Five-run bottom of the sixth sinks Niagara
The Niagara Purple Eagles baseball team fell to the St. Bonaventure Bonnies 7-2 on Wednesday, April 5. Playing at Fred Handler Park in St. Bonaventure, N.Y., a five-run bottom of the sixth for the Bonnies was the key inning of the game, as Niagara could not mount enough offense to fend off the club’s 10th loss of the year.
Bonnies’ shortstop Cole Peterson got things going offensively in the top of the first, doubling off Purple Eagles’ starter Nate Mascellino and scoring on a wild pitch. Niagara tied the score at one in the top of the third. Centerfielder Tanner Kirwer scored on a throwing error by Bonnies’ catcher Tommy LaCongo, on a play where shortstop Greg Cullen successfully swiped second.
A sacrifice fly off the bat of Jared Baldinelli plated T.J. Baker, giving St. Bonaventure a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth. That was the last frame for Mascellino, who finished with five hits and one walk allowed, while also throwing a season-high two wild pitches.
Alex MacKinnon took over in relief in the bottom of the fifth, pitching a scoreless frame. Things went less smoothly for the Niagara right hander, as five runs crossed the plate. Four straight singles began the inning, with MacKinnon leaving the bases loaded for reliever Austin Miller. Outfielder Taishi Terashima hit a sac-fly to score the fifth and final run of the inning.
The Purple Eagles and Bonnies both put up zeroes in the seventh and eighth innings, before Niagara showed some life in the ninth. Trevor McCauley doubled against Danny Urban, a knock which scored Peter Battaglia. Nick Bernick grounded out to first base to end Niagara’s chance for a comeback, and the ballgame.
Offensively, Niagara strung together just six hits, with McCauley and Cullen ending with only multi-hit contests, both going 2-4. Kirwer and Battaglia were the only hitters to reach with a knock, while designated hitter Owen Dziados reached via a walk. Of the Bonnies’ 10 hits, T.J. Baker, David Vaccaro, Jared Baldinelli and David Hollins each had two-hit games. Baldinelli and Tommy LaCongo both drove in two runs as well.
The Bonnies used six pitchers, all pitching no more than 2.1 innings, keeping the Purple Eagles off balance. The hurlers combined for 12 strikeouts, with the winning pitcher Roman Wild, a junior righty, fanning four in 2.1 innings for his third win of the year.
Niagara drops to 13-10 in 2017, while the Bonnies improve to 11-10. The two will face off again on Tuesday, April 11, this time at Niagara’s Bobo Field. Before that, however, the Purple Eagles will square-off with Quinnipiac for three games over the weekend. A doubleheader is set to begin on Saturday, April 8 at NU, with game one starting at 12:00 p.m.