Fourth Estate Sports Reporter Ian Criman
St. Bonaventure beat the Patriots 8-6 in 11 innings in an exciting contest on Saturday at Spuhler field. Prior to this game, the Bonnies have blown 10 games in which they had the lead after seven innings or later. Saturday was a similar story, as the Patriots managed to tie the game in the bottom of the 8th without a base hit. After allowing a four-run 9th inning, the Patriots managed to cut the lead to two, but the Bonnies were able to hold on.
The dramatic 11th inning started off well for the Bonnies. Ss Thad Johnson, who had managed to single to leadoff the game, doubled down the left field line. A perfect sacrifice bunt got Johnson to 3rd, and DH Joel Rosencrance singled up the middle to score Thad Johnson. The Bonnies piled it on from there, scoring three more runs. It would have been worse, but Josh Leemhuis nailed cf Tyler Bell at the plate to keep the damage to four runs.
Mason rallied in the bottom half. They loaded the bases with one out. Gum promptly hit a sharp ground ball that one hopped the Bonnies shortstop, Johnson, and he wasn’t able to handle it. The ball skirted into the outfield and two runners, Cook and Esposito, scored on the play. The next batter, 3rd baseman Blaise Fernandez, promptly launched a ball to the warning track in left field, but it fell just short and the Patriots couldn’t muster up anything else.
The game started off with both teams trading punches. After a Chris Cook solo homerun in the bottom of the 3rd, the game remained tied until the top of the 7th, as both pitchers really started to settle in.
The Patriots had an excellent chance to break the tie in the bottom of the 5th inning. With two outs, ss Brandon Gum walked and 3b Blaise Fernandez lined what appeared to be a double into right field, but the Bonnies rf, Bret Heath made a tremendous diving catch that saved a run and robbed Fernandez of extra bases.
In the top of the 7th, Rosencrance doubled to bring in Dunn, breaking the 3-3 stalemate.
The Patriots countered in the bottom half of the 8th for the 2nd game in a row. Josh Leemhuis led off the inning with a walk, and Anthony Montefusco laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt. With one outs, a passed ball moved Leemhuis to 3rd. This was extremely costly for the Bonnies, as Chris Cook hit a sac fly to center.
It was all for naught though, as the Bonnies managed to drive in 4 runs in the top of the 11th, and nearly brought in a 5th.
With the win, the Bonnies moves to 8-19 on the season. The patriots fell to 19-12, and are still in second place in the A-10.