April 6, 2014

@BonniesBaseball Splits Against Saint Louis; Earns First Atlantic 10 Win

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – The St. Bonaventure baseball team split a two-game series between the Saint Louis Billikens on Sunday, April 6 at Fred Handler Park. The Billikens went on to claim a marathon of a game as they earned a run in the top of the 13th inning for the 3-2 win in the first game. The Bonnies scored eight unanswered runs in the final three innings to collect their first Atlantic 10 win of the season by a score of 8-7.

Game One:

In a game that took just under four hours to complete, Saint Louis ended up walking away with the win after a costly error from the St. Bonaventure second-baseman, which allowed the runner from second to score the game-winning run in the 13th inning. The game remained tied from the sixth inning until the top of the 13th inning with one out.

To lead off the game the Saint Louis' shortstop, Alec Solé, tripled to left center on the first pitch he would see. He would not stay on third for long as the next batter hit a sac-fly to right field to give the Billikens a one-run lead after one. Saint Louis tacked on another run in the fourth inning off a Frabasilio single to left field to score Danny Murphy from third.

The Bonnies finally pushed a run across in the bottom of the fourth when Daniel Trimble laid down a squeeze sacrifice bunt with runners on the corners to score the runner on third. After a scoreless fifth inning, St. Bonaventure tied up the ball game in the bottom part of the sixth with back-to-back doubles from Tyler Bell and Brian Weightman.

At the beginning of the seventh inning, Saint Louis went to the bullpen and called upon Matt Eckelman, who has six saves on the year. By the end of the game, Eckelman pitched a total of seven innings and 98 pitches.

With the game going into extra innings the Bonnies called on the services of Drew Teller in the top of the tenth. Teller came in to strike out the first three batters he would face.

The Brown and White had their best opportunity in the bottom of the 12th inning when they found themselves with bases loaded and only two outs, but came up short as Dylan Dunn popped up to the shortstop to end the inning.

In the top of the 13th the Billikens would go on to break the tie as Solé led off the inning with a double down the left field line. The next batter went on to struck out but the ball was botched and was forced to be put out at first, which allowed the runner to advance to third. In the next at-bat, Mike Vigliarolo reached on an error by Tommy Styn that also allowed Solé to round third and score what would be the game-winning run and clinched the 3-2 win.

Despite giving up a lead-off triple with his first pitch, starting pitcher Asa Johnson completed 6.1 innings and only two runs on seven hits with two strikeouts.

Game Two:

In a thriller at Fred Handler Park, the Bonnies came back from a seven-run deficit as they scored eight unanswered runs in the final three innings to earn their first A-10 win of the season and also give the Billikens their first conference lost. After six innings, St. Bonaventure only tallied two hits, but the bats finally warmed up as they connected on nine hits in the seventh and eighth inning. This was the first game this year that the Bonnies have won in walk-off fashion.

The game began very similar to the way the first game would begin as Saint Louis' Solé singled to center field on the second pitch he saw and then stole second during the next at-bat. The Billikens would jump out to an early 2-0 lead after back-to-back doubles from the second and third hitters.

The ballgame remained quiet until the top of the fifth inning when Saint Louis mustered up another two-run inning to give itself a four-run lead. With two runners in scoring position, Danny Murphy singled that scored Vigliarolo and Solé from second and third, respectively.

With a four-run lead in tack going into the sixth inning the Billikens went to follow suit from previous innings and post another two-run inning. Saint Louis found itself with a runner on third with one out as Michael Bozarth came to the plate and doubled down the left-field line to score the runner from third. Bozarth later touched home plate on a wild pitch from starting pitcher Connor Grey.

The Billikens added to their lead in the top of the seventh by scoring their seventh run of the game from a sac-fly to the right fielder that scored Braxton Martinez from third.

St. Bonaventure began what would be thought to be an insurmountable comeback in the seventh as they chipped away at the seven-run lead when they scored three runs off of four hits. The Bonnies began the inning with three straight singles, including a bunt single. Andy LaLonde got the call to pinch-hit from Randy Delanoy with the bases loaded and no outs, which LaLonde delivered as he grounded out to the shortstop but not before Justin Brozick scored from third and moved the runners up a base. Mark Hutmacher also pinched hit and also grounded out to the shortstop, but drove in Bret Heath from third and moved the last runner on base to third. In the next at-bat, Jonathan Diaz singled up the middle to drive in Jared Baldinelli. After seven innings, Saint Louis led by a score of 7-3.

The Bonnies continued the comeback in the eighth inning, where they knocked in four runs with five hits, all four runs coming with two outs already on the board. Brian Weightman got things started with a ground-rule double to left field. Heath drove in Weightman by also doubling, but this time to left center. Baldinelli, the next batter, singled to score Heath from second and shrunk the Billikens lead to two runs. After a single from Joel Rosencrance to left center, the SLU pitcher threw a wild pitch that allowed the runners to move to second and third. Tommy Styn drove in the tying run with a double down the left-field line bounced over the third-baseman's head to score Rosencrance and Baldinelli from second and third, respectively. Heading into the ninth inning the ball game would be tied at seven runs apiece.

St. Bonaventure finished off the Billikens in the ninth inning and completed the eight-run comeback, when the Bonnies found themselves with runners on second and third with only one out. Justin Brozick would be intentionally walked as Saint Louis hoped for a double-play, but Heath wouldn't allow it as he notched a sac-fly to left field and Tyler Bell tagged up from third and scored the game-winning run.

The Brown and White take a one-day break before they head up to Lewiston, N.Y. to take on the Purple Eagles of Niagara University for a twin bill. Niagara is currently 7-18 on the season and have already marked two wins this season against the Bonnies. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.

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