ST. BONAVENTURE (4-13, 3-5 A-10) at LA SALLE (21-12, 6-2 A-10)
The Bonnies and Explorers meet for the second time this season, but for the first time in conference action as St. Bonaventure looks to move up in the Atlantic 10 North Division standings while cooling off a red-hot La Salle squad which enters the weekend tied for first in the division. Friday and Sunday's games will be broadcast on ESPN+.
LAST TIME OUT
St. Bonaventure's A-10 schedule to this point has been anything but easy as La Salle is the third team the Bonnies have faced in divisional play and all three have occupied the top three spots in the standings. The Bonnies opened with divisional pre-season favorite Fordham, winning the opener before dropping the next three. Last weekend, St. Bonaventure grabbed the first two games of a four-game set with previously undefeated Saint Joseph's before the Hawks stole the final two to salvage a series split.
SERIES PROBABLES AND COVERAGE
Bonnies newcomer Liam Devine has been strong in his first two turns in the A-10 rotation, starting the first two conference series of the year with wins for the Bonnies. The junior southpaw is 2-0 with a 4.05 ERA in conference play, striking out 13 batters in 13.1 innings. He was especially strong at Fordham, picking up the win with 8.1 solid innings of work two weeks ago.
While redshirt senior lefty Donovan Moffat is a mainstay in the Bonnies conference rotation, he has also been key out of the bullpen. He locked down victories vs. Fordham and last week vs. Saint Joseph's, picking up the save in both of those games. Now with 11 career saves, Moffat is tied with Bob Beretta '87 for third all-time in program history.
Right-hander Elijah Baez has pitched extremely well thus far in conference play. Typically the game two starter thus far for the Bonnies, he is 1-1 with a 1.64 in his first two A-10 starts including limiting Saint Joseph's to one hit last weekend. Opponents are hitting just .189 against him through the first two A-10 series.
LUKE LANDS THE START
True freshman Luke Lashutka is slated to pick up his first career start on Sunday and he has impressed so far in his first A-10 action. He has appeared in relief four times during A-10 play, posting a 1.93 ERA while striking out five batters in 4.2 innings out of the bullpen against conference opponents.
BERGER ON THE RISE
Ben Berger has continued to see his batting average rise in recent days. The Bonnies outfielder now leads the team with a .371 batting average, also getting on base at a .410 clip.
WHEN LAST WE MET
The Bonnies played La Salle in a pair of games last month at home, but those contests did not count toward the A-10 standings. The Explorers took both halves of a doubleheader, taking game one, 6-3, before a 4-1 game two win. Another doubleheader the following day that was originally scheduled got washed out. Colin Scanlon (6.1 IP, 7 H, 0 BB, 7 K) got the win in game one for La Salle while Frank Elissalt (6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 9 K) kept the Bonnies bats at bay in game two.
ABOUT LA SALLE
- La Salle matched the best start in program history (21-12) when it scored an 18-6 win over Lehigh in mid-week action Wednesday. It matched the best 33-game start in program history along with the 1982 team. It comes amid tough circumstances as it was announced last fall that La Salle would be dropping its baseball program, along with six other intercollegiate teams, at the end of this academic year.
- The Explorers sit atop the A-10 North Division, tied with Saint Joseph's at 6-2.
- La Salle ranks fourth among all A-10 teams with a .275 team batting average, also drilling 18 home runs. The Explorers have also played 32 games already, third-most in the A-10. The Explorers are eighth in the league in team ERA at 5.79.
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