The St. Bonaventure University baseball team begins its 2016 schedule on Feb. 19 at Savannah State. In the weeks leading up to the first pitch of the 2016 season, GoBonnies.com will preview the team by position. In this edition, the Bonnies outfielders / DH are featured.
While the St. Bonaventure baseball team feels it will be improved in many areas over last year's team that finished 16-29-2, one area the Bonnies are especially excited about is the outfield.
"We feel we've strengthened the outfield tremendously," head coach Larry Sudbrook said. "We think we are as good or better at all three outfield positions."
Freshman Sam Fuller is penciled in as the starter in left field, bringing excellent speed both in the field and on the base paths, running a 6.4 60-yard dash. Fuller is just the third player to run that speed in Sudbrook's 30 seasons at the helm.
Fuller will bring a bit of pop from the right side of the plate after batting .420 with 21 RBIs while playing in the Ohio large school division with Saint Ignatius High School. Fuller helped Saint Ignatius to state runner up honors and was named first team all-state last year after holding down his team's leadoff spot.
Junior Danny Urban will also see time in left while playing a utility role that will also see him in the lineup at first base on certain days. Urban saw time in 37 games with 10 RBIs a year ago.
Another newcomer will likely start in center as Taishi Terashima joins the program after playing for two seasons at perennial junior college power Herkimer CC.
Terashima was named Mountain Valley Conference Player of the Year after helping Herkimer to the NJCAA Division III World Series last spring, leading the nation in runs scored with 82 while also hitting .459 with a .557 on-base percentage and 21 stolen bases. The native of Japan brings strong defensive ability and a knack for situational hitting – he batted .450 (9-for-20) with seven RBIs in the Region III Final Four tournament for Herkimer last year. A celebrated player at Herkimer, Terashima earned NJCAA D-III All-American honors last June.
Sophomore Alex Schutz will also vie for time in center. Schutz struggled in limited action last spring, but turned in an excellent fall season and is the second fastest player on the team behind only Fuller. Senior Tommy Styn will also provide outfield depth after appearing in 19 games last year and 28 games as a sophomore.
Junior David Vaccaro joins the Bonnies this season after transferring from Monroe CC and will have the opportunity to win the job in right field. Vaccaro brings plus defense and a strong arm according to Sudbrook, and will bat in the top half of the lineup. The Penfield, N.Y. native hit .369 with a .446 on-base percentage and was named to the NJCAA Division II All-Region First Team after helping Monroe CC to a regional championship.
At the DH spot, senior Ted Dilts returns. In his first season with the Bonnies after transferring from El Camino (Ca.) CC, Dilts shined last spring – he finished the year batting .315 with a .379 on-base. He was even better in conference action, hitting .410 during Atlantic 10 play. Only one player, Richmond's Michael Morman, hit better in conference action and with Morman graduated, Dilts brings back the best A-10 batting average from a year ago.
"We feel we're much better offensively and defensively," Sudbrook said. "The question will be how long it will take the new guys to grow accustomed to Division I pitching."
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.