NORFOLK, VA - After a record-breaking season fueled by the pitching staff in 2013, the 2014 season kicked off on a similar note Friday morning, with the Bulls (1-0) allowing just one hit in a 7-1 win over host Norfolk State (0-4) at the Spartan Classic. Mike McGee struck out seven over five innings in the start, and Cory Folk threw four hitless innings in relief. Mike Burke went 3-4 at the plate with four runs batted in.
The offense helped out McGee early, plating two runs in the top of the second inning. Three straight singles from Tyler Mautner, Thomas Richards and Burke loaded it up with no outs, and Kyle Figgins and Brian Dudek would drive in a pair on a groundout and sacrifice fly.
Buffalo would load the bases again in the third inning, after walks to Jimmy Topps and Mautner and an infield single from Nick Sinay. Norfolk State appeared to be in the clear after getting the second out, but Burke woud double to right field and bring in all three runners for a 5-0 lead.
McGee would allow his lone hit of the day in the bottom of the frame, which would bring across the Spartans only run in the game. The junior would finish after five innings, and his seven strikeouts were the second most in a single game in his career.
Before he would exit, though, the offense would give him two more runs of support thanks to the long ball. Matt Pollock hit an opposite-field home run to lead off the fifth inning, and Burke would cap the inning with a two-out home run to right as well. Pollock's home run was the 19th of his career, tying him with recent graduate Jason Kanzler for fifth all time in career home runs.
With McGee handing the ball off to Folk with a 7-1 lead, the senior lefty cruised through his appearance out of the 'pen to earn his first career save. Folk would allow just one baserunner on a walk in the eighth inning, while striking out four.
Burke would be the only UB batter with multiple hits, but Mautner and Topps each drew a pair of walks and the Bulls would strand just five baserunners for the game.
The team will remain in Norfolk for the rest of the weekend as the Spartan Classic continues. Next up will be a 10 am game against Villanova, with Anthony Magovney expected to earn the start.