Billikens Walk Off Against St. Bonaventure
ST. LOUIS - A day after Alex Kelly won with a two-run blast, Danny Brennan ripped a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to top the Bonnies 6-5. The Billikens are now 32-15 overall and one win shy of matching the school's all-time mark. Saint Louis is also 13-7 in conference action and sit in third place in the Atlantic 10.
Saint Louis opened the scoring on a bases-loaded walk from C.J. Rose in the second inning. The Bonnies responded with two runs of their own in the sixth to carry a 2-1 lead to the bottom of the sixth. However, Nelson drove a ball to deep left that was misplayed by the St. Bonaventure left fielder to score a run and tie the ball game, 2-2.
The final two innings were packed full of entertaining baseball. In the eighth inning, St. Bonaventure had runners at second and third with no outs. The Bonnies ripped a ball to Alec Sole at shortstop. The ball was hit too hard for Sole to handle, and the runner at third scored. However, the ball bounced off Sole's glove hard enough to land in front of second baseman Mike Levine, who threw out the runner at home. The play gave Bonnie a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the eighth.
In the bottom of the inning, Saint Louis took the lead on a huge double down the left field line from Grant Nelson, scoring two runs and giving the Bills a 4-3 lead. The scoring was not done, as Sole scored Nelson on a single to left field, bringing the score to 5-3 SLU heading to the ninth inning.
In the ninth, Saint Louis shutdown senior Travis Parker took the hill. Entering the game, Parker had gone 33.1 inning since allowing his last earned run. He opened with a walk and a single to put runners at first and second with no outs. St. Bonaventure tried to sacrifice the runners into scoring position, but Parker mishandled the ball and allowed the runner to score. Due to the error, the run was unearned, keeping the streak alive. The next batter sacrificed and advanced the runners to second and third with one away. The next batter hit a deep fly to center field, scoring the runner at third and tying the ballgame. However, the run was also unearned, keeping Parker's streak alive, and extending it to 34.1 innings.
The Billikens were down to their final three outs with the game tied at five. Leadoff man Mike Levine jump-started the offense with a clutch double to left center. Jerry Mancuso moved him to third with a sacrifice bunt. Marco DiRoma was up next and was issued an intentional walk. After him, Jordan Hammerman drew a walk of his own to load the bases for Brennan. With the infield in, Brennan managed to poke a single just past the outstretched second baseman to win the game for the Billikens.
The Bills now have 13 wins in A-10 play. Last season, 13 was the number of wins necessary to make it into the postseason tournament.
The Bonnies and Billikens will play the final game of the series tomorrow at noon at the Billiken Sports Center. Before the start of the game, Billiken Athletics will honor Saint Louis' seven seniors. Senior Night festivities will begin 15 minutes before first pitch.