Box Score (PDF)
ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – St. Bonaventure junior Aaron Phillips tossed 8.2 innings of two-run ball with seven strikeouts and went 4-for-4 with three RBIs at the plate to lead the Bonnies past defending Atlantic 10 champion and pre-season favorite Rhode Island, 5-2, Saturday at Fred Handler Park.
The Bonnies locked in their fifth straight win, improving to 12-10 overall and 6-4 in A-10 play while handing the Rams (14-12, 5-1) their first conference loss.
Phillips gave Bona the lead early, driving in David Vaccaro with the game's first run and a 1-0 edge after two. Rhode Island's Matt O'Neil, the reigning A-10 Player of the Week, tied the game, however, with a solo blast to left in the fourth.
SBU grabbed the lead back in the bottom of the fourth on another run-scoring single from Phillips and the 2-1 score held until the sixth.
Senior T.J. Baker, who entered the day hitting over .440 during the past 10 games, gave the Bonnies some needed breathing room by hitting a laser out to left for a two-run bomb. That chased Rams starter Nick Johnson (1-3) from the game and gave the hosts control of the contest with a three-run advantage.
Rhode Island threatened in the seventh with runners at second and third, but shortstop Cole Peterson saved two runs with a diving play behind the bag, throwing out Rams batter Mike Foley before any damage could be done.
The Rams got a run back in the top of the eighth, but Phillips gave the Bonnies insurance with another two-out RBI single in the bottom of the inning.
One last threat from the Rams came in the ninth as they sent the tying run to the plate after a hit batter and a walk. With leadoff man Chris Hess due up, Bonnies senior Danny Urban came on in relief and ran a pitch in on the hands of Hess who popped it up right back to the mound, allowing Urban to put it away and seal the win.
The two teams have a doubleheader set for Sunday morning at 11 a.m.
- Phillips had his career-long outing, also matching his career-high of seven strikeouts. His previous career-long performance came with eight shutout innings last weekend vs. Dayton. He improved to 5-0 overall on the year.
- Phillips also posted a career day at the plate with his four hits.
- Baker is now hitting .462 in his eight starts during Atlantic 10 play.
- Urban recorded his first career save.
- Vaccaro stretched his hitting streak to eight games with his single in the first inning.
- St. Bonaventure's six Atlantic 10 wins are tied with VCU for most in the conference.
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