Penn State Falls to St. Bonaventure for First Time in Two Decades

posted April 3, 2019 in CommRadio, Sports by Kyle Cannillo

For the first time in nearly two decades, the St. Bonaventure Bonnies have defeated the Penn State Nittany Lions by a score of 18-6. 

St. Bonaventure got off to a hot start, as they tacked on four runs in the top of the first inning. Penn State’s starting pitcher Cole Bartels struggled in his fifth appearance this season. With a runner on first, St. Bonaventure’s Tyler Kelder doubled to move two runners in scoring position. It wasn’t until Matthew Williams’ at-bat when the Bonnies were able to drive home Jeff Palczewski on a fielder's choice.

The damage wasn't done yet. Kevin Higgins 2-RBI double towards the right-field line was enough to extend the lead to 3-0. The very next pitch, senior Alex Schultz brought home Higgins and the Bonnies took a 4-0 lead.

Just like that, Cole Bartels day was done as he was replaced by Kyle Virbitsky.

The Nittany Lions came storming back in the second inning on St. Bonaventure’s starting pitcher Donovan Moffat.

Parker Hendershot singled to lead off the bottom half of the inning. Two batters later the freshman Justin Williams got Hendershot home from first base on a St. Bonaventure error. Williams sent a routine grounder to right fielder Alex Schultz when he bobbled it, allowing Hendershot to score the first run of the game for the Nittany Lions. Later in the inning, Penn State freshman Isaiah Payton earns his first career hit on an RBI double to get the Nittany Lions within one. Gavin Homer gave Penn State the 5-4 lead with a two-RBI ground-rule-double.

“I’m proud of Isaiah,” Penn State head coach Rob Cooper said. “He is a great kid who works hard, he wants to do well."

Payton told the media that “it felt pretty good” to get his first career hit out of the way.   

In a game of momentum swings, the Bonnies countered in the top of the third. They got their fifth and sixth runs of the game with a pair of RBI singles by Higgins and Branden Myers. They grabbed the lead again and kept it the rest of the way. They recorded three more runs in the top of the fourth inning on two Penn State errors.

Matthew Williams sent a high fly ball to center field were Jordan Bowersox misread it, allowing two runs to score. In the top of the fifth, Brandon Henshaw was able to score on a wild pitch just moments after he tripled. The eleventh and twelfth runs came on two infield bobbles from Isaiah Payton and Justin Williams. St. Bonaventure went 8-for-16 on two outs and 8-for-18 with runners in scoring position. 

Kevin Higgins, Jeff Palczewski, and Brandon Henshaw had monster days for the Bonnies. Higgins went 5-for-6 with six RBI’s including a double. His six RBI’s were the most in his career. Palczewski was just a home run away from the cycle as he tallied three hits, two runs, and an RBI. Henshaw completes the day going 4-for-4 with a walk and five runs.
Despite the score, Penn State’s senior catcher Ryan Sloniger had a solid day. His slow start of the season saw him begin the game with a .194 batting average. In this one, however, Sloniger was able to get an extra base hit, an RBI single, and a walk.

“We have to get back to the little things that we did early on. We aren’t that far out but we need to improve,” Penn State senior catcher Ryan Sloniger said.

All batters of St. Bonaventure were able to reach the base paths.  

Despite the win, Penn State still leads the all-time series 31-6-1. Next up, the Nittany Lions will travel to take on Indiana University. This is Penn State’s third Big Ten series of the year.

“We have to learn from this [game] and move on," Cooper said. "We cannot let this game affect us. We need to play Friday's game like we are playing whoever.”



Kyle Cannillo is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, please email