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PHILADELPHIA – The St. Bonaventure baseball team (8-13) scored two runs in the top of the 9th inning Saturday to earn a 6-5 comeback victory over Saint Joseph's (14-16), a triumph which gave 28-year head coach Larry Sudbrook his 600th career win.
Sudbrook – a two-time Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year – has been at the helm of the Bonnies for 1,219 career games, and is by far Bonaventure's winningest coach in any sport. Over the course of his career, Sudbrook has produced 30 A-10 All-Conference selections and 10 Major League Baseball Draft picks. The Kent State graduate's 500th career win was saved by his son, Cory, in a 4-2 victory during the 2008 season.
On Saturday, the save didn't come from the pitching mound, but instead the batter's box as SBU fell behind, 5-4, after the 8th inning and looked destined to delay Sudbrook's milestone another day. However, a Bret Heath bases-loaded single tied the game in the top 9th and Jason Radwan's opposite-field single gave the Brown and White the lead in what eventually turned out to be the game-winner.
The A-10's second-leading hitter at .407, Radwan bounced back from a hitless outing on Friday to go 3-5 with a run scored in the second contest of the three-game series. Billy Urban was the lone other Bona batter with multiple hits as the Cleveland product went 2-5 with a pair of RBI. Urban, who started the game at third base, relieved starting pitcher Asa Johnson in the 8th inning and ultimately picked up his first win of the year as he tossed 1.2 innings of scoreless relief.
The Bonnies got off to a fast start as Joel Rosencrance walked to lead off the game and came around to give Bona a 1-0 lead. Saint Joe's responded with a pair of runs in the 2nd and one more in the 3rd to take a 3-1 advantage. That 3-1 score would remain intact until the 8th inning when St. Bonaventure scored three runs to take a 4-3 edge, with the big blow coming from a two-run Urban double to left-center field. However, SJU responded with a pair of runs in the 8th before the Bonnies' 9th-inning comeback.
Johnson went 7.1 innings, scattering nine hits, allowing five runs, striking out four and walking two. Urban allowed just one hit, but made things interesting with a three walks before working around them to move to 1-0 on the season.
The games between the two clubs do not count against either's A-10 record. St. Bonaventure and Saint Joseph's are both in the midst of their lone A-10 bye weekend of the year, but the two squads agreed to play a non-conference series in lieu of the off week.
The rubber match of the series will take place Sunday with first pitch set for Noon. Freshman Steven Klimek is expected to get the start on the mound for the Bonnies.
GAME NOTES: The team presented Sudbrook with a ball signed by every player after the game (pictured); a formal ceremony to commemorative the milestone win will take place prior to a home game later this season … Justin Brozick went 1-1 with a run scored in a pinch-hitting role.