CHICAGO, IL - Junior Anthony Magovney went six strong innings and teamed with senior Kevin Hughes to avoid a number of jams as the UB baseball team evened the opening series of the Mid-American Conference season Saturday night, beating Northern Illinois 3-2. The win moves Buffalo to 9-7 overall and 1-1 in the conference season, while the Huskies fall to 3-12-1.
The win was Magovney's fifth straight of the season and give him 13 for his career. That's good for seventh-most in a career by any UB pitcher, and he becomes the first pitcher in the post-reinstatement era to win his first five starts in a season. He would allow just three hits in six innings.
Buffalo's offense was able to give him just enough on the day, highlighted by a two-run single from Matt Pollock in the first inning. Jimmy Topps led off the game with a walk and stole second on a strikeout. With two outs in the inning, Tyler Mautner would draw a walk and Thomas Richards would follow with an infield single to load up the bases. Pollock would single to right to make it a 2-0 game.
After a series opener on Friday where the Huskies were continually able to counter any UB offense, Magovney found himself in a bind in the home half of the first. With just one out, a single and two straight walks would load up the bases. Magovney would get a pop out to shallow right and a fly ball down the first base side would be tracked down to end the inning. The two outs would key a streak of seven straight batters retired in order.
The Bulls would add an important insurance run in the fifth inning, using small ball to tack on a run for a 3-0 lead. Mike Scarcello led off with a single, and after being sacrificed over to second, he would come home on a two-out single from Mike Burke.
Northern Illinois would chase Magovney in the bottom of the seventh after loading the bases with no outs. He would walk a batter to bring home NIU's first run, and Kevin Hughes would enter in a big moment. Justin Fletcher would hit a hard liner to center that would prevent the sacrifice fly, and Hughes would then strike out Brian Sisler looking. He would get the UB dugout rocking after ending the inning on a fly out to right.
The Huskies would get a run in the bottom of the eighth to make it a 3-2 game, but in the ninth Hughes would retire the home side in order with three ground outs for his second save of the season.
Richards would be the only UB batter with multiple hits, but Buffalo would outhit the Huskies 8-5 in the game.
The series will come to a close tomorrow afternoon, with Burke sliding over to the mound to try and help the team take the opening series of the conference season. First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 pm EST.