April 13, 2014

Burke's Complete Game Aids UB Weekend Sweep

ROCHESTER, NY – Consistency was the operative word Sunday afternoon, as a consistent offense and another workman-like effort from senior pitcher Mike Burke­ led the Bulls (16-12, 7-4 MAC) to a weekend sweep of Western Michigan (13-18, 4-8 MAC). Matt Pollock continued his torrid month of April, reaching base four times and driving in three runs to lead Buffalo's offense.

After a slow start to the game for both offenses, the Bulls were able to get a feel for WMU starter Keegan Akin and would strike for at least one run in four straight innings to take command of the game. In the third, Mike Scarcello laced a single through the left side and Jimmy Topps would follow with a slicing ground-rule double to left. After the first out of the inning was made, Pollock would open the game's scoring with a double to left as well. Despite loading the bases with just one out, that would be all the damage the team could muster.

After a sacrifice fly from Nick Sinay in the fourth and a RBI groundout from Brian Dudek in the fifth, the Broncos finally were able to figure out Burke. With two outs in the top of the sixth, the visitors strung together four straight hits – two of them triples – to touch up Burke for three runs. That came after he needed just 49 pitches to get through the first five innings of the game despite striking out seven batters in that span.

The economical start would lead to a long outing for Burke, who would settle down from the rough sixth inning to allow just one hit for the final three innings of the game. He finished with 111 pitches, 77 of which went as strikes, and struck out nine while walking two batters on 3-2 pitches.

After Western Michigan cut the lead down to just one run after the sixth, 4-3, the offense would find some more support for its starting pitcher with two more runs in the home half of the frame. Topps and Sinay would reach on singles to start, and a Pollock single would bring Topps around from second to score. Tyler Mautner hit a chopper to third that would score a second run in the inning and put UB back up comfortably. Mautner would add another RBI in the eighth, scoring Sinay, to cap another strong weekend for the sophomore.

The win locks up the team's first Mid-American Conference series sweep since April of last season when it took three at home over Kent State. It will be those very same Flashes who will play host to the Bulls next weekend in a critical series for both sides with MAC East division competition getting underway. First pitch Friday is scheduled for 6 pm, but the Bulls do have a scheduled doubleheader at home Tuesday against Niagara, weather permitting. Those games are scheduled to begin at 2 pm.