OXFORD, OH – The University at Buffalo, The State University of New York baseball team (8-17, 3-7 MAC) collected an impressive 11-6 road victory over the Miami (OH) RedHawks on Friday night behind a three RBI, 3-for-5 day at the plate from junior Bobby Sheppard. Eight Bulls recorded at least one hit and at least one RBI in the victory.
"Tonight was a great win for the team," said head coach Ron Torgalski. "We came out today aggressive at the plate and took advantage of a number of Miami errors. Brent Cleland gave us a very good start today."
The turning point of the game came in the top of the sixth inning as the Bulls erupted for five runs and increased their lead to 9-2. Mike Abrunzo started the inning for UB as he collected an infield single to third base before being bunted over to second base. Nick Sinay then stepped in and ripped a triple to left field to score Abrunzo from second. Bobby Sheppard then collected his team-high 17th RBI of the season before Vinny Mallaro hit a RBI single to center for his second hit of the game. Chris Kwitzer and Charlie Sobieraski also earned RBI's in the sixth to take the commanding lead.
The Bulls fell behind early on in the game as the RedHawks were able to pick up a run in the first and second innings off starting pitcher Brent Cleland. Cleland was able to settle down after the first two innings as he shut down the Miami lineup during the next two innings and allowed the Bulls offense to awake in the fourth.
In the fourth, the Bulls bats woke up as they were able to cross four runners across home plate. Kwitzer reached on one of the five RedHawks errors before Sobieraski singled to give UB a pair of runners on. After a Ben Vey bunt single, Abrunzo hit a sacrifice fly to score Kwitzer from third for his 11th RBI of the season. Sinay walked next and then Ben Haefner knocked in a pair of runners with a single to right center. The fourth run of the inning came on a wild pitch that scored Sinay from third, giving UB the 4-2 lead.
After UB exploded for five runs in the sixth, the RedHawks notched a run off Ben Hartz in the bottom half of the inning to make the score 9-3. UB responded in the seventh with a pair of runs as Sheppard knocked a double into right field to score Sinay and Haefner, Sinay's third run of the game.
Hartz took to the mound in the bottom of the seventh with the 11-3 lead but he was not able to make it out of the inning as he loaded the bases before being replaced by Alec Tuohy. The first batter Tuohy faced knocked in three runs with a double to center field, making the score 11-6. That was as close as the RedHawks would get, as UB was able to close out the final two innings without allowing a Miami run.
Sinay was outstanding for the Bulls on Friday night as he was able to reach base four times in the game, going 3-for-5 at the plate and also being hit by his MAC-leading 14th pitch of the season. Sinay was able to score a game-high three runs while notching one RBI and swiping his MAC-best 21st base in just his 25th attempt. In his last 12 games, Sinay is batting .432 with 16 runs, 13 stolen bases and five RBI's.
Sheppard finished off his night with a game-high three hits and three RBI's while Haefner went 1-for-2 at the plate with two runs scored and two RBI's while also raising his on base percentage to .420 on the season, ranking second on the team behind Sinay's .496 mark.
Cleland collected his first win of the season as he went 5.2 innings, allowing just two earned runs while striking out four RedHawks. Tuohy was solid in relief for the Bulls as he pitched 2.1 innings and collected his first save of the season, allowing just one hit while striking out four batters.
The two teams will meet again on Saturday at 3:00 pm before wrapping up their three game set on Sunday at 1:00 pm in Oxford, OH.