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WILSON, N.C. – Stymied at the plate all game by Rider starter Mike Murphy, the St. Bonaventure baseball team (5-8) scored twice in the bottom of the 9th inning to earn a come-from-behind win and four-game series split against Rider (8-6) Sunday afternoon, 2-1.
Murphy, who was tangled in a pitchers' duel all day with Bona starter Asa Johnson, carried a 1-0 lead into the 9th before Bona's senior leaders stepped up. Senior Jason Radwan started the comeback with a single through the left side, and he was sacrificed over to second base on classmate Austin Ingraham's bunt. Senior Billy Urban then delivered his own single through the left side to plate Radwan and knot the game at 1-1.
On that play, the Rider left fielder fumbled the ball, allowing Urban to check in to second base. On the ensuing at bat, Bret Heath sent a Murphy offering to shortstop. Urban took off from second despite there being one out, but the shortstop's throw to third in attempt to pick off Urban careened off Urban's elbow and in to foul territory, allowing Urban to score the winning run.
The victory – Bonaventure's seventh one-run game of the year already (3-4) and third in a row decided by a single tally – split the four-game neutral-site series with Rider after dropping the first two games.
Johnson was brilliant for the Bonnies, allowing just one run in the 1st inning and matching his career-best outing for innings pitched and runs allowed (8 IP, 1 R at Saint Louis last May). The junior scattered seven hits, timely struck out four batters and induced several key double-play balls to get out of innings. The right-hander left with a no-decision for his effort, but the four strike outs ties a career high, set in his season opener against Mount St. Mary's.
He gave way to Connor Grey, who earned his first win (1-2) by pitching the 9th inning, striking out two and getting out of jam with runners on the corners and two outs to keep it a one-run game.
At the plate, Radwan produced another multiple-hit game with a 2-4 effort and a run scored. The only other hits on the day came from Urban, Joel Rosencrance and Thaddeus Johnson.
The Bonnies didn't have a runner in scoring position until the 7th inning, when the exact same scenario played out which was mimicked in the 9th – Radwan leading off with a single before being moved to second on an Ingraham sacrifice bunt. Additionally, SBU had just three hits entering the 9th inning, and just one entering the 7th.
St. Bonaventure is scheduled to return to action in its home-opening doubleheader against Niagara on Tuesday. However, weather forecasts indicate those games most likely will be postponed. For the latest updates, be sure to follow @BonniesBaseball on Twitter, and continue checking back to GoBonnies.com.
Photo: Asa Johnson (left) and Ryan Winton sports rally caps prior to the Bonnies' 9th-inning rally.