February 23, 2014

Bulls Sweep Weekend at Spartan Classic

NORFOLK, VA - The Buffalo baseball team wrapped up its opening weekend much in the way it started it, using steady pitching and an opportunistic offense to cruise to a 10-1 win over Quinnipiac (0-3) Sunday morning in the final day of the Spartan Classic, hosted by Norfolk State. The Bulls (3-0) have opened the season with three straight wins for the first time since 1978.

Mike Burke earned the win on the mound, while the offense would hit six doubles, draw 11 walks and score at least one run in each of the first five innings of the game and seven of nine overall.

Nick Sinay started things off in the top of the first inning with a one-out walk and would then steal second. Matt Pollock would single him home, then scored all the way from first on a double from Tyler Mautner. Kyle Figgins would then lead off the second inning with a double and then came home on a sacrifice fly from Mike Scarcello.

After another sacrifice fly from Vinny Mallaro in the third to make it a 4-0 game, the Bulls would blow open the game with an opportunistic three-run fourth inning. A pair of walks would get the inning going, and with two outs the scoring would erupt. Pollock doubled down the left field line, then run number two would come home on a balk. Two more walks would load up the bases, and Mallaro would earn a free pass to bring home the inning's third run.

Coming off one of the best seasons by any pitcher in UB history, Burke would coast through six strong innings with a bevy of run support. The Bobcats would get eight hits in his start, but he would allow no walks and struck out 10 batters. It caps off a standout weekend for all three of the UB starters, who combined to allow just two runs over 18.1 innings while striking out 22.

Burke would be lifted in the seventh for Kevin Hughes, who made his first appearance since March 17, 2012. He would show little rust coming off his injury, allowing just one hit over two innings. Mike Kaelin, who also returned from missing all of 2013 to injury, closed it out in the ninth with a scoreless inning.

After two scoreless innings for the offense, the bats got going again in the eighth and ninth. Mallaro knocked home Mautner on a two-out single for his third RBI of the day, and Nick Sinay doubled home Mike Scarcello in the ninth for the 10-1 final. Of the team's nine RBI, six would come home with two outs in the inning.

Next up for the team will be a three-team round robin series against Maryland-Eastern Shore and the host Virginia Military Institute (VMI). It will start Friday with a double header that begins at 12:30.