[Photo courtesy of gobonnies.com ]
By Kevin Smith, Staff Writer, @kevsmith88
St. Bonaventure baseball team defeated Fordham 12-0 in their Atlantic 10 home opener at Fred Handler Park over the weekend, but it was not a foreshadowing of how the series would turn out.
The Bonnies could not capitalize on their dominating series-opening performance, dropping the last two games, sending them below .500 on the season at 10-11 (2-4).
But first the positives.
An ace is someone who can take the hill on any day and completely shut down the opposition and the Bonnies have exactly that in redshirt senior Eddie Gray.
Gray was masterful on the mound, twirling seven innings of shutout ball, allowing just two hits and racking up seven strikeouts.
“Gray pitched like he always does,” Bona coach Larry Sudbrook said. “We just didn’t get that repeat quality start from our other starters. Pitching is our strong point on this team; we need to make sure that’s still the case.”
However, after this past weekend there are questions about the once preconceived strength of the team.
Facing a team that had a team batting average of .228, Jordan Crane and Cael Johnson surrendered a combined 16 hits in only 12 innings pitched, limiting the chances of a Bona win.
“I have given Eddie’s performance an A cause he didn’t even allow a run on 2nd base,” Sudbrook said. “The other pitchers are stuck with a C because their performances were mediocre.”
But Sudbrook’s is not concerned about the pitching. His focus is entirely on the lack of consistent hitting.
After scoring 12 runs in the opening game of the series, they managed just a total of six over the final two.
“Our hitting just needs to improve there’s no question about it,” Sudbrook said. “We are swinging too early, too late, and not taking enough pitches.”
But there is one Bona player who is on a tear — senior center fielder Nick Brennen.
Brennen had a down season last year, but his current 16-game hit streak has him pointed in the right direction.
“As you can see from Brennen’s numbers last year he struck out a lot and wasn’t patient with his pitches,” Sudbrook added. “Now, he is more patient, taking walks, and contributing any way he can even as a lead-off hitter.”
However, the hit streak has not translated into wins on the field as the team is only 7-9 through his stretch of hot hitting.
But they hope to change their fortunes against Big 4 rival Buffalo today, while taking advantage of a pitching staff that has surrendered 156 runs in only 181 innings pitched.