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ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – St. Bonaventure freshman Justin Brozick sent the first pitch of the bottom of the 12th inning over the left-field wall to complete a seven-run comeback and give the baseball team (21-22, 11-10 Atlantic 10 Conference) a 9-8 win over Dayton (28-23, 13-8 A-10) Friday afternoon.
Brozick's first career home run helped the Bonnies come back from an 8-1 deficit and avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Flyers, keeping the club in contention for the A-10 tournament with one regular-season weekend remaining. The Bonnies currently sit in 8th place; however, pending outcomes of games later on Friday can sit just hundredths of percentage points out of the sixth, and final, postseason slot.
Sophomore Billy Urban paced the offensive attack with a 4-for-4 showing at the plate, while Jason Radwan, Michael Grieco and Brozick each collected two hits. Radwan finished the afternoon with three RBI and Urban tallied two.
After entering in relief prior to the start of the 6th inning, senior Jamie Wallschlaeger pitched seven scoreless innings while scattering just six Flyer hits en route to earning his third win of the campaign. The side-arming lefty moved his record to 3-0 as he walked just one of the 27 Dayton batters he faced.
Trailing 8-5 entering the final inning, the Bonnies knotted the game with a three-run bottom of the 9th. The big blow came off the bat of Radwan, who started the rally with a two-RBI double down the right-field line to plate seniors Brad Steinbach and Wallschlaeger, who had reached via an error and hit by pitch, respectively. On the play, Radwan advanced to third on the throw, and then scored the game-tying run on sacrifice fly to left by Urban.
Earlier in the game, both Urban and Radwan extended their hitting streaks to 16 and 11, respectively. Urban's streak is the longest active stretch by anyone in the A-10, and longest by a Bona hitter since Jesse Bosnik hit safely in 19 straight games last season. Additionally, Radwan has now hit in 13 straight conference games.
Dayton jumped out to an early lead in its portion of the 2nd inning with three runs off Bona starter Eddie Gray. The Flyers continued to pad their lead in the 3rd with a pair of runs to build a 5-0 advantage.
St. Bonaventure manufactured a run in the bottom of the 3rd. Senior Brad Steinbach started it with a bullet line drive back up the middle off the leg of Dayton starter Cameron Hobson. After a failed pickoff attempt by the Flyers allowed Steinbach to move to second, Wallschlaeger pulled a pitch to the right side to advance Steinbach to third on a ground out. He then scored on an RBI ground out by Radwan.
However, Dayton responded with a three-run 4th to open up that 8-1 advantage.
St. Bonaventure started to make a dent in the 6th when Urban tripled down the right-field line to plate Radwan. Grieco followed with a sac fly to right to bring home Urban. A Nick Brennen triple on a line to dead center plated the third Bonaventure run of the inning when Ryan Skellie crossed home plate. Skellie had reached on a two-out single to right.
The Bonnies got another run back in the 8th; however, with the bases loaded and one out, Eric Jutca grounded into an inning-ending double play to end the Bona rally momentarily.
Hobson, who entered as the A-10's leader in strikeouts with 81, fanned six Bonnies to run his season total to 87. However, the junior left hander left with a no-decision despite throwing six innings and allowing four runs.
Gray also was credited with a no-decision as he allowed eight runs, just four of which were earned.
St. Bonaventure will return to action on Tuesday in a doubleheader at Little Three rival Niagara beginning at 1 p.m. The Bonnies will conclude their regular season with a three-game set against visiting Massachusetts next Thursday-Saturday.
Game Note: Play was mandatorily halted for 30 minutes prior to the top of the 12th as lightning was spotted in the area.