ST. BONAVENTURE (16-14, 7-5 A-10) at GEORGE MASON (17-20, 6-3 A-10)
Friday – Saturday, April 21-22
After nearly two weeks away from conference play, the St. Bonaventure baseball team gets back to Atlantic 10 action with a trip to George Mason in northern Virginia with a three-game weekend series.
Due to rain in the weekend forecast, the teams are now slated to play a doubleheader beginning at noon on Friday before finishing up the series on Saturday, also at noon.
The Bonnies took two of three from the Patriots last year at Fred Handler Park, winning game one by a 3-0 final before falling, 4-3, in the middle game and exploding for a 16-3 win in the rubber game. In their last trip to George Mason in 2014, the Bonnies took an 11-inning game two win, 8-6, but the Patriots won the series.
IN THE STANDINGS
Both the Bonnies and the Patriots have put themselves in control of their own destinies in the Atlantic 10 playoff race. St. Bonaventure enters the weekend fifth in the conference standings based on winning percentage at 7-5 overall, though the Bonnies seven wins are behind only VCU (10-2), Rhode Island (8-3) and Davidson (8-7). George Mason sits third in the standings at 6-3. Twelve A-10 games remain for the Bonnies – they will travel to Mason this weekend, then head to La Salle April 28-30 before finishing with Richmond (May 5-7) and Fordham (May 18-20) at home.
COMING IN HOT
Junior Cole Peterson went 5-for-6 in the Bonnies' doubleheader sweep at Bucknell on Tuesday, lifting his season batting average to a team-best .350. That moves Peterson to seventh in the Atlantic 10 among all players with at least 100 at-bats.
Junior David Vaccaro comes into this weekend's series leading the Bonnies with 26 RBIs on the season. A year ago, the Bonnies' right fielder turned in the best game of his Bona career in a game vs. George Mason – he had a day to remember May 8, 2016 when he went 3-for-4 with two home runs and seven RBIs in a 16-3 victory. Vaccaro's performance was one of the best in program history, only recently surpassed by an eight RBI game earlier this spring from David Hollins.
SENIOR YEAR, BEST YEAR
Senior second baseman Jared Baldinelli is having a season to remember in his fourth campaign in Brown and White. The everyday starter enters the weekend with a .333 batting average and has already well surpassed his season-high for hits with 33 already through 27 starts. His previous season-best was 22 hits, coming in 93 at-bats last year – he's needed just 99 at-bats to pick up 32 hits so far this spring. He's racked up nine multi-hit games on the year and is getting on-base at a .430 clip, best on the squad.
FLASHING THE LEATHER
Good defense has been a common theme the past two seasons for the Bonnies. A year ago, the Bonnies ranked among the top defenses in the Atlantic 10 with a .969 team fielding percentage. This season, St. Bonaventure has committed an Atlantic 10-low 28 errors, tying George Washington for the fewest miscues in the league. St. Bonaventure's .976 fielding percentage is second in the league, behind only GW's .980.
SCHLIMM RE-JOINS THE ROTATION
St. Bonaventure has enjoyed a strong start to Atlantic 10 play despite having two-thirds of its planned conference rotation out due to injury and playing three teams that reached last year's A-10 Tournament. The Bonnies will receive a boost as junior Brandon Schlimm re-joins the conference rotation as he is slated to start Sunday's game. After missing nearly a month due to injury, he has started two games in the past week, at Niagara and at Bucknell, allowing just one run in 3.1 innings while building up his pitch count. Schlimm was outstanding last year, going 7-5 with a 2.11 ERA in 94 innings, including a 12-strikeout game vs. George Mason.
ABOUT GEORGE MASON
- The Patriots were picked 10th in the Atlantic 10 preseason poll.
- The Patriots are led by Michael Smith and Tyler Nelin who are both tied with a team high 37 hits.
- Logan Driscoll leads the team with a .345 batting average and 29 hits, Trevor Kelly leads George Mason with 32 RBIs
- Tyler Zombro is the ace for the Patriots as he is 3-3 through eight starts. Zombro has a 1.97 ERA while tossing 50.1 innings, striking out 38, and has only issued seven walks.
- Zach Mort is the second starter for George Mason. Mort has a 5.55 ERA through 48.2 innings, struck out 41, and has only issued 13 walks.
- Ryan Ricci and Tyler Kardas are the two stoppers for the Patriots. Ricci and Kardas combined have only given up two earned runs out of the bullpen in 30 innings.
- George Mason ranks second in the Atlantic 10 in runs scored with 208.
- The Patriots are coming off a three-game sweep vs. Dayton and a win over Maryland University before falling at Navy on Wednesday.