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ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – Redshirt sophomore Eddie Gray threw seven innings of three-hit, one-run baseball, sophomore Billy Urban tied a career high by collecting four hits and St. Bonaventure (12-17, 4-6 Atlantic 10) picked up a 5-1 win over Saint Louis (22-16, 4-6 A-10) in the first game of a three-game set Thursday afternoon at Fred Handler Park.
The Bonnies jumped on the board in the 1st in support of Gray with a two-out rally in the bottom of the frame. Sophomore Jason Radwan started it with a bullet single up the middle, and center fielder Nick Brennen followed with another single up the middle. Then shortstop Urban sent the first pitch he saw from Saint Louis starter Alex Alemann over the left-center wall for his first home run of the season to give St. Bonaventure a 3-0 lead. The home run was the first Alemann has surrendered all year in what is now 65 innings pitched.
That proved to be all the run support Gray would need, as the left hander struck out six in limiting SLU's base runners over his seven innings of work.
Even when Gray got into trouble, he was bailed out by a solid defensive effort behind him, highlighted by a leaping grab by left fielder Jamie Wallschlaeger in the top of the 5th. With runners and first and second and the lead-off man up with one out, the senior pulled down the second out of the inning on the warning track. After rolling over, Wallschlaeger got to his feet and hit the cut-off man Urban, who gunned down the runner trying to advance to third for the final out of the inning.
Both teams started their No. 1 pitchers in Gray and Alemann, as Alemann entered the contest with a 2.45 ERA – fifth best in the A-10 – and Gray entered with a 2.94 ERA – ninth best in the conference.
St. Bonaventure chased Alemann (3-4) from the game with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the 6th. Jerry Mancuso entered, and the first batter he faced – senior Alex Calderon – reached on a fielder's choice up the middle to plate another Bona run and give the Bonnies a 4-0 lead.
Saint Louis got one run back in the 7th as Gray allowed a sacrifice fly to center, but worked out of further damage in picking up his team-leading fourth win of the campaign.
Senior Brad Steinbach relieved Gray in the 8th after he threw 118 pitches, and the hard-throwing right hander tossed a scoreless inning, working around a two-out double and subsequent walk.
Bona catcher Michael Grieco supplied an insurance run in the bottom of the 8th by sending a line-drive solo home run to left leading off the frame. The home run was the junior's second of the year, tying him with three other Bonnies for the team lead in round trippers.
Wallschlaeger moved from left to the mound in the 9th to protect the 5-1 lead, and the side-arming lefty did just that as he pitched a scoreless 9th, working around a pair of SLU hits.
Gray was brilliant for the Bonnies once again, as his three hits surrendered over seven innings are the fewest in his career when throwing at least seven frames. The Pulaski, N.Y. native has now thrown at least seven innings in each of his last five starts.
Urban went 4-for-4 on the afternoon to finish as the lone Bonnie with a multi-hit afternoon, his four hits tying a career high established in a 4-for-5 effort earlier this year against Western Michigan. He also now has a club-leading 22 RBI on the year, and improved his batting average from .272 entering the game to .299 – now the second highest average on the team. Steinbach singled up the middle in the 5th to extend his career-best hitting streak to 10 straight games.
The two teams will be back in action on Friday when they conclude the series with a doubleheader scheduled to begin at Noon. Originally set to play one game on Friday and game three of the set on Saturday, pending inclement weather on Saturday has resulted in the game being moved to Friday.
Gray’s Pitching, Urban’s Hitting Fuels Bonnies To Victory
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