Early Power Surge Leads Bulls to Win
BUFFALO, NY - Buoyed by six doubles and four runs in the first three innings of the game, the Buffalo Bulls (12-26, 5-11 MAC) earned a series victory Saturday afternoon with a 4-2 win over the Miami (OH) Redhawks (21-23, 6-11 MAC). Pitching to contact all afternoon, starter Jeff Thompson earned the win thanks to efficient pitching and a stellar defensive effort behind him.
The scoring kicked off in the second inning, with Alex Baldock splitting the gap in right center to lead off the inning. He moved to third on a passed ball, and two batters later he would come in on a groundout from Mike Scarcello. Jon Mestas followed with a RBI double to the wall in left field that scored Andy Smietana from second base to give the Bulls an early lead.
Doubles ruled the third inning as well, with Tom Murphy, Dan Scahill and Baldock hitting back-to-back-to-back doubles that opened the inning and brought in two more runs. The six doubles hit by UB on the day were the most in a Mid-American Conference game since Mar. 25, when the team hit eight against Central Michigan.
While the team would end its offensive output from then on, the defense took over and made a handful of standout plays to support its senior starter on the mound. For the second straight game, the team turned a pair of double plays to squash a pair of rallies for Miami in the third and fifth innings.
"We made plays when we had to and its a credit to our defense," head coach Ron Torgalski said. "Our infield has played very well the last two days and our outfielders are stealing hits. We've talked from the beginning of the year that we're going to throw strikes and make the defense play well.
Not to be out done, Scahill went back and made an over-the-shoulder catch on a potential extra-base hit, Murphy threw out two potential basestealers, and Jason Kanzler continued his dazzling play in center field with yet another robbed hit on a shallow liner in the second inning.
"Jason (Kanzler) has been the best defensive outfielder I've seen all season, he has saved us several times this year," Torgalski added. "In the outfield, you need to make the routine plays but also steal those hits. It fires up the pitcher and gets the bench some energy, and he's been doing that all year."
Up 4-1 in the eighth inning, Thompson allowed the first two batter to reach base and was relieved by Kevin Crumb. While a run did come in, Crumb got two easy groundouts and a harmless fly ball to center to end the inning with the lead intact, 4-2.
River McWilliams came in to close the game in the ninth and did just that, recording two easy outs on grounders before earning the team's lone strikeout of the day on a curveball in the dirt that caught the batter chasing.
The two teams will be back at it tomorrow at 1 pm, with the Bulls looking to earn a sweep. With a win over the Redhawks Sunday, UB will vault over them in the East division standings and put itself in the mix for its first-ever appearance in the upcoming MAC tournament.