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Bonnies Baseball Opens 2016 Home Schedule Tuesday vs. Rival Niagara

Bonnies Baseball Opens 2016 Home Schedule Tuesday vs. Rival Niagara

ST. BONAVENTURE (9-4) vs. NIAGARA (3-17)
Tuesday, March 22 - 1 p.m. (DH)
Fred Handler Park at McGraw-Jennings Field 
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ST. BONAVENTURE: Schedule | Roster | Stats
NIAGARA: Schedule | Roster | Stats

After 13 games away from home to begin the season, St. Bonaventure will play on home turf for the first time in 2016 when it hosts Little Three rival Niagara on Tuesday afternoon at Fred Handler Park. The Bonnies, off to a hot start at 9-4 overall, will play a pair of games against the Purple Eagles with the doubleheader scheduled for a 1 p.m. first pitch.

St. Bonaventure played a weather-shortened series at James Madison in Virginia last weekend, dropping a pair of games. The Dukes took game one, 7-5, and then captured the nightcap, 4-1.

The Bonnies went 2-0-2 vs. the Purple Eagles last season, taking a 7-3 victory on April 7 on the road before tying, 3-3, due to darkness. At home, the doubleheader went much the same - the Bonnies took an 8-7 win in 10 innings in game one, before game two closed with a 1-1 tie due to darkness.

Niagara is 3-17 on the season and is also playing its first game in the Empire State after trips south to begin the spring. Michael Fuhrman leads the team with a .395 batting average and has started all 20 games. Taylor Hackett adds a team-high 11 RBIs while on the mound, Matt McCuen (1-2) has a team-best 2.84 ERA in 19.0 innings. 

As a team, Niagara is hitting .269, but pitching has been a struggle - the Purple Eagles have a team ERA of 9.88.

The Bonnies continue to lead to nation in team ERA so far with a staff mark of 1.83. St. Bonaventure is the only team in Division I with a sub-2.00 team ERA - Alabama is second at 2.13.

Aaron Phillips (2-0) has a perfect 0.00 ERA in 19.2 innings of work while Drew Teller (2-0, 0.66), Connor Grey (2-1, 2.30) and Brandon Schlimm (2-2, 2.55) have all been excellent in the rotation. Reid Van Woert has seen the most work out of the bullpen with a 0.90 ERA in 10.0 innings.

Offensively, Ted Dilts leads the way with a .364 batting average which ranks eighth in the Atlantic 10. Tyler Walter checks in at .350 with a team-high 11 RBIs while Thad Johnson (.333), Tommy LaCongo (.324) and Taishi Terashima (.309) all hit over .300 on the season. 

Tuesday marks the final non-conference tune-up for the Bonnies before Atlantic 10 play begins. The Bonnies travel to VCU for a three-game set Friday-Sunday in Richmond.