The St. Bonaventure baseball team travels to James Madison for a three-game series beginning Friday afternoon. Friday's game is set for a 3 p.m. start while Saturday's game is slated to begin at 2 p.m. and the Sunday finale is scheduled for a 1 p.m. first pitch.
LAST TIME OUT
St. Bonaventure played its first eight games of the season in Florida, wrapping up by dropping three games to Western Michigan. The Bonnies dropped a heartbreaker, 1-0 in 10 innings, in the finale last Sunday.
NELSON TAKES A-10 ROOKIE OF THE WEEK HONORS
Freshman Braydon Nelson, who entered the season fighting for a spot in the weekend rotation, certainly made an impressive first impression. The Ohio native tossed 18 scoreless innings in Florida, striking out 15 batters. He was honored as the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week this past Monday following a complete game shutout win over Mount St. Mary's (7 K, 1 BB) and a no-decision in nine scoreless innings last Sunday vs. Western Michigan (8 K, 1 IBB). Nelson is the only Division I true freshman to begin his career this spring with at least 18 scoreless innings.
NEWCOMERS AT THE TOP
In a lineup full of new faces after the Bonnies lost seven of their regular starting nine from last year to either graduation or the MLB Draft, two of the newcomers are showing strong at the top of the lineup. Decorated junior college transfers Brandon Henshaw and Mike Magnanti are the Bonnies' new double play tandem up the middle and have each hit well so far – Henshaw is hitting .370 and tied for the team lead with three doubles while Magnanti has posted a .333 batting average.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
The Bonnies have won 26 games in each of the past two years and went 15-8 in Atlantic 10 play last season. The Bonnies have three players off that team who are now playing professionally - last year's Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Year Aaron Phillips was drafted in the ninth round of the MLB Draft in June by the San Francisco Giants. All-Atlantic 10 shortstop Cole Peterson went in the 13th round to the Detroit Tigers and fellow All-Atlantic 10 third baseman Bubba Hollins signed with the Miami Marlins. Two other recent alums, Connor Grey '16 and Steven Klimek '15 are also playing professionally - Grey, a 20th round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2016, tossed a perfect game in the D-Backs minor league system last September. Klimek, a 33rd round pick of the Baltimore Orioles in 2015, made his Orioles debut last week in a spring training game. Another Class of 2017 product, catcher Tommy LaCongo, recently signed to play in the independent United Shore Pro Baseball League.
ABOUT JAMES MADISON
The Dukes were picked the finish seventh in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) in preseason after finishing 24-27 last year with a 7-17 mark in CAA play. JMU has 13 games in the book so far this spring including three against fellow Atlantic 10 institution Fordham where the Dukes dropped two of three to the Rams before taking the final game, 7-6, on March 4. Earlier this week, JMU traveled to Tennessee where they split a pair of lopsided final scores – dropping game one to the Volunteers, 10-1, before roaring back with a 21-2 victory on Wednesday. The Dukes have a challenging early season schedule as they play at Virginia next Wednesday.
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