NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, NY - The UB baseball team (23-19) wrapped up its midweek series against Big Four rival Niagara Wednesday afternoon, splitting a doubleheader with a 10-9 win in game one and a 5-4 loss in extra innings in game two. Tyler Mautner had six hits on the day, and Jimmy Topps hit his first home run as a Bull.
Game one was wild, with the two teams combining for 13 runs in the first three innings of the game and a total of 14 walks and eight hit batters between the two teams in the game. In the first inning, Topps got the team up early with a solo home run on a 3-2 pitch to lead off the game. Three hit batters and two walks in the inning would bring in two more runs for the early 3-0 lead. Niagara (16-27) would answer with four runs in the first and two more in the second to open up the 6-3 lead.
A big Niagara error in the top of the third would let UB back into the game, as it would plate four runs on just one hit. With two outs in the inning, a walk to Topps would load the bases for Topps. Nick Sinay would be hit with a 0-1 pitch to bring in the first run, and a hit into the outfield by Mautner was misplayed to allow all three baserunners to come around and score for a 7-6 lead.
Brian Dudek would hit a two-out double to right field in the fourth that scored two more runs for a 9-6 lead, but the Purple Eagles would score runs in the fourth and fifth to remain in striking distance in a 9-8 game. An important run would come in for UB in the sixth, as another Niagara error would give the Bulls a 10-8 lead. The home side would match that run in the bottom of the sixth, but the UB bullpen would close it out.
Ben Hartz earned the start and would pitch into the third inning. He would be relieved by Dan Ginader, who threw 2.2 innings and would ultimately earn the win. Brandon Bentley allowed just an unearned run in 1.1 innings to get the team to the seventh, and Cory Folk closed it out with two strikeouts and no hits to pick up his fifth save of the season.
In game two, the Bulls would be held without a hit until a Mautner single with two outs in the fourth inning, but the dramatics would pick up quickly after a tumultuous first game.
Down 2-0 before they would even get a hit, the Bulls were able to make a late rally in the scheduled seven-inning game. In the top of the sixth, Topps and Sinay led off with singles and Mautner would score them both with a double into the left center gap to tie the game. After moving up on a passed ball, Vinny Mallaro would give UB the lead with a single.
Niagara would tie the game in the bottom of the sixth, but had its go-ahead run thrown out at home for the third out of the inning. The game would go into "extras" after both teams were unable to score in the seventh, and both teams had quality chances to bring in runs in the eighth. Buffalo left runners on first and second, while the Purple Eagles had bases loaded.
In the ninth, Sinay would create his own run thanks to a one-out single and a steal. The red-hot Mautner would be walked, and Vinny Mallaro would lift a 1-1 pitch out to center field. Sinay would try to tag up from second, and the throw from the outfield would be misplayed for an error to allow him to come home and give UB a 4-3 lead.
Niagara would put the first two hitters on base in the bottom of the ninth, and after a bunt moved them both into scoring position, a single would end the game.
Mautner and Sinay would combine for half of the team's 12 hits in the second game, and the team saw a solid outing from freshman starting pitcher Alec Tuohy. He would go seven innings allowing two earned runs and striking out a pair of batters. Tyler Wilson threw 1.1 innings of relief and was credited with the loss.
Buffalo now returns home for a weekend series with Miami (OH). The Mid-American Conference divisional matchup begins Friday at 3 pm at Amherst Audubon Field.