The St. Bonaventure University baseball team begins its 2017 schedule on Feb. 24 with the first of 11 games in Florida. In the weeks leading up to the first pitch of the 2017 season, GoBonnies.com will preview the team by position. In this edition, the Bonnies outfielders are featured.
By Scott Eddy, Assistant Sports Information Director
When the St. Bonaventure University baseball team hits the field for the first time in Florida to open the 2017 season, it will do so with very little in the way of question marks in the outfield.
In fact, the only problem for head coach Larry Sudbrook may be finding playing time for the number of capable outfielders his roster boasts.
"I think we have five guys who are ready to contribute at the Atlantic 10 level," Sudbrook said. "Four of the five will be in the lineup every day with one at DH."
And while the Bonnies know they have a strong defensive outfield, Sudbrook hopes his junior college transfers from a year ago can make the next step at the plate. A year ago, the Bonnies missed the Atlantic 10 Tournament by a single game and lost six conference games by one run. Finding hits in key situations could be the difference between being on the outside looking in and being able to return to the A-10 Tournament in May.
"This year there are some expectations," Sudbrook said. "Last year we did what we wanted, we were competitive. Now we want to make the tournament and make some noise. It is a completely different mindset."
Terashima again figures to be the team's everyday leadoff man after hitting .296 with a .371 on-base percentage in his debut season with the Bonnies. Now a senior, he was one of the Atlantic 10's toughest batters to strikeout last year with just 12 in 199 at-bats. He adds speed (eight stolen bases last year) and plus-defensive capabilities in center.
Vaccaro returns after logging his first full season at the Division I level following a season at Monroe Community College. He started every game in right field for the Bonnies last year, but Sudbrook has reason to believe he will improve upon his .217 batting average a year ago after being named to the NJCAA Division II All-Region First Team on a regional championship squad at Monroe CC. Defensively, Vaccaro gives the Bonnies another plus-defender with a strong arm.
A battle will take place for the left field job as a pair of newcomers figure to have a leg up for the job. Junior Ryan MacCarrick comes to the Bonnies from Orchard Park by way of Erie CC where he finished in the region's top 15 in batting average (third), hits (fourth), on-base percentage (sixth), stolen bases (eighth), triples (11th), RBI (12th) and runs (14th) after hitting .436 with two homers and 38 RBIs last year.
Another junior college transfer, Micah Riddick comes to the Bonnies from SUNY Ulster where he played the last two seasons. Riddick brings pop from the right side and may DH on days he doesn't start in the field.
Sophomore Sam Fuller is back for a second season in Brown and White after seeing time in 26 games last year including nine starts. Fuller brings strong defensive skills and is likely the fastest player on the team, giving Sudbrook the option for a defensive replacement or pinch runner on days he doesn't start.
Redshirt freshman Garrett Strom is fresh off earning South Florida Collegiate League All-Star honors this past summer. True freshman Chris Coates also joins the roster from Syracuse, following in the footsteps of great grandfather Joe Cummiskey who was a three-sport athlete at St. Bonaventure from 1926-30.
"The junior college guys from last year who struggled a little bit should be improved," Sudbrook said. "A question is will the new junior college guys be able to extend the lineup. We have a bunch of guys who have extensive playing time under their belts, but will they be contributors at the Atlantic 10 level. We have some top players, but the question will be if we have the depth."
The Bonnies open the 2017 season Feb. 24 vs. Eastern Michigan at Port Charlotte, Fla. and will play EMU, Dartmouth (2), Maine (4), Pennsylvania and North Dakota State (3) to open the season. The Bonnies begin Atlantic 10 play at Davidson March 17-19 and start their home slate March 21 vs. Niagara.
Stay connected with St. Bonaventure athletics through social media. Follow the Bonnies on Twitter @Go_Bonnies and get baseball updates @BonniesBaseball. Keep up with the Bonnies on Facebook /GoBonnies and on Instagram @GoBonnies.