Bulls Win Series Opener, 8-1
BUFFALO, NY – The UB baseball team opened the final weekend of the 2014 season with an 8-1 win over Bowling Green in another suspended game that would begin Friday afternoon and finally finished Sunday. A career day for sophomore Kyle Brennan and Kevin Hughes' seven innings of four-hit baseball would get the team off on the right foot as it vies for seeding in the upcoming Mid-American Conference tournament.
With the win, Buffalo moves to 24-22 overall and 13-11 in the MAC. Bowling Green is now 23-25 with a 13-12 conference record. The win helps UB temporarily leapfrog the Falcons for the fifth seed in the conference with a half-game lead.
After a quiet two innings for both sides, the Bulls would open the scoring in the bottom of the third with a two-out rally. Mike Scarcello led off with a single, then stole second. Matt Pollock would pick him up with a two-out single and was followed by a double from Tyler Mautner. With a 1-0 count in his favor, Mike Burke locked into a fastball and laced a double to the wall in left center to score two runners for a 3-0 lead.
The Falcons would get their first hit of the game with one out in the fifth, but Hughes would easily work around it. In the home half of the fifth, Pollock would add to his RBI total after tucking a 1-1 pitch just over the wall to the left center alley that brought home Nick Sinay for a 5-0 UB lead.
With rain coming into the area in the early innings and lingering throughout, quick innings would be held at a premium for both pitching staffs. While Hughes would take advantage of an aggressive Bowling Green lineup, the UB offense would keep adding on to its lead. In the seventh, singles from Mautner and Burke started the inning and after being bunted over, Brennan would slice a double down the left field line to plate both runners for the 7-1 lead.
The game would be suspended before the start of the eighth inning, and picked back up Friday at 1 pm. While both teams waited out the weather overnight, though, their postseason tickets would be punched. Toledo's loss would clinch a spot for Bowling Green, while Central Michigan's 9-7 win over Western Michigan ensured the Bulls would make the tournament for the third straight season. The two teams attempted to resume Saturday, but rain overnight had made Amherst Audubon Field unplayable.
The suspended game would bring an untimely end to Hughes' dominant day on the mound. The sixth-year senior was at just 94 pitches as the eighth inning was set to begin, but would not be able to continue into Friday. His final line would be seven innings pitched with four hits allowed and just one unearned run in the sixth inning. On top of that, he struck out eight batters – beating his previous season high by three – and walked just one Falcon batter.
Offensively, the Bulls would pile up 15 hits, the most since its 11-inning win over Ball State on March 28. The team's 3-4-5 hitters would combine for seven hits in just 14 at bats, also accounting for five runs batted in. Brennan would end his day with three hits, a new career high, and the two runs batted in to help shake off a weekend prior where he went just 1-9.
The two teams will finish the series Saturday afternoon.