LEXINGTON, VA - The Buffalo baseball team split a doubleheader on the first day of action at the VMI Tournament, beating Maryland-Eastern Shore 11-1 in the afternoon before falling to the red-hot Keydets 2-0 in the final game of the day. Kevin Hughes earned the win in his first start since March of 2012 in game one, and the pitching staff as a whole continued its strong start to the season.
Against the Hawks, the UB (4-1) offense was clicking from the start, but would not convert with a run until the third inning. Tyler Mautner hit a two-out triple, and Thomas Richards would double him home in the next at-bat. Mike Burke would punch a single to the opposite field to plate what would wind up as the game-winning run, as Hughes and the UB bullpen would be sharp.
The redshirt senior righthander went six innings, scattering five hits while striking out five batters and walking a pair. The final three innings would be handled by senior Tyler Wilson and freshman Alec Tuohy. Wilson would throw two hitless innings and strike out a batter, and Tuohy would get out of a jam in the bottom of the ninth, getting a double play off a lineout.
Offensively, the Bulls would score four runs in the fourth, two more in the fifth and eighth innings, and the final run in the ninth. Mautner would finish the day with two hits, highlighted by a three-run home run that broke the game open in the fourth. Jimmy Topps and Mike Scarcello made life miserable for the UMES staff by scratching out three hits apiece from the leadoff and nine-hole, respectively. Richards and Kyle Figgins also had multi-hit games for Buffalo, which totaled 16 in the opener.
The lineup would be shut down in the second game by a VMI pitching staff that was coming off a win over number-one Virginia on Tuesday. Buffalo would get just two hits in the game, both coming in the fifth inning. In the fifth, the Bulls would load the bases with two outs, but Scarcello would be retired before any damage could be brought.
The Keydet offense didn't have much more offense to muster, but were able to take advantage of a scoring opportunity with a two-run double in the fourth inning for the game's only runs. Buffalo starter Mike McGee had another promising afternoon, throwing six innings and allowing just three hits while striking out seven. He would be stung by free passes, walking three and hitting another batter that would set up the VMI scoring.
Cory Folk would throw two scoreless innings out of the bullpen to close out the game for the Bulls. While Burke and Mautner would get the only hits, the lineup did draw the five walks, three of which came from freshman second baseman Brian Dudek.
The weekend continues tomorrow with a rematch with the Keydets at 4 pm.