Baseball: Another draft selection adds to Bona’s rise

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

When St. Bonaventure pitcher Connor Grey was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 20th round of the Major League Baseball draft on Saturday, a dream wasn’t the only thing realized.

The moment was an incredible one not only for the 6-foot fireballer and his family, but the Bona baseball program as a whole. This was the second consecutive year a Bonnie was picked, with pitcher Steven Klimek going to the Orioles in the 33rd round in 2015.

Larry Sudbrook’s team is on a high it hasn’t experienced in almost a decade; it just posted its first winning record since 2008, while two members of its pitching staff are now pros.

After a 111-169-2 record from 2011-15, these recent achievements are tangible signs that the program is making progress towards becoming an Atlantic 10 contender again.

From 2000-08, the team made the A-10 Tournament six times, making the NCAA Tournament in 2004. Despite the brutal Olean winters that make it challenging to field a competitive ballclub, Sudbrook and his assistants are proving they can find local athletes (Klimek is from Rochester, while Grey is from Frewsburg, N.Y.) who have great potential.

The eight graduates on the roster will be missed, but next season still looks promising. Leadoff hitter Tashi Terashima led the team in hits with 59 and figures to improve that total in his second and final collegiate season. Sophomore shortstop Cole Peterson batted .289 with 26 runs batted in and is once again playing summer ball with the Olean Oilers of the New York College Baseball League (NYCBL), who are trying to defend last year’s title.

Joining Peterson on the Oilers are left-handed pitcher Aaron Phillips and outfielder David Vaccaro, who will be going into junior and senior year, respectively, next year.

Phillips pitched in 13 games for the Bonnies this year, starting 10 and posting a 3.02 earned run average. Offensively, he hit .302 with two homers and 14 runs batted in. Vaccaro hit .217, hitting three longballs and driving in 24 runs.

There is plenty of optimism to be had with Bonaventure baseball right now, which wasn’t the case a couple years ago. The MLB calls add even more reason to believe that the Bonnies will be back in the conference title hunt sooner rather than later.

 

 

Giants win in emotional day for MLB

The San Francisco Giants’ 5-0 victory in game five of the World Series was overshadowed by the sudden death of St. Louis Cardinals’ top prospect Oscar Taveras.  Taveras and his girlfriend were killed in an automobile accident in the Dominican Republic.  The 22 year old rookie played 80 games for the Cardinals this season and is best remembered for a game-tying pinch-hit homerun in game two of the NLCS against the Giants two weeks ago.

Following the win, San Francisco is one win away from their third World Series title in the last five years.  Team ace Madison Bumgarner pitched the first World Series shutout since Josh Beckett in 2003 for the Florida Marlins.

Bumgarner struck out eight batters.  The All-Star right hander has only allowed one earned run in 31 World Series innings.  He currently holds the record for lowest series ERA with a 0.21 ERA.

San Francisco scored their first run in the bottom of the second inning.  Hunter Pence led off the inning with a single before eventually coming around on an RBI groundout by Brandon Crawford.

Crawford drove in his second run of the night with an RBI single on a soft liner to center to score Pablo Sandoval in the bottom of the fourth.

Teams traded scoreless innings back-and-forth until the eighth inning.

The Giants erupted for three runs on four hits in the eighth.  Sandoval and Pence led off the inning with singles before Juan Perez hit a two-run double.  Perez came around to score on an RBI single by Crawford to make the score 5-0.

Royals’ starter James Shields had another rough postseason outing.  He gave up eight hits in six innings allowing two runs to score.

Star reliever Kelvin Herrera had an uncharacteristic tough outing.  He allowed two runs in an inning pitched.  He walked one batter.

The Series moves back to Kansas City for game six on Tuesday.  Jake Peavy will toe the rubber for the Giants while Yordano Ventura will pitch for the Royals.

 

Giants steamroll Royals to tie series at two

The San Francisco Giants put on an offensive clinic in their 11-4 win over the Kansas City Royals in game four of the 2014 World Series.

Hunter Pence continued his hot streak, going 3-5 with a double, three RBIs, and two runs scored.  Gregor Blanco scored two runs and stole third base in the top of the first.

Blanco scored in the top of the first when Pence grounded out to third base.

The Giants’ lead did not last long, however.  Kansas City tied the game in the top of the third when Eric Hosmer grounded an RBI infield single to first baseman Brandon Belt.

They took the lead when Omar Infante hit a two-run single to center field giving the Royals a 3-1 lead and tacked on another run on an RBI single by Salvador Perez.

San Francisco fought back and added a run in the bottom of the inning when Buster Posey hit an RBI single which allowed Matt Duffy to score from second base.

The Giants tied the game in the bottom of the fifth when Pence hit an RBI single and came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Juan Perez.

The next inning, the Giants took a lead they would never relinquish.  Third baseman Pablo Sandoval lined a two-run single to center field to drive in Posey and Blanco.  Belt registered his first hit of the ballgame with an RBI single to follow Sandoval giving the Giants a 7-4 lead by the end of the inning.

The offense did not cool down there as San Francisco added four more runs in the bottom of the seventh.  A misplayed bunt by Blanco, two-run double by rookie Joe Panik, and run scoring double by Pence gave the Giants an insurmountable 11-4 lead.

The Giants recorded sixteen hits in the victory.

Brandon Finnegan took the loss for Kansas City.  The rookie allowed five earned runs to score on five hits in one inning pitched.  Finnegan became the first player to pitch in the College World Series and MLB World Series in the same year as he played for Texas Christian University before this year’s MLB draft.

Yusmeiro Petit earned the win for the Giants in relief.  Petit pitched a solid three innings where he only allowed two hits and struck out two.

San Francisco starter Ryan Vogelsong only lasted two and two-thirds innings.  He allowed four runs on seven hits before being pulled from the game.

Royals’ starter Jason Vargas pitched four innings.  He allowed three runs on six hits.

Game five will be held in San Francisco tomorrow night at 8 pm.  Team aces James Shields (Royals) and Madison Bumgarner (Giants) will square off in a rematch of game one.

MLB: Braun just the latest dark cloud for MLB

[Photo courtesy of mlb.com ]

By Rebecca Gunning, Staff Writer, @beck2042 Pin It

More than a decade after a reporter discovered a performance-enhancing substance in Mark McGwire’s locker, Major League Baseball is still trying to prove the sport is clean. 

Ryan Braun may have won his appeal of a 50-game suspension after a drug test indicated he used performance-enhancing drugs, but MLB can count this as a loss. 

Back in December, MLB took yet another hit when a report surfaced that the National League Most Valuable Player tested positive for high testosterone levels likely caused by PEDs.

Braun’s subsequent appeal of the suspension did not question the results, but argued that MLB mishandled the urine sample he had given them.

The MLB arbitration panel ruled in Braun’s favor and overturned the suspension. 

Throughout this ordeal, Braun has maintained his innocence. While the public may never know the full details of the investigation, it appears Braun was cleared due to a technicality.

And once again, baseball suffers a black eye after another one of its stars is associated with PEDs.

Unfortunately, Braun is not the first MVP, and probably not the last, to have his crown tarnished. 

Looking at the MVPs in either league over the past 20 years or so, there are many names associated with PED use including noted home run hitters Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa.

Of the three, only Rodriguez has admitted to using PEDs while Bonds, the record holder for most home runs in a career, and Sosa have denied knowingly doing so.

Major League Baseball has taken steps to clean up the sport, implementing drug testing nearly six years after the McGwire scandal.

One season later they increased the penalties for testing positive. Three positive tests will now equal a lifetime ban from the game.  

It may not be right, but winning this appeal does not fully exonerate Braun. 

Many fans and media members will still wonder if he is clean, like many before him who have had their reputation damaged by a PED scandal. 

Winning his appeal is only a start in cleaning up his reputation. 

Lucky for him and MLB, Braun has plenty of baseball left to play. If he can continue to put up stellar numbers, the sport will be able to move forward. 

That is until the next PED scandal comes around.

gunninre10@bonaventure.edu