ST. BONAVENTURE (7-17, 3-6 A-10) at SAINT LOUIS (13-18, 2-4 A-10)
Friday – Saturday, April 13
Saint Louis, Mo.
The St. Bonaventure baseball team returns to Atlantic 10 play this weekend when it makes the trip to Saint Louis for a three-game set against the Billikens. Due to rain in the forecast, the teams will play a doubleheader Saturday.
PROBABLES / COVERAGE
Friday, 7:00 p.m. EST/6:00 p.m. CST – RHP Braydon Nelson (1-2, 6.19) vs. RHP Connor Lehmann (2-4, 3.48) | Live Stats | Live Video (ESPN+)
Saturday, 3:00 p.m. EST/2:00 p.m. CST – RHP Tyler Germanowski (0-3, 7.24) vs. RHP Cody Luther (4-2, 2.76) | Live Stats | Live Video (ESPN+)
Saturday, game 2 – TBD vs. RHP Jackson Wark (1-2, 2.10) | Live Stats | Live Video (ESPN+)
RECENT SERIES HISTORY: Saint Louis made the trip to Western New York last year and the teams played just one day, a doubleheader on May 11, 2018, due to rain. The Billikens swept the twinbill that day with wins of 9-1 and 8-4. The Billikens have won four straight over the Bonnies including ending Bona's season at the Atlantic 10 Tournament in 2017 with a 3-1 win at SLU. Bona's last win in the series came at SLU in the 2017 regular season when they took one of a three-game set, a 6-5 win in 12 innings on March 25, 2017.
MATCHUP OVERVIEW: Both teams are seeking to rise in the Atlantic 10 standings after slow starts in conference play. While the Bonnies are 3-6 following three A-10 series vs. Fordham (1-2), La Salle (2-1) and Dayton (0-3), the Billikens have played just two A-10 series thus far - Dayton grabbed two of three from SLU in Missouri while the Billikens dropped two of three at UMass last weekend.
FULL START: Senior Sam Fuller has been off to an outstanding start to the 2019 season. After posting five hits during Tuesday's doubleheader at Niagara, he now boasts a team-best .368 batting average – a number that ranks tied for fifth in the Atlantic 10 this season. His five triples are second in the conference and third in the country and just two off the SBU program record since 1985. Fuller is also seventh in the league in slugging percentage (.575), eighth in stolen bases (8) and 11th in A-10 on-base percentage (.461).
KELDER BOMBS: Sophomore Tyler Kelder has been one of the A-10's top power hitters this spring. He belted his fifth home run of the year on Tuesday at Niagara, moving him into a tie for eighth in the conference thus far. He also has driven 11 doubles, good for a tie for fifth in the A-10 ranks. His .562 slugging percentage is eighth in the A-10 this year, just behind teammate Sam Fuller.
GERMANOWSKKKKKKKKKKKI: Redshirt freshman Tyler Germanowski remains one of the A-10's leaders in strikeouts with his combination of mid-90s fastball and potentially devastating slider. Germanowski struck out a career-high 13 batters last month at Miami (OH) and posted his highest Atlantic 10 strikeout total of nine vs. La Salle in late March. Now a member of the A-10 weekend rotation, Germanowski ranks fourth in strikeouts per nine innings at 11.52.
WILLIAMS' CAREER DAY: Throughout the spring, Bonnies head coach Larry Sudbrook has praised the play of sophomore Matthew Williams and his at-bats. Though Williams hasn't had much to show at times for solid at-bats and good contact, the lefty finally broke through Tuesday at Niagara. Williams, who has primarily gotten at-bats as a designated hitter this season, smacked his first career home run and drove in a career-high four runs in a game two victory, going a career-best 3-for-5 at the plate.
PUT ME IN COACH: Senior Jake Foden has seen his name in the lineup more over the last week and he has responded at the plate. Foden is hitting .400 since the calendar turned to April, collecting two hits each April 2 at Cornell and April 6 vs. Dayton. He was back in the lineup Tuesday at Niagara and responded with his first home run as a Bonnies player, a three-run bomb.
WRITE JP IN INK: One name that has been a near permanent fixture in the Bona starting lineup the past two seasons is junior third baseman Jeff Palczewski. The second-year Bonnie played 34 of 37 games at the hot corner last year and thus far has started all 24 games there this spring.
WETTER GETS THE 'W': Redshirt junior right-hander James Wetter returned to action Tuesday at Niagara for the first time since March 10 in Florida. Wetter, who has been battling injury all spring, pitched in both games of the Niagara doubleheader, getting two outs in the opener before the final eight outs of a game two win. He earned the win in relief, striking out three. The Pennsylvania native has now appeared in 38 games during his Bonnies career.
ABOUT SAINT LOUIS
- The strength of the Billikens thus far as been the pitching staff - SLU ranks third in the Atlantic 10 with a 3.73 staff ERA and all three probable starters this weekend have a season ERA under 3.50. Friday starter Connor Lehmann ranks fourth in the league with 49 strikeouts on the year.
- Conversely, the Billikens rank next to last in the A-10 in team batting average (.242), though SLU has still managed to average over five runs per game. Jake Garella leads the team and is one of the league leaders with a .325 batting average, adding 18 RBIs.
- Though the Billikens have started slow in their first two A-10 series, they are the defending Atlantic 10 champions and were picked to repeat in this year's preseason coaches poll. SLU claimed nine of the 13 first-place votes.