Baseball Hits The Road For Three-Game Set Against Saint Louis
SAINT LOUIS, Mo. – The St. Bonaventure baseball team (18-19, 6-9 Atlantic 10 Conference) hits the road this weekend for a three-game set against Saint Louis (30-14, 11-7 A-10) beginning Friday.
The Bonnies and Billikens will commence the series on Friday at 7 p.m., with game two scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m. and the series finale set for Sunday at 1 p.m. All times are Eastern Standard.
St. Bona enters the set on the outside of the six-team A-10 Championship looking in. The Bonnies currently sit in 10th place at 6-9 in the league, while the Billikens are in 4th place with an 11-7 mark.
LAST TIME OUT: St. Bonaventure fell to Little Three rival Canisius on Tuesday, 10-1. The lone SBU run came via a 9th-inning home run from Michael Grieco. While the Bonnies have been struggling recently, Tuesday was the first time in eight games that they have allowed 10 or more runs in a contest – dating back to a three-game series against Rhode Island in which they allowed double-digit runs in all three games.
SCOUTING SAINT LOUIS: SLU boasts the best pitching staff in the A-10 with a team ERA of just 3.19. This marks the second weekend in a row that Bona has faced a premier pitching staff in the conference, as Saint Joseph's – last weekend's opponent – is currently the A-10's second-ranked staff with an ERA of 3.63. The Billikens are also the top-fielding club in the league as they enter this weekend's series with a .971 fielding percentage. Offensively, SLU is led by Alex Kelly with a .335 batting average, .461 slugging percentage, 56 hits and four home runs. However, the Billikens are coming off a 7-2 loss Thursday afternoon at the hands of Southern Illinois Edwardsville.
BATTLES ON THE BUMP
Game One Probables: Jordan Crane (RHP) vs. Alex Smith (RHP)
Crane (4-1) is expected to get the nod in game one instead of his usual game two slot due to forecasted high temperatures on Saturday. The right-hander leads the Bonnies in wins and is second in ERA (3.92). The senior is coming off arguably the best start of his career as he tossed a complete-game two-hitter last Saturday against Saint Joe's. Smith (6-2) has a 2.24 ERA – the lowest in the league amongst starting pitchers – and is tied for the conference lead in wins.
Game Two Probables: Eddie Gray (LHP) vs. Alex Alemann (RHP)
Gray (3-2) paces the Bona staff in ERA with a 3.59 and will be making his team-leading 11th start of the season. He also leads the Bonnies in innings pitched (72.2) and strike outs (56). Alemann (6-0) has yet to lose a game this season and is tied with his teammate, Smith, for the most wins in the A-10. He boasts a 2.83 ERA, which is the seventh-best in the conference.
Game Three Probables: Asa Johnson (RHP) vs. TBA
Johnson (3-2) made his first career A-10 start last weekend. The sophomore right-hander is tied for the team lead in appearances with 17 on the year.
WRONG WAY: St. Bonaventure has not had a double-digit hit game in its last five games, the longest stretch of the season … through their first 18 games, the Bonnies only had five games in which they did not record double-digit hits … over the last five games, SBU is hitting just .167 (8-48) with two outs … Bona's longest losing streak of the season is three – it is currently on a two-game slide … when trailing after 8 innings, Bonaventure is 0-15, and when trailing after 7 innings it is 1-13.
NEXT UP: St. Bonaventure returns home to Fred Handler Park for its final home games of the season next Thursday-Saturday against Temple. All three games against the Owls are scheduled to start at Noon.