Gray Leads Bona Pitching Staff To Doubleheader Sweep Of Niagara

Game 1 PDF Box Score
Game 2 PDF Box Score

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y.
– The baseball team (5-6) opened the home portion of its 2011 season Tuesday with a doubleheader sweep of Niagara (2-14) in a pair of 7-inning contests, winning game one, 3-1, and game two, 9-1.

In game one, redshirt sophomore Eddie Gray scattered six hits over 5.1 innings of work to pick up his first win of the season in the 3-1 Bona victory.

In both the 2nd and 3rd innings, Gray pitched himself into two-out jams, but on both occasions he stranded runners on the corners, and his offense rewarded him in the bottom of the 3rd.

Catcher Michael Grieco led off with a single to left – the first hit of the game for the Bonnies – and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt laid down by senior Ryan Mosher. After Grieco moved to third on a Jason Radwan right-field fly out, the junior scored on Austin Ingraham's single up the middle to give the Bonnies a 1-0 lead.

St. Bonaventure tacked on another run as yet another lead-off hitter reached in the 5th. Sophomore Eric Jutca led the bottom of the frame off with a walk and subsequently advanced to second on a wild pitch. Following a Niagara pitching change, Radwan laced a single to left to plate Jutca with the game-winning run.

Gray got into a little trouble in the 6th and left with runners on first and second and one out. Right hander Jordan Crane entered, and on his first pitch the Purple Eagles executed a double steal to put the tying run in scoring position.  Unfazed, Crane induced a fielder's choice ground out which scored Gray's lone earned run from third, and then tagged out Niagara's Brian Deering trying to score on a ball in the dirt. From there, he shut the Purple Eagles out the rest of the way to earn his second career save, and first in two years.

The Bonnies finished with just four hits in the game, but the bats woke up in the chilly weather in second game as they pounded out 10 hits – their fifth double-digit hit total in a game this year.

They were helped by some poor Niagara fielding as well, but took advantage to the tune of a five-run 1st inning and three-run 2nd frame en route to the 9-1 game two win.

After the first two Bona hitters were retired to open the 1st inning, the Bonnies rattled off four hits the rest of inning, scattered amongst three Niagara errors, one hit by pitch and one passed ball. The lead was only extended in the 2nd, courtesy of a pair of doubles from third baseman Billy Urban and right fielder Ryan Skellie. Urban lined a shot down the left-field line to plate two, and one batter later Skellie drove a ball deep into the left-field corner to chase Urban around for the eighth St. Bonaventure run of the game.

The lead was more than enough for Robert Nalepa to pick up his second win of the campaign despite pitching just two innings. However, in those two innings he faced just one over the minimum while allowing only one hit and striking out one.

From there, the Bona pitching staff was by committee as Andrew Revello pitched two innings of scoreless baseball, Jamie Wallshlaeger threw one frame – surrendering one run – Brad Steinbach added an inning of no-hit, one strikeout pitching and Urban closed the 7th without surrendering a run.

On the day, the Bona pitching staff held Niagara to just two runs and 12 hits in 14 innings, lowering its collective ERA from 6.00 to 5.28.

Urban and Skellie both recorded three hits in the second game, as Urban went 3-for-4 and Skellie was a perfect 3-for-3.

The Bonnies return to action this weekend with a three-game set in West Virginia against the Marshall Thundering Herd. Game one of the series is set for Friday at 3 p.m.