UB earns Saturday split with Ball State

Courtesy of UBBulls.com

BUFFALO, NY – After dropping the opening game of the doubleheader on Saturday to the Ball State Cardinals, 9-6, the University at Buffalo baseball team fought back to collect a 4-3 win in game two to snap a five-game losing streak. With the win in game two, the Bulls improved to 13-26 overall and 6-12 in MAC play while also earning their first home victory of the season.

“I am really proud about how this group battled back this afternoon,” stated assistant coach Adam Skonieczki. “We lost two tough games to open the weekend against a very good Ball State team but we were able to fight and earn a win. I thought Shawn Dubin pitched a great game and Ben Vey came in and did a great job to earn the save. We also had some timely hits which is the key to winning MAC games.”

GAME ONE – BUFFALO 6, Ball State 9

After three quick innings to open up the first game of the doubleheader, the Bulls were finally able to get on the board in the fourth inning with the first two runs of the game. Mike Abrunzo started the rally as he earned his second walk in as many plate appearances before Vinny Mallaro earned an infield single to extend his reaching base streak to 17 straight games. Chris Kwitzer then came through with a RBI single to right field to score Abrunzo and move Mallaro to third as he was able to advance to second on the throw. After Kyle Brennan was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Brian Wasilewski picked up his first RBI of the game as he grounded out to second, scoring Mallaro from third.

The Cardinals responded with a run of their own in the fifth inning as Matt Eppers earned a walk and then stole second base before coming around to score on a Roman Baisa single up the middle, making the score 2-1 in favor of UB.

After Charlie Sobieraski earned a couple of strikeouts in the top of the sixth inning, the Bulls offense gave the righty some breathing room as they scored three runs in the bottom half of the inning. Mallaro singled and Kwitzer was hit by a pitch before Brennan successfully sacrifice bunted the pair into scoring position. Wasilewski dug in and delivered again as he singled to right field to plate Mallaro before Alex Thrower singled through the left side of the infield to score Kwitzer from third. Bobby Sheppard joined the party with his own RBI single through the left side to score Wasilewski.

The Bulls bullpen couldn’t hold onto the four run lead as the Cardinals were able to tie the game in the top of the seventh as they plated four runs. With the bases loaded and only one out and the game tied at five, Blair Lakso blew a fastball past a Cardinal hitter and forced a lineout to second base to get out of the inning, tied 5-5.

The Bulls had a great chance to take the lead in the bottom of the seventh but they left Abrunzo and Mallaro stranded at second and third.

The Cardinals were able to break the game open in the eighth inning as they plated four runs to take the 9-5 lead. Ball State used three hits and a walk to score their four runs and take the commanding lead.

Buffalo was able to get a run back in the bottom half of the inning to make the score 9-6 but it wasn’t enough as the Bulls didn’t score another run. Alex Thrower started the inning with a walk and he advanced to third after a Brian Dudek single before he touched home on an Abrunzo single down the right field line, his 18th RBI of the season.

Wasilewski was able to go 1-for-5 at the plate with two RBI and a run scored in the loss, his first career multi-RBI game. Mallaro finished off his good day at the plate going 3-for-5 with two runs scored while Abrunzo went 2-for-3 with a RBI, run and two walks. The UB offense left 10 runners on base in the loss.

Sobieraski had a great outing in the no decision as he went 6.0 innings and allowed just three hits and one run while striking out seven Ball State batters. For the game, the UB pitching staff earned 11 strikeouts while walking nine batters.

GAME TWO – BUFFALO 4, Ball State 3

Ball State was able to get on the board first in the second game as they produced a run in the second inning. They collected three straight singles to score a run before Shawn Dubin was able to fight back and force a strikeout looking and a double play to end the threat.

The Bulls tied the game up, 1-1, in the third inning as Thrower earned a walk and advanced to third base on a Sheppard single to center field. After Sheppard stole second base, Abrunzo earned a walk to load the bases and the Ball State pitcher threw a wild pitch to allow Thrower to cross home plate and tie the game.

With the game still tied, 1-1, in the fifth inning, Biasa was awarded first base on a very controversial hit by pitch call. The controversial call turned into an ejection for UB head coach Ron Torgalski. The ejection seemed to spark the Bulls as they fell behind 2-1 in the sixth but they responded right back with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning to take the 4-2 lead.

Wasilewski walked and Thrower singled before Sheppard was hit by a pitch to load the bases. On the very next pitch, Dudek hit a sharp grounder to first base which was mishandled and then thrown away by the Cardinals first baseman, allowing all three of the UB base runners to come around and score on the play.

The Cardinals didn’t give up as they were able to score a run in the seventh before Dubin was able to force two straight outs to end the threat in the inning, clinging to the 4-3 lead. Dubin had another strong eighth inning as he collected two strikeouts and a fly out to strand a runner at third base and head to the ninth with the lead.

Ben Vey entered in the ninth inning and shut the door on the Cardinals as he was able to get a couple of ground outs and a fly out to notch his first career save.

Brennan finished off his impressive game going 3-for-4, his first career three-hit effort. Sheppard continued to swing a nice bat as he went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored while Dudek went 2-for-5. Thrower finished his game going 1-for-3 with two runs scored and a walk in the win.

Dubin was able to earn his first win of the season on Saturday as he went 8.0 innings, allowing eight hits, three runs and string out six batters. Vey closed out his first career save with a quick eight pitch ninth inning.

The Bulls will return to the diamond on Tuesday afternoon as they play host to the Canisius Golden Griffins at Amherst Audobon Field at 3:00 pm.

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