Saturday, April 21, 2012

Bonnies Sweep GW, Get Right Back Into A-10 Postseason Race

St. Bonaventure University Athletic News
April 21, 2012
ARLINGTON, Va. – The St. Bonaventure baseball team (16-15, 5-7 Atlantic 10 Conference) swept a doubleheader from George Washington (15-25, 3-9 A-10) Saturday afternoon by margins of 2-1 and 9-5 to complete a three-game series sweep of the Colonials and push itself right back into the thick of the A-10 postseason race.

The Bonnies entered the weekend in second-to-last place in the A-10 standings (12th of 13), but moved up to 9th place after Saturday's results – just a couple games out of the sixth, and final, postseason spot – with still 12 conference games (four, three-game series) remaining.

For the second day in a row, the Bonnies received tremendous starting pitching and clutch hitting from junior Austin Ingraham. In the second game, Ingraham – who delivered the game-winning hit in the 12th inning in Friday's opener – singled to center field to plate senior Nick Brennen in the top of the 9th with the game-winner.

Following Ingraham's at bat which gave the Bonnies a 6-5 lead, junior Billy Urban laced a double down the right-field line to break the game open and give SBU an 8-5 advantage. The hit extended Urban's streak of reaching base safely to 26 straight games as he went 2-for-4 in the first game.

Pitching proved to be the vital asset in the sweep for the Bonnies as the staff allowed just seven runs and had a 2.10 ERA over the three games, only one week removed from being swept at home by Rhode Island and allowing 37 runs and an 11.33 ERA. The Bona staff ERA lowered from a collective 5.41 entering the series to 5.05 following the set.

In game one, starter Jordan Crane (3-1) was given an early 2-0 lead and made it stand up as the senior pitched brilliantly, allowing just one run and scattering five hits over his eight innings – marking the fewest hits allowed in his career when throwing at least eight innings.

Crane turned the ball over to redshirt senior Cael Johnson in the 9th, and GW looked poised to at least tie the game with runners on the corners and just one out. However, the Frewsburg, N.Y. native induced a game-ending double play as the Bonnies earned their first A-10 series win of the campaign. The save was also the first of Johnson's career.

After closing game one, Johnson started game two for Bonaventure, but allowed four runs through just 2.2 innings before leaving with the game tied, 4-4. His younger brother, Asa Johnson, entered in relief and kept SBU in contention for the sweep with 6.1 innings of near-flawless work.

Johnson earned his third win of the season (3-2) by limiting the Colonials to just four hits and one run over his relief effort in which he struck out one. With his third victory of the season, Johnson joins Crane, redshirt junior Eddie Gray and junior Jason Radwan for the team lead in wins.

In game two, the bottom half of the lineup got the job done for the Bonnies as the No. 5-7 and No. 9 hitters – senior Ryan Skellie, junior Michael Meredith, junior Eric Jutca and sophomore Justin Brozick, respectively – each had two hits, accounting for eight of Bona's 11 hits.

With Bona trailing, 2-0, entering the 3rd inning, it put four runs on the board compliments of just two hits and a key Colonial error to take a 4-2 lead before GW responded with a pair to even the game at 4-4.

The Bonnies reclaimed the lead with a run in the 6th inning as Jutca led off the frame with a double to left before eventually scoring on an error by the GW center fielder. However, the Colonials manufactured a run in the bottom of the frame on a safety squeeze to tie the game back up, 5-5.

Following Urban's clutch double in the top of the 9th, Jutca added another run with a bunt single to plate Urban and create the final 9-5 score.

In the opening contest, the Bonnies got on the board first as Brennen led off the contest with a double to left-center and eventually scored on a single to left by Urban.

The Brown and White tacked on another run in the 3rd inning, and once again it was Urban coming through as he drove a first-pitch delivery to center field to plate Radwan, who had reached on a fielder's choice.

GW's lone run of the contest came in the bottom of the 5th on a sacrifice fly to left following a one-out triple by Matthew Murakami.

St. Bonaventure is scheduled to return to the field on Tuesday in a doubleheader at Bucknell, weather permitting. The Bonnies then host Saint Joseph's in another crucial A-10 three-game series beginning Friday, April 27, at 3 p.m.

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