UPDATE: Series Opener With Miami (OH) Pushed Back to 4 pm First Pitch
BUFFALO, NY - The Buffalo baseball team hopes to end the month of April on a positive note, hosting Mid-American Conference East division rival Miami (OH) this weekend. The Bulls (10-26, 3-11 MAC) have lost six straight games and need a strong weekend to remain in the hunt for a spot in the upcoming conference tournament.
After nine home games so far this season, the Bulls have been unable to find consistency on offense, batting only .266 with a .361 on-base percentage and .370 slugging percentage at Amherst Audubon Field. While it is a drop off from the team's splits of .303/.376/.502 on the road, the Bulls have received a major boost from its pitching staff. In home games, the UB pitchers have a 4.86 earned run average, nearly three whole runs lower than its road ERA (7.59).
Last week, the team dropped a Tuesday doubleheader to Niagara before losing a nine-inning contest to Canisius the following day. Over the weekend against Ohio, the Bulls were frustrated at the plate, scoring only eight runs against the Bobcats en route to three close losses. After drawing only six walks in the trio of games, the fewest in a conference series this season, it will be critical for UB to show patience at the plate after averaging almost 4.5 walks per game at home this season.
The Redhawks (21-21, 6-9 MAC) split two games against Indiana this week, winning 8-7 on the road Tuesday and losing 6-3 at home on Wednesday. In its most recent conference series, Miami won two of three games against Bowling Green at home.
Miami has received a huge boost on offense from freshman outfielder Matt Honchel. The lefty has been a thorn in the side of many pitching staffs, batting .387 with 63 hits and only 13 strikeouts in 163 at bats and batting .452 in conference games. Though the team has only hit eight home runs total this season, four have come from fellow outfielder Bryce Redeker. The Redhawk offense has picked it up in the MAC season, batting .318 in its 15 conference games.
On the mound, Miami has a solid starting rotation, but it's the bullpen that really shines. While the starters have accounted for a 5.42 ERA, the combined ERA for Redhawk relievers throwing more than 12 innings is 3.69.
First pitch at Amherst Audubon Field on Friday is set for 4 pm.
Projected Weekend Starters