BUFFALO, NY - In its final non-conference series of the 2012 season, the Buffalo Bulls (16-33) split its Tuesday doubleheader with St. Bonaventure (21-24). Behind a complete-game win from Dan Ginader, the Bulls took game one 6-1, but control issues from the UB pitching staff gave the Bonnies an 11-4 win in game two.
In the opening game, Buffalo opened the scoring in the second inning with a pair of runs driven in by a two-out double from Andy Smietana. The senior third baseman hooked a ball down the left field line and brought home Mike Scarcello and Ryan Tulloch. That served as a microcosm for game one, because the team would score all six of its runs in game one with two outs in the inning.
Another run would come in the third inning, with Tom Murphy hitting a triple off the wall in right field. He would be scored immediately by a Thomas Richards single that split the right side of the Bona infield to give UB a 3-0 lead.
In the fourth inning, Matt Pollock hit a triple off the wall in left center field that drove in Tulloch, who had led off the inning with a single. Through just the first four innings, Pollock was 3-3 with just a home run shy of hitting for the cycle. Pollock then scored on an RBI double to left center by Jason Kanzler. Buffalo's final run would come on a wild pitch and error by SBU that brought Jon Mestas home all the way from second base.
That support would be more than Ginader would need, as the sophomore continued his recent hot streak with five scoreless innings before allowing a Bona run off a sacrifice fly in the sixth. That snapped a 12-inning scoreless streak for Ginader, who finished the game with just four hits allowed and six strikeouts with no walks.
Walks would be the dominant theme in game two for Buffalo, but for negative reasons. The team's four pitchers in the game walked a combined 10 Bona batters and allowed 10 hits. Jon Fragulia took the loss after giving up five runs (two earned) in 1.2 innings.
The UB offense got off to a sluggish start in the second game, scraping together just four hits and a lone run through the first five innings off SBU starter Cael Johnson. In the fifth, Russ Carone led off with a walk and Kanzler bunted his way to a single. The two moved up a base on a groundout, and Mike Burke brought in Carone with another groundout.
In the bottom of the seventh, the offense found its power a bit too late but still posted three runs. Kanzler led off the inning with his seventh home run of the year, and Richards followed with a triple off the wall in right field that came inches from a round tripper. That wouldn't matter, because Burke lifted a liner to right center that would score him.
A double by River McWilliams moved Burke up to third, and two straight hit batters would load the bases and then score Burke for the team's final run.
Kanzler and McWilliams accounted for six of the team's nine total hits in game two, and extended hot streaks for both hitters. McWilliams is now batting .440 (11-25) during his seven-game hitting streak, and reigning MAC East Player of the Week Kanzler is tearing it up with 18 hits in the past seven games (18-31, .581 BA).
The team will wrap of the 2012 regular season starting Thursday with the Mid-American Conference tournament still on the line. Buffalo will play Bowling Green needing to win at least two games to keep its tournament dreams alive. Game one of the three-game weekend series starts at 3 pm.