Bulls Snap Losing Streak in Style, Beating Canisius 13-4
BUFFALO, NY - Needing to regain its swagger after a frustrating weekend on the road, the Buffalo baseball team (8-19) came out with a purpose Tuesday afternoon and put together a complete effort, beating Big Four rival Canisius (17-18) 13-4. Combining a solid start from pitcher Mike Burke and a return to form from the offense, the Bulls cruised to a win that snapped its nine-game losing streak and helped to earn its first home win of the season.
"Every win is a good win, and its great confidence-wise for the team," head coach Ron Torgalski said. "We need to continue to get better. It was positive to jump on them and score some runs early, but we need to continue to work at it and get better."
The Bulls got out some frustrations right away, posting five two-out runs in the first inning. Matt Pollock led off the inning with a single before the next two Bulls were retired. Tom Murphy drew a walk and the flood doors were opened, with UB racking up four straight hits. Alex Baldock, Thomas Richards, Mike Scarcello and Andy Smietana each recorded RBI singles. An error by the Griffins plated the team's fifth run, which would prove to be more than enough to subdue Canisius.
The Bulls got a huge lift from Baldock, who returned after missing 22 games with a wrist injury. The junior first baseman had two hits and three runs batted in, including the run-scoring single in the first in his first at bat in well over a month.
"It was great having Alex back, he played a great first base and had some hits the first couple of times up," Torgalski said. "The wrist still bothers him now and then, but the last couple of batting practices he's felt good so I wanted to get him in before the weekend and it was great to see him produce."
In the second inning, the wild weather paid dividends for the Bulls. The team loaded the bases thanks to a double from Pollock and free passes to Jon Mestas (HBP) and Dan Scahill (base on balls). Murphy lifted a soft liner to right fielder that was buffeted by the swirling winds and dropped out of reach of the outfielder that would score two runs. Baldock would follow with a screaming liner down the left field line that would bring in two more runs.
The offense would come a bit more unconventionally in the fourth inning, with UB loading the bases up again before scoring runs on a hit by pitch drawn by Pollock and a wild pitch that would bring in Scarcello from third. In the fifth inning, Buffalo again loaded the bases with one out, and scored another pair of runs thanks to a four-pitch walk from Andy Smietana and a sacrifice fly from Jason Kanzler to put the Bulls up 13-1.
With a healthy offense chugging along behind him, starter Mike Burke was very effective. After allowing a hit and an unearned run in the first inning, the sophomore allowed only one hit in his final six innings. The final line for Burke would be the lone unearned run on two hits with no walks allowed and seven strikeouts.
Next up for the Bulls will be a home weekend series against Akron (13-15, 6-3 MAC). Game one on Friday will begin at 3 pm, weather permitting.