AMHERST, NY - The University at Buffalo softball team went 3-1 this past weekend, winning the Nan Harvey Fall Classic, which took place on Saturday and Sunday at the Northtown Center in Amherst, NY. The Bulls defeated Niagara, 12-0 in the championship game.
The weekend started with a split for Buffalo as it lost the opener to St. Bonaventure 5-4, but came back to defeat Niagara, 10-2 in five innings. The weekend continued on Sunday with the Bulls defeating Canisius in extra innings, 8-6, and another victory over the Purple Eagles, to claim the title.
This tournament was UB's first opportunity to see its newcomers in action, including a revamped pitching staff that includes three new players. Freshman Dani Cowan pitched two complete games for the Bulls, including Sunday's victory over Niagara where she pitched a five-inning shutout.
Fellow newcomers Nicole Aviles and Heather Ryder also saw action on the mound, as well as returning junior Tori Speckman. Aviles and Ryder combined for the first victory over Niagara, while Ryder and Speckman both pitched in the win over Canisius.
Offensively, Buffalo pounded 34 runs in the four games, getting contributions from both newcomers and veterans at the plate. Sophomore Karly Nevez hit the game-winning three-run inside the park home run in the eighth inning against Canisius and junior Holly Luciano had a bases clearing triple in an eight-run fourth inning against Niagara. Other returnees, Alyssa Ward, Andy Saucier, Sammi Gallardo and Alexis Curtiss each contributed both at the plate and in the field.
This past weekend was also the first for freshmen Kenzie Koch, Ryleigh Fitzgerald and Anissa Pinedo who all saw action. Fitzgerald played the majority of the weekend at short stop, while Pinedo played third in the win over Canisius. Koch, a utility player, saw most of her time on the base paths.
"I thought this was a solid opening weekend for us and it was nice to walk out with three wins," said head coach Jen Teague. "We know we still have a ton of things to work on, but it was important to be able to put those uniforms on and go out and player other schools. If this team stays eager and willing to learn and trusts the process, I am excited for where we have the potential to go."