By: Dan Durkin – Staff Writer
The Dayton baseball team finished up a three-game series against the St. Bonaventure Bonnies Sunday, April 17. It’s been a season of struggles for the Flyers as they have a sub .500 record and are in the bottom half of the Atlantic 10 conference.
The Flyers’ struggles continued last weekend, as they lost two out of three to the Bonnies. The Flyers have been in some close games this year but have been unable to close them out. It’s a team that is searching for an identity, and for some more consistency. The Flyers are a team that has had trouble scoring runs most of the year, but their pitching has been able to try and battle to keep them in games. The Flyers lost the first two games of the series 4-3 and 6-3, with each game decided late.
The Flyers’ loss Saturday was sort of a microcosm of their season so far. Although UD pitcher Zach Beaver earned the loss in the game, he battled and gave the Flyers five solid innings, giving up five runs, but just one earned, along with eight strikeouts. The Flyers struggled to field the ball Saturday committing 5 errors, which led to four out of the Bonnies’ six runs.
Head coach Tony Vittorio was not pleased after the game.
“I thought we didn’t compete well, at all, from the start until the tail end of the game, I thought it was noncompetitive, made some calls and made some mistakes early, no run production, until the tail end.”
The Flyers ran into a tough starting pitcher for St. Bonaventure, Brandon Schlimm, on Saturday. The Flyers couldn’t get anything going early on in the game. Schlimm finished with seven innings of one-run ball, giving up six hits and striking out seven. The Flyers did manage to score some runs late but just ran out of innings and outs.
The Flyers bullpen was one of the bright spots for the Flyers Saturday. The combination of redshirt sophomore pitcher Masashi Sakamoto and freshman pitcher Tyler Henry combined to pitch four innings, giving up only two hits and one run, with four strikeouts.
Vittorio was pleased with the way his pitchers competed.
“We have been competing all year, since March and on, so they’ve been competing on the mound and I’m proud of how we’ve been competing on the mound, but not how we’ve been competing offensively and defensively,” he said.
The Flyers have had trouble most of the year scoring runs early in games, and that continued on Saturday.
“Hats off [to St. Bonaventure’s starting pitcher] , both their starters have shut us down so far, but it’s a decision the guys have to make,” Vittorio said about improving at the plate. “As coaches we will keep working with them on approach, fundamentals and those types of things, but they have to make the decision.”
The Flyers were able to win the last game of the series Sunday in a thrilling extra-inning game, 13-12. The 12-inning game included 37 combined hits and saw the Bonnies struggle in the field, committing five errors. Senior right fielder Aaron Huesman scored the winning run in the bottom of the twelfth off an SBU throwing error.
The Flyers will travel down to Highland Heights, Kentucky on Wednesday to face Northern Kentucky at 3 p.m.