter and advanced to second on a Grieco groundout to short. Mosher then singled to left to plate Calderon and give the Bonnies a 7-4 advantage.
Urban retired all three of his batters in the bottom of the 8th, and Steinbach came in to close the game. After a lead-off walk came around to score, Northeastern plated another run on a single to center to make it a 7-6 game. But with the tying run on third and two outs, the hard-throwing righty induced a pop-up to Mosher at short to end the game and earn his first save of the young campaign.
Johnson picked up the win for the Bonnies by throwing six innings of seven-hit ball while striking out three and walking three. Urban finished the day 3-5, while Brennen went 2-5 as the only two Bonnies to have multi-hit afternoons.
St. Bonaventure will return to the Santaluces Sports Complex again on Tuesday when it takes on Western Michigan at 1 p.m.
Game Notes: The Bonnies finished with 11 hits on the afternoon, compared with nine for Northeastern … St. Bonaventure played a clean defensive game for the first time this year as it did not commit an error … Grieco threw out one runner, while Radwan had a stolen base of his own … Grieco also scored two runs to go along with his two RBI … the two teams will meet once again on Saturday.
Bonnies Race Out To 6-0 Lead, Hold On For 7-6 Win
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