MUNCIE, IN – Returning to the lineup after a 13 game absence, sophomore Vinny Mallaro notched his first homer of the season and finished with a season-best four RBI's in game two as he led the Bulls to a 9-1 victory. UB (6-13, 2-3 MAC) dropped the opening game of the doubleheader to the Ball State Cardinals by the score of 6-4.
GAME 1 – BUFFALO 4, Ball State 6
The Bulls jumped ahead early on in the opening game of the doubleheader against Ball State on Saturday afternoon as they scored two first inning runs. Nick Sinay started the inning off getting hit by a pitch, his league-leading ninth of the season, and he then stole second base to get in scoring position for his teammates. After a walk to Ben Haefner, Sinay stole third and forced an error by the third baseman to allow the leadoff man to cross home plate and give UB the 1-0 lead. Ben Vey then stepped in and ripped a single to center field to score Haefner and extend the Bulls lead to 2-0.
Buffalo starter Brent Cleland cruised through the first two innings as he didn't allow a baserunner but he got into trouble in the third inning as he allowed the Cardinals to take the lead and never look back. The Cardinals were able to record three hits and three runs in the inning to take the 3-2 lead.
UB came right back in the fourth to tie the game at three as the Cardinals pitcher began to lose the strike zone. He started the inning with walks to Charlie Sobieraski, Justin Gonzalez and Sinay before walking in the tying run on four straight balls to Haefner. The RBI for Haefner was his first of the game and third of the season.
Ball State came right back and took the lead back in the fifth before Haefner hit a RBI single to right field in the sixth inning to score Vinny Mallaro. The Mallaro run made the score 4-4.
The Cardinals started out the bottom of the sixth with a single and then a double to score a run and chase Cleland from the game for the Bulls. Cleland exited after 5.1 innings and allowing eight hits and three runs while striking out five batters. Alec Tuohy entered the game and got the final two outs of the inning to limit the damage and make the score 5-4 in favor of the home team.
After a scoreless seventh, Ball State was able to tack on an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, making the score 6-4. The unearned run sealed the game for the Cardinals. Tuohy finished his afternoon pitching 2.2 innings while allowing just two hits and striking out two batters.
Haefner reached base four times in the game as he earned one hit and three walks while finishing with a season-high two RBI's. Catcher Justin Gonzalez had a team-high two hits while reaching base three times while Sinay went 1-for-1 at the plate with three walks, two steals and one run scored. Chris Kwitzer and Vey finished the game with one hit each.
GAME 2 – BUFFALO 14, Ball State 1
In game two, the Bulls offense awoke as they erupted for 10 runs in the ninth inning to earn the 14-1 victory over the Cardinals. For the game, the UB offense racked up a season-best 12 hits and 14 runs while Mallaro finished with a season-high four RBI's.
The Ball State pitching staff began to lose the strike zone in the ninth inning as they Bulls led 4-1 entering the inning. The Bulls were able to tack on a season-best 10 runs in the ninth inning. The 10 runs were more than the Bulls have scored in any game this season.
The Bulls started the inning with three straight hits as Sinay scored Eddie Edwards with a single to right field for his second hit of the game. Bobby Sheppard then singled to score another UB run before the Cardinals pitchers combined to walk in five UB runs, making the score 11-1. Gonzalez then collected a sacrifice fly RBI and Sinay collected his third hit and third RBI of the game. Sheppard earned the final RBI of the game as he worked another base on balls to score Edwards from third.
UB got on the board early in the contest as Haefner worked a walk and advanced to second on an error by the Cardinals catcher. After a sacrifice fly by Sheppard, Mallaro came to the plate and singled to right field to score Haefner and give the Bulls the 1-0 lead.
After Anthony Magovney cruised through the Cardinals in the first inning, UB came to bat and added a run to make it 2-0. Vey started the inning with a walk and moved over to third base after a Gonzalez double to right field. Vey came around to score on the very next at bat as Sinay singled to center field.
The Bulls added to their early lead in the third inning as Sheppard started the inning off with a single. Mallaro stepped in and roped a two-run homer over the left field fence for his first long ball of the season.
Magovney had no trouble shutting down the Cardinals over the next couple innings as he didn't allow a run in 5.2 innings. Magovney earned his second win of the season as he allowed four hits and struck out three batters.
Ben Hartz entered the game in the sixth and pitched well for the Bulls, allowing just one run in the eighth inning while striking out three batters. Mike Kaelin took to the mound in the eighth and shut the door once again for the Bulls, pitching the final two innings, allowing no hits, striking out three batters and earning his third save of the season.
Four Bulls recorded multi-hit games while three finished with multi-RBI outings in the win. Sinay led the way going 3-for-6 with three RBI's while Mallaro went 2-for-5 with four RBI's. Sheppard finished off his impressive afternoon with two hits, two runs and two RBI's while Gonzalez finished with two hits and one RBI.
UB and Ball State will wrap up their three game set on Sunday at 1:00 pm at Ball Diamond.