Baseball sweeps George Mason


The Billiken baseball team is forging through the season with a 15-14 record, while remaining undefeated in conference play (6-0).

SLU hosted Butler on March 18-20 at Billiken Sports Center, winning two of three games, 6-4, 6-8 and 13-12.

In the Friday game, senior right-handed pitcher Matt Eckelman led his team to victory, pitching seven innings while allowing five hits, one run, one walk and recording six strikeouts.  Senior center fielder Michael Bozarth went 4-for-5 and had two runs, two steals and a double.  Sophomore catcher James Morisano went 3-for-3, scoring four runs and a home run for the Bills.

Butler bounced back the following day to even out the series.  The Bulldogs got on the board first with two runs in the first inning.  They led 3-0 until SLU senior infielder Braxton Martinez scored off a sacrifice fly.  Martinez homered two innings later to tie the game at 3.  Butler was quick to respond in the fifth inning with three runs and two runs in the sixth.  SLU could not catch up despite three runs in the sixth inning.

Both teams were eager to break the tie in the third game on March 20.  SLU squeaked out the win in an offensive battle, 13-12.  SLU trailed Butler 10-2 in the fourth inning, but pushed through to an amazing comeback with four home runs, two of them coming off the bat of senior infielder Josh Bunselmeyer.

Another close competition put the Billikens on the other side of the results as they lost 9-8 to SIUE on March 22 in Edwardsville, Illinois.  Despite a 6-2 lead, the Billikens could not finish out the game, allowing SIUE to come back in the seventh and eighth innings by scoring five runs.

The men did not let the loss get them down, however, as they faced their first conference opponent, Dayton, on March 25-27 in Dayton, Ohio.  Eckelman led the team with another five-star performance from the mound, throwing his first career  complete game while allowing only four hits.

Rookie right-handed pitcher Miller Hogan followed in Eckelman’s footsteps in the second game against the Flyers, allowing only three hits in the game and leading his squad to victory, 7-2.  Bunselmeyer remained a powerhouse for the Billikens at the plate, going 3-for-5 and adding in a double and an RBI.

SLU’s pitchers continued to carry the Billikens through the weekend, as junior left-handed pitcher Devin Mahoney threw a stellar seven shutout innings to give SLU the 5-3 victory.  SLU started the game with two home runs from sophomore outfielder Parker Sniatynski and redshirt junior outfielder Trent Leimkuehler.  The remaining runs came in the final inning, which gave them a 5-0 lead.  The Flyers snuck back into the game on their final at-bats, but the Billiken defense kept Dayton at bay.

SLU traveled to Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals, on March 29 to engage in a Show Me State battle against Mizzou.  SLU got on the board early with two runs, but Mizzou dominated offensively, topping the Billikens, 5-3.

The Billikens leapt back into conference play at Billiken Sports Center on April 1-3 against George Mason.  The men scored a total of 33 runs over the course of three games and improved their conference record to 6-0.

Eckelman threw seven shutout innings, and freshman right-handed pitcher Sean Frontzak finished the job with two flawless innings to give the Billikens the first game win, 15-0.  Bunselmeyer, Martinez and Mahoney made it clear that it was going to be a high-scoring game, each notching a home run in the first inning.

Despite scoring six runs, George Mason couldn’t top the Bills in the second game either, as SLU put together another 15 runs, five of them being home runs.

The Bills narrowly completed the sweep against the Patriots, winning 3-2. SLU saw a totally transformed Patriot squad on April 3, who came out with a more disciplined defense.

George Mason found their first lead in the series in the fifth inning, leading 2-1.  However, SLU tied it back up in the bottom of the fifth, and freshman infielder Cole Dubet sealed the deal with a run in the seventh inning.  The junior duo of left-handed pitcher Brett Shimanovsky and right-handed pitcher Nick Vichio relieved to throw four shutout innings.

SLU took on another local team, Missouri State, on April 5.  They dropped the contest 15-4.

Missouri State got to the board first, scoring four runs in the first inning.  They led 7-0 by the fourth inning.  A double and two singles finally brought Morisano across home plate.  SLU’s final three runs came in the eighth, but they could not come back from the large deficit.

The Billikens travels to Richmond and play April 8-9.

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