Offense Breaks Out As Bulls Split In Waco
WACO, TX – The University at Buffalo softball team received a couple of complete game performances in the circle and the offense broke out for six second-game runs as the Bulls split their two contests on Friday afternoon. UB fell 3-0 to 16th-ranked Baylor and defeated Liberty, 6-3.
In the second game against Liberty, the Bulls jumped on the Flames early, using a five-run first inning, which was started with two outs. Freshman Alexis Curtiss singled up the middle and advanced to third on a single to right center from Caitlin Dekker, who advanced to second on the throw in to third. It looked as if the inning would come to an end during the next at bat, but an illegal pitch kept things going as Curtiss scored the first run, moving Dekker to third. Sophomore Sammi Gallardo than followed it up with a single up the middle, which scored Dekker.
Senior Kristin Waldron kept the inning going with a single and both Waldron and Gallardo moved into scoring position following another illegal pitch. Junior Andi Saucier followed with a single up the middle of her own, driving in two more runs. The Bulls tacked on a fifth run in the inning on a single to left center from sophomore Tori Pettine. An illegal pitch in the third inning gave the Bulls their sixth run of the game.
With the way sophomore Tori Speckman was pitching for the Bulls, the five-spot in the first was a big cushion. The Alvin, TX native, playing in her home state, threw no-hit ball for four innings before allowing a double in the fifth. The Flames would finally get on the board in that fifth inning on a two-out single. Liberty added two more runs in the top of the seventh, but Speckman made the pitches when she needed to and ended the game with a strikeout.
For Speckman, it was her fifth win of the season as she pitched all seven innings, allowing just four hits, while striking out two. Sophomore Holly Luciano joined Gallardo and Dekker with two hits in the game.
In the opener, UB kept it close with the 16th ranked team in the country as senior pitcher Holly Johnson went the distance for the Bulls. Despite allowing seven hits and five walks, the Buffalo defense kept them out of trouble.
The Bulls had an early opportunity in the game to get things going as they had the bases loaded with just one out. However, back-to-back groundouts ended the threat. The Bears also threatened in the bottom of the first as they got a runner to third, but she was unable to score. The game remained scoreless through two and a half innings before Baylor got on the board in the bottom of the third on a sacrifice fly.
Baylor added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth, but the Bulls did a nice job of limiting the damage. The Bears had the bases loaded with nobody out following their two runs in the inning, but Johnson got one batter to ground back to her and the next batter to ground out to second base, both times throwing out the runner at home. Buffalo got the final out on a groundout to the shortstop.
Despite the complete game performance, Johnson picked up the loss for UB. Luciano, Dekker and Gallardo all picked up hits for the Bulls, finishing the afternoon with three hits total.
"I thought today was a good day at the ballpark," said head coach Jen Teague. "We definitely got better at the plate and in the first game against Baylor; we hit the ball well, just right at their fielders. Then we exploded at the plate against Liberty. I thought our pitchers did a nice job of working through some issues. As a whole, I am very pleased with our play this afternoon."
The Bulls will conclude Spring Break action tomorrow at 3:00 pm ET when they face Baylor one more time.