BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo, The State University of New York baseball team (16-32, 7-17 MAC) earned a doubleheader split with the Niagara Purple Eagles on Tuesday afternoon in their last home game of the season at Amherst Audobon Field. The Bulls lost game one to the Purple Eagles, 5-4 before holding on to win game two, 6-5.
Chris Kwitzer and Ben Vey led the team offensively for the doubleheader as they each went 5-for-8 at the dish for the Bulls. Kwitzer finished his afternoon with a team-high three RBI's while Vey connected on three doubles to give him a team-high 16 on the season.
GAME ONE – BUFFALO 4 Niagara 5
Kwitzer got the Bulls on the board first in the first inning as he hit a sharp single to right field to score Ben Haefner from second base after Haefner reached on a fielder's choice.
Niagara responded quickly to tie the game at one in the top of the second as Julian Gallup grounded out to short with the bases loaded to bring a runner across the plate for the Purple Eagles.
After Niagara scored two runs in the top of the third inning, Kwitzer ripped a double down the right field line to score Vey from second base after he hit his team-leading 14th double of the season.
The Purple Eagles added a run in the bottom of the 6th to make the score 4-2 in favor of the visitors after a lead-off double and a single.
UB had their best chance to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth as Mike Abrunzo started the inning off with a single and Mitchell Machi backed that up with a single of his own to give the Bulls two on with none out. After a balk moved the runners into scoring position, the Bulls had two strikeouts and a line out to close the inning out with no runs.
Niagara crossed one more run across in the top of the 7th to make the score 5-2 but the Bulls didn't give up. Haefner and Vey hit back to back singles before the Niagara pitcher threw away the pick-off attempt to score Haefner from second and advance Vey to second. Kwitzer then knocked in his third run of the game with a single to right field but UB was not able to cross the tying run across home, falling 5-4.
Leading the Bulls offensively was Kwitzer who finished the game going 3-for-4 with three RBI's while Vey finished off his impressive game going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two runs scored, giving him a team-high 15 doubles on the year.
Senior Brandon Bentley pitched seven innings while allowing five runs and striking out four in his final home game at Audobon Field.
GAME TWO – BUFFALO 6 Niagara 5
The Purple Eagles scratched two runners across in the top of the second and the Bulls responded with two runs of their own in the bottom half. Abrunzo and Machi opened the inning with singles before Tyler Utz and Sinay had singles of their own to score the two. The Bulls had the bases loaded with one out but were unable to score the go ahead run in the inning.
Niagara was able to score two more runs in the top of the third off starter Charlie Sobieraski but the Bulls bounced right back again with two runs of their own. Kwitzer hit his team-leading sixth triple of the season and Abrunzo backed that up with a triple of his own to score Kwitzer from third. Two batters later, Sobieraski legged out an infield single to second base to score Abrunzo from third.
The Bulls took their first lead of the game in the fourth inning as Sinay was hit by his team-leading 22nd pitch of the season. On the first pitch of the next at bat, Sinay took off for second and stole the base, his 37th of the season. With the steal, Sinay tied the program record for stolen bases in a season and ranks second in the NCAA in the category.
With Speedy Sinay on second, Haefner drilled a single to right field to score the runner from second and give UB the 5-4 lead.
As the fifth inning began, Logan Harasta took over on the mound for the Bulls and shut the door on the Purple Eagles offense in the inning. In the sixth, Niagara was able to score one run to tie the game at five.
The UB offense responded once again in the bottom of the inning, scoring the eventual game-winning run. Haefner earned a walk and came around to score on Vey's third double of the day to give the Bulls the 6-5 lead that they wouldn't give up.
Harasta pitched the seventh and shut the door on the Purple Eagles who had two runners on with one out in the inning. Harasta blew a fastball by the last batter of the game to earn his first collegiate win. He finished the game going three innings while allowing four hits, one run and striking out two Purple Eagles.
UB's offense was strong in game two as they were able to collect 15 hits, their 14th game this season with at least 10 hits. All nine UB batters collected at least one hit. Leading the way was Abrunzo who finished the game going 3-for-4 with two runs and one RBI while Sinay, Vey, Kwitzer and Machi each finished with two hits apiece.
The Bulls will return to the field on Friday afternoon at 3:00 pm as they travel to Bowling Green to take on the Falcons in their final MAC series of the season. The series will be a three game set with games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.